The tragedy of suicide was brought home to me recently when we learned of the death of a niece of a close friend.
I didn't know the young woman who took her life. I had heard she was in her early twenties and a college student at Columbia University. She may have been treated for depression.
I've read that over one million people a year commit suicide. Their reasons may vary but for the vast majority they are most likely mentally disturbed, unbalanced at the time.
I say this because I do believe that whatever the circumstances of their particular lives, whether they have been diagnosed with manic-depression or any other biologic condition, at the actual moment that they do kill themselves, they are not "in their right minds".
I do not discount the possibility that someone can be completely clear thinking, that they weighed the pluses and minuses of continuing existence, planned their deaths in an unemotional state of being and then performed the deed.
I do believe this is a very small percentage of the total. I could also argue that their lack of emotion signifies some deep abnormal emotional state. No one would otherwise contemplate ending their own life unless they were suffering intensely.
I also believe that unremitting physical pain, end of life existence where palliative care is unsuccessful (unusual by the way) may be a different category. There is nothing noble about unremitting suffering.
I do not believe that all suicides are doomed to eternal damnation. But I do believe that our souls do not incarnate with the intention of ending our lives prematurely.
I do believe that some souls choose extremely difficult and challenging lives, even in a brain with biochemical imbalances, with the possibility, the intention of overcoming such circumstances. Hopefully they will succeed. Sometimes they do not.
"Evidence" seems to point to the following scenario after a suicide.
The soul quickly regains consciousness after death. It is devastated to find that all its awareness and suffering persist. It has not escaped its mental state of being. Worse, it comprehends the suffering it has caused its loved-ones.
The already disturbed soul suffers greatly. This is a self-induced "hell". There is no imposition of punishment from higher spiritual levels. Our souls are the harshest judges in the universe.
Most mediums including George Anderson a self-proclaimed Catholic describe the loving attention and care that suicides receive.
My dialogue with a gifted psychic/medium was extremely helpful. She said that she had contacted the son of her mother's friend who had killed himself. He expressed his severe anguish over what he did and the consequences for his remaining family. He believed himself to be punished and banished to "hell".
Later she tried unsuccessfully to contact him. Then, on a third attempt she was successful. This time his soul energy was completely different. He seemed serene and joyous. When she questioned his transition he responded, "I forgave myself".
I found that exchange powerfully revealing. Our most severe critics are ourselves, in this life and the next.
The punishment for suicide is our own soul's awareness that it was not able to overcome the state of mind or body it faced and chose to exit the physical plane by its own actions.
If we were suffering some end stage physical deterioration and chose to bypass some of this torment, it would be unlikely that our soul would punish itself further with a sense of guilt.
So suicide is an unfortunate step in the soul's evolution. But it does not mean eternal damnation or suffering.
Learning to move through suffering both in and out of life is the soul journey we are destined to travel.