Suicide: Wisdom from Sherlock Holmes

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Sherlock, is the title of a long running movie and television series set in modern times.  The chief characters are Sir Conan Doyle’s beloved detective Sherlock Holmes and his cohort Dr. John Watson. 

In season 4, Sherlock and John discuss suicide. John uses the phrase, “Taking your own life.” 

Sherlock’s intriguing reply surprised me. “Taking your own life. What a strange expression. Taking it from whom? Once it’s gone, you’re not the one who will miss it.”

In 2011, when my majorly depressed brain was offering death as my only option, a therapist told me I had been on suicide watch for six months. Until she said so, I was unaware anyone was paying much attention.  This was the active mood disorder blocking my ability to see the obvious and grasp what so many others were saying. 

She told me repeatedly that taking my life would cause permanent harm to my sons. As a devoted mother,  it is unconscionable to purposely doom them to a lifetime of sorrow and unanswered questions. However, major depression exacerbated negative core beliefs until I was certain they would not care. 

Causes of suicide are not easy to pinpoint. However, the majority of suicide deaths involve an underlying mental illness and/or substance use. 

Severe depression is a whirl of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental symptoms. Hopelessness, an overwhelming sense of worthlessness, losing sight of purpose, and other negative beliefs create a vacuum where only pain exists. When a psychologist told me my thoughts were irrational, I was offended. My suicide attempt seemed logical to me.

That is why, if you have chronic bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts  or know someone who does, it is important to write out and leave in sight what Sherlock said. Your life matters in ways you may not see. Taking your life will hurt other people. Even when you are filled with doubt, having his last comment hanging on your wall can be a deterrent:

“Your life is not your own.” 

Today’s Helpful Word

“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.”


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

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