Sylvia Plath was a crazy mother, but what should we make of her son’s suicide? We know that depression runs in families, but most of us manage to hang on, even if our mothers were crazy.
Maybe when a family member commits suicide, it presents itself as an option that wouldn’t otherwise be considered. My own mother liked to threaten suicide, but her theatrics only went as far as rattling her pill bottles.
I had a phase, a few years ago, of routinely announcing that I wanted to put my head in the oven. I still think it’s a funny image. I am hoping to find a jeweler who will collaborate with me on my vision of a gold medallion depicting a little oven with legs sticking out of it. In memory of Sylvia, the feet would be wearing low-heeled pumps.
The other day, my ex noted that his uncle and a cousin had committed suicide, but he had an excuse for both of them; they didn’t really count, in his opinion. Men can be funny about depression, because it goes against their gender description. Yet they kill themselves far more often than woman do, in a ratio of 4 to 1 in the US. Are women more adept at suffering? My feeling is Yes.
When a famous person commits suicide, it’s always a blow. It makes me wonder why they didn’t wait another day, or call their doctor, or just stay in bed. Nicholas Hughes seems by all accounts to have been a vibrant, talented and lovely human being, who didn’t suffer from depression until his father died from cancer. It sounds like the loss broke his heart, and he simply couldn’t recover.
When Hunter Thompson killed himself, my prevailing reaction was resentment. How could someone so pugnacious just give in like that? What a quitter!
People who commit suicide are not only depressed but impulsive, apparently. Most important, they have lost all sense of humor. Sylvia Plath should have waited around, until the image above struck her as funny. I’m glad my own crazy mother set a better example by sticking around and tormenting us until she was 73.