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致自杀者遗属:不要活在愧疚感中

更新时间:2018-6-14 19:51:35 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Suicide Survivor Guilt
致自杀者遗属:不要活在愧疚感中

When I was growing up, my father thought about ways to kill himself as regularly as I outgrew my shoes. There were pills to my penny loafers, carbon monoxide to my jelly sandals, razors to my Doc Martens. I was 4, 10 and 28 when he made his most damaging attempts.

在我小时候,我的父亲想出新办法自杀,就像我的鞋码要加大一样频繁。我的便士乐福鞋,他的药片;我的塑料凉鞋,他的一氧化碳;我的马丁靴,他的剃刀。在我4岁、10岁和28岁的自杀企图,是其中最危险的三次。

We found him: on the side of the road, on the side of the bed, in my grandmother’s garage where he’d tried to make a tomb of the giant powder-blue Oldsmobile we called Orca.

我们在路旁找到了他,在床边找到了他,在祖母的车库里,看到他试图把我们称为“奥卡巨鲸”(Orca)的那辆巨大的灰蓝色奥斯莫比尔汽车变成他的坟墓。

When he was not trying to kill himself, I thought of myself as a superhero. I remember thinking as a child: He is alive today, and today, and today. I have loved him enough to keep him alive.

在他不去尝试自杀的时候,我会把自己想象成一个英雄。我记得我小时候的想法:他今天活着,一天,又一天。我对他的爱足以让他继续活下去了。

It was a terrible burden to feel that I was responsible for keeping him alive. I tried to make myself quiet. If my sister and I laughed, it could make him angry, which would then make him sad. Did I want to laugh more than I wanted my father to stay alive? I learned not to ask for things, either, like money to get pizza with friends after school. If he didn’t have the extra money, he’d feel guilty, which would make him depressed. Did I want a slice of pizza more than I wanted my father to stay alive?

让他活下去是我的责任——这种感觉个非常糟糕的负担。我努力让自己安静一点。如果我的姊妹和我笑出了声音,他便会生气,接着他就会感到难过。难道我想笑的欲望胜过于我希望父亲活下来吗?我努力让自己不去要求什么,不论什么,比如放学后和朋友一起吃披萨的钱。如果他手上没有多余的钱,他便会愧疚,这会让他沮丧。难道我想要一块披萨胜过于想让父亲活下来吗?

The reasoning was as reductive as it was delusional.

这是一种简单化的推理,同时也是自欺欺人。

I now understand that what kept him from succeeding in those attempts was equal parts happenstance and regret, and what kept him alive afterward was therapy and medication, as well as hospitalization when he needed more intense care.

现在我明白了,他的自杀企图未能成功一半在于偶然,一半在于后悔,而随后让他活下来的则是药物和治疗,以及需要更密切的看护时的住院治疗。

As it happened, after all of his efforts to end his life, my father died last July when he was hit by two cars as he walked with a friend on the side of a road in a thick, early morning fog. The police investigation confirmed it was an accident.

在经历过所有这些自杀的尝试后,我的父亲在去年七月去世。在清晨厚重的雾气中,他与一位朋友走在路旁,被两辆汽车撞死。警方的调查证实了这是一场意外事故。

When I woke up Friday to the news that Anthony Bourdain had ended his life on the heels of the news that Kate Spade had ended hers, I felt a tremendous sense of sadness, both because they were gone and because they had been in so much pain.

当我周五醒来,听到安瑟尼·波登(Anthony Bourdain)紧接着凯特·斯佩德(Kate Spade)自杀的新闻后,我感到了一种巨大的悲哀。既因为他们都已离开人世,又因为他们曾经历太多痛苦。

But I cried for their loved ones and friends, who I imagined might be replaying their last interactions, trying to find the sign they had missed, the opportunity they should have taken, the point in the timeline at which they could have saved him. Could have rescued her.

但我为他们的亲人和朋友而哭泣,我想,他们可能正在回忆自己和逝者的最后一次来往,试图找到未曾发现的迹象,找到他们本应抓住的机会,找到时间线上他们本可以挽救他的那一刻,本可以救回她的那一刻。

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were exploding with grief and compassion. It is a beautiful thing to see how much love people are capable of. It is tremendously encouraging to hear the battle cries to destigmatize mental illness. To see strangers sharing their own phone numbers: Call me! Call me! If you are ever at that point, call me!

在Twitter、Facebook和Instagram上,悲哀和同情已经满溢。能看到人们可以付出多少爱是一件美丽的事情。听见人们吹响了主张不应让精神疾病污名化的号角,也令人十分鼓舞。看见陌生人在网上分享着自己的电话号码:打给我!打给我!你要是到了这个地步,打给我!

But the messages urging people to reach out to help loved ones and strangers carry an unspoken and unintended flip side: That if a person succeeds in ending his life, the people around him might not have been paying enough attention, or trying hard enough.

但这些督促人们伸出援手去帮助亲人和陌生人的信息却带着一个隐秘而无意的阴暗面:如果一个人成功地结束了自己的生命,那就是周围的人对他的关注不够,或者所做的努力不够。

I worry about the effect these messages have on those who have lost someone to suicide, deepening their grief with an extra layer of guilt.

我担心的是这些信息对那些因为自杀而失去了某人的人们所造成影响——再添一层负罪感,加重他们的悲哀。

“Rather than thinking, ‘I wish I could’ve fixed this,’ if we can use these moments as a wake up call to think, ‘I want to be more present and aware and connected and empathetic in general,’ — that would be so much more productive,” said Dr. Gregory Dillon, assistant professor of medicine and psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “And perhaps if all of us did that — and if communication, understanding and empathy were generally better — maybe fewer of these situations would come to a head.”

“与其去想,‘我希望我能解决这个问题’,我们不如用这样的时刻来敲响警钟,想想‘我希望能更多地在身边,更有意识,更多沟通,更有同理心’,——这会更有成效,”威尔·康奈尔医学院(Weill Cornell Medical College)药物和精神病学副教授格雷戈里·狄龙博士(Dr. Gregory Dillon)说。“而如果我们所有人都这么做——并且沟通、理解和同理心在总体上都有所提高——这种境况就不那么容易发展成危机。”

The news of the deaths of both Ms. Spade and Mr. Bourdain came in the same week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 25 percent increase in suicide rates from 1999 to 2016, a year in which nearly 45,000 Americans ended their own lives. That suggests a lot of Americans may be devastated by the thought that they didn’t do enough.

斯佩德和波登去世消息传出的同一周,美国疾病防控中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)发布报告称,从1999年到2016年自杀率增长了25%,在2016年有将近4.5万名美国人结束了自己的生命。这就意味着,还有许多美国人可能正在被“自己做得不够”的念头摧残。

But I could no more have saved my dad from the tons of metal that hurtled toward him when he was hit by those cars than I could save him from the pills he swallowed, the razor he wielded or the carbon monoxide he inhaled.

但就算我把他从吞下的药片、挥舞的剃刀和他吸入的一氧化碳中救了回来,当那几吨重的金属轰鸣着撞向他时,我无能为力。

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be present, be loving, be involved. That’s not to say we shouldn’t share advice, resources, empathy. We should try. With all our might.

但这并不是说我们不该在身边,去爱,去参与。这并不是说我们不该分享意见、资源和同理心。我们要尝试,要倾尽一切可能地尝试。

“It’s cruel to blame ourselves and others for something that was ultimately out of our hands,” said Lakeasha Sullivan, a psychologist in New York. “But we can carry some of this burden collectively. We can start by engaging in real conversations — national conversations — about the quiet voice in all of us that sometimes questions the meaning of life and allows hopelessness and despair to set in.”

“要把一些终究不在我们掌控之内的事情怪罪于我们自身或他人是残忍的,”纽约的一名心理学家拉加沙·沙利文(Lakeasha Sullivan)说。“但我们可以共同承担部分的重负。我们可以从参与真实的谈话开始——全国性谈话——说说我们所有人心里那个悄悄响起的声音,那声音有时在质疑生命的意义,让绝望和无助开始抬头。”

It is imperative that we try to help people find a way out of their pain that doesn’t end in death, but we need to recognize that if their attempt is a success, it is not because our love was a failure.

我们亟须要做的是帮助人们找到一种不需以死亡来结束痛苦的方式,但我们需要认识到,如果他们的企图得以成功,那并不是我们的爱的失败。

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