This is one mofo of a long post and more of a resource, or browsing material than a nice and cogent read.
Triggers: suicide, death. (I am no vulture though, there’s no disrespect or violence here.) Here is an excellent page about bipolar suicide. A good resource for both bipolar people and the people around them.
If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. (Virginia Woolf)
Not every death listed was overtly tragic. Florence Nightingale, for example, died peacefully, aged 90. Winston Churchill, who experience suicidal ideations, grew old and did not commit suicide.
This isn’t an attempt to be macabre; I thought it would be interesting to collate some final words of people who are or were bipolar, or allegedly bipolar. In my experience of death so far (the five or so that I’ve been present at) (nope I didn’t do it), there were no meaningful last minute epiphanies. Having perused as many last words and epitaphs as I could find (and think of), I haven’t found some kind of meaningful bipolar commonality. The reassuringly human common denominator is that people are born, they live and they die – always in that order and no options or exclusions. Yell if you spot a pattern; I have tried and failed.
The Woolf quote back there, is particularly telling, I think. Suicides usually don’t want survivors to blame themselves, and survivors (naturally) usually blame themselves.
Forensic psychiatry sometimes appears to equate artistic temperament with bipolar as fuck. Twas still fun to research though.
And please feel free to correct or add stuff in the comments. Apologies for the lack of sources … I would like to cite ‘the internet’. Right at the end, there are a couple of quotes about suicidal ideation.
Sylvia Plath – Call Dr. Horder.
Vincent van Gogh – La tristesse durera toujours. Translation: The sadness will last forever.
Winston Churchill – I’m bored with it all.
Edgar Allen Poe – Lord help my poor soul.
Ernest Hemingway – Goodnight kitten.
Lord Byron – Now I shall go to sleep.
Rigoberto Alpizar – I got to get off this plane.
Emily Dickinson – I must go in, for the fog is rising.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Mutter, ich bin dumm. (Mother, I am stupid.)
Adolf Hitler – told his personal aide “…to break up and scatter to the West.” To which his aide replied, “For whom should we fight now?” Hitler, in a monotone voice, said, “For the coming man.”
Florence Nightingale – I smell burning.
Fernando Pessoa – I know not what tomorrow will bring.
Napoleon Bonaparte – Josephine … Josephine …
Elvis Presley – at final press conference: I hope I haven’t bored you. To his fiancé: I’m going to the bathroom to read.
Meriwether Lewis – I am not a coward, but I am so strong. So hard to die.
Thomas Lovell Beddoes – I wish my corpse to be burned in a funeral pyre by the sea. Please buy for Dr. Eklin one of those new devices—I think it’s called Reade’s Best Stomach Pump.
Hans Christian Andersen – Don’t ask me how I am, I understand nothing more.
Leo Tolstoy – usually quoted as: But the peasants, how do they die? Actual words: I’ll go somewhere where no one can bother me… Leave me alone… I must run away, run away somewhere…
Sylvia Plath – Even amidst fierce flames, the golden lotus can be planted.
Spike Milligan – Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite. Translation: I told you I was ill.
Winston Churchill – I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
Ludwig Boltzmann – S = k log W
Frank Sinatra – The best is yet to come.
Virginia Woolf – Against you I will fling myself
unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!
Charles Bukowski – Don’t Try.
Emily Dickinson – Called back.
Ian Curtis – Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Edvard Munch – From my rotting body flowers shall grow, and I am in them, and that is eternity.
Amy Winehouse – Loving daughter and sister, you will be missed dearly, may you lay to rest.
Vivien Leigh – Now, death, can thou boast in thy possession a lass unparallel’d…
Robert Schumann – DEM GROSSEN TONDICHTER VON SEINEN FREUNDEN UND VEREHRERN ERRICHTET AM 2. MAI 1880, Translation: For the great sound poet erected by his friends and admirers on 2. May 1880.
Fernando Pessoa – Fui o que não sou Translation: I was what I am not.
Lord Byron – But there is within me which I shall tire, Torture and Time and breathe when I expire.
Ernest Hemingway – Best of all he loved the fall, The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, Leaves floating on the trout streams, And above the hills, The high blue windless skies.
Ludwig von Beethoven – Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.
Vincent van Gogh – Here lies Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Napoleon Bonaparte – Je desire que mes cendres reposent sur le bords de la Seine a milieu de ce peuple Français que jaitant aime. Translation: I want my ashes to rest on the edges of the Seine , in the midst of the French people that I loved so much.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Stop, Christian Passer-by! – Stop, child of God, And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod A poet lies, or that which once seem’d he. O, lift one thought in prayer for S.T.C.; That he who many a year with toil of breath Found death in life, may here find life in death! Mercy for praise – to be forgiven for fame He ask’d, and hoped, through Christ. Do thou the same!
Meriwether Lewis – Immaturus obi: sed tu felicior annos Vive meos, Bona Republica! Viva tuos (I died young: but thou, O Good Republic, live out my years for me with better fortune.)
Ralph Waldo Emerson – THE PASSIVE MASTER LENT HIS HAND TO THE VAST SOUL THAT OER HIM PLANNED
Charles Dickens – He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.
According to an Stephen Fry wants his to say: “With thanks to the ingraver for speling my epitarf propperly (all sic).
[E]very seventeen minutes in America, someone commits suicide . . . Mostly, I have been impressed by how little value our society puts on saving the lives of those who are in such despair as to want to end them. It is a societal illusion that suicide is rare. It is not. – KAY REDFIELD JAMISON (1946- ) (From her book “Night Falls Fast”)
I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.
I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.
Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to understand.
All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guity beyond words about these things.
For example when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I’ve tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do,God, believe me I do, but it’s not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they’re gone. I’m too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child.
On our last 3 tours, I’ve had a much better appreciation for all the people I’ve known personally, and as fans of our music, but I still can’t get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There’s good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man. Why don’t you just enjoy it? I don’t know!
I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what i used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become.
I have it good, very good, and I’m grateful, but since the age of seven, I’ve become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess.
Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I’m too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.
Peace, love, empathy.
Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your alter.
Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.
For her life, which will be so much happier without me.
I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!
The Political Testament
Since 1914, when as a volunteer, I made my modest contribution in the World War which was forced upon the Reich, over thirty years have passed.
In these three decades, only love for my people and loyalty to my people have guided me in all my thoughts, actions, and life. They gave me the strength to make the most difficult decisions, such as no mortal has yet had to face. I have exhausted my time, my working energy, and my health in these three decades.
It is untrue that I or anybody else in Germany wanted war in 1939. It was desired and instigated exclusively by those international statesmen who were either of Jewish origin or working for Jewish interests. I have made so many offers for the reduction and elimination of armaments, which posterity cannot explain away for all eternity, that the responsibility for the outbreak of this war cannot rest on me. Furthermore, I never desired that after the first terrible World War a second war should arise against England or even against America. Centuries may pass, but out of the ruins of our cities and monuments of art there will arise anew the hatred for the people who alone are ultimately responsible: International Jewry and its helpers!
As late as three days before the outbreak of the German-Polish War, I proposed to the British Ambassador in Berlin a solution for the German-Polish problem — similar to the problem of the Saar area, under international control. This offer cannot be explained away, either. It was only rejected because the responsible circles in English politics wanted the war, partly in the expectation of business advantages, partly driven by propaganda promoted by international Jewry.
But I left no doubt about the fact that if the peoples of Europe were again only regarded as so many packages of stock shares by these international money and finance conspirators, then that race, too, which is the truly guilty party in this murderous struggle would also have to be held to account: the Jews! I further left no doubt that this time we would not permit millions of European children of Aryan descent to die of hunger, nor millions of grown-up men to suffer death, nor hundreds of thousands of women and children to be burned and bombed to death in their cities, without the truly guilty party having to atone for its guilt, even if through more humane means.
After six years of struggle, which in spite of all reverses will go down in history as the most glorious and most courageous manifestation of a people’s will to live. I cannot separate myself from the city which is the capital of this Reich. Because our forces are too few to permit any further resistance against the enemy’s assaults, and because individual resistance is rendered valueless by blinded and characterless scoundrels, I desire to share the fate that millions of others have taken upon themselves, in that I shall remain in this city. Furthermore, I do not want to fall into the hands of enemies who for the delectation of the hate-riddled masses require a new spectacle promoted by the Jews.
I have therefore resolved to remain in Berlin and there to choose death of my own will at the very moment when, as I believe, the seat of the Fuehrer and Chancellor can no longer be defended. I die with a joyful heart in the awareness the immeasurable deeds and achievements of our soldiers at the front, of our women at home, the achievements of our peasants and workers, and the contribution, unique in history, of our youth, which bears my name.
It goes without saying that I thank them all from the bottom of my heart and that it is also my desire that in spite of everything they should not give up the struggle, but continue fighting wherever they may be, faithful to the great Clausewitz, against the enemies of the Fatherland. From the sacrifices of our soldiers and from my own comradeship with them, there will come in one way or another into German history the seed of a brilliant renaissance of the National Socialist movement and thus the realization of a true national community.
Many very brave men and women have resolved to link their lives to mine to the very end. I have requested them, and finally ordered them, not to do so, but instead to take part in the continuing struggle of the nation. I ask the commanders of the army, navy, and air force to strengthen by all possible means the spirit of resistance of our soldiers in the spirit of National Socialism, emphasizing especially that I too, as founder and creator of this movement, have preferred death to cowardly flight or even capitulation.
May it be one day a part of the code of honor; as it is already in the navy, that the surrender of an area or of a town is impossible, and above all in this respect the leaders should give a shining example of faithful devotion to duty unto death. Before my death I expel the former Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering and deprive him of all the rights he may enjoy by virtue of the decree of June 29, 1941, and also by virtue of my statement in the Reichstag on September 1, 1939. I appoint in his place Grossadmiral Doenitz as President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Before my death I expel the former Reichsfuehrer-SS and Minister of the Interior Heinrich Himmler from the Party and all offices of state. In his place I appoint Gauleiter Karl Hanke as Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police and Gauleiter Paul Giesler as Reich Minister of the Interior.
Goering and Himmler, by their secret negotiations with the enemy, without my knowledge or approval, and by their illegal attempts to seize power in the state, quite apart from their treachery to my person, have brought irreparable shame to the country and the whole people.
In order to give the German people a government composed of honorable men, who will fulfill their duty of continuing the war by all available means, I, as the Fuehrer of the nation, nominate the following members of the new Cabinet:
President of the Reich: Doenitz; Chancellor of the Reich: Dr. Goebbels; Party Minister: Bormann; Foreign Minister: Seyss-Inquart; Minister of the Interior: Gauleiter Giesler; Minister for War: Doenitz; C.-in-C. of the Army: Schoerner; C.-in-C. of the Navy: Doenitz; C.-in-C. of the Air Force: Greim; Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police: Gauleiter Hanke; Economics: Funk; Agriculture: Backe; Justice: Thierack; Culture: Dr. Scheel; Propaganda: Dr. Naumann; Finance: Schwerin-Krossigk; Labor: Dr. Hupfater; Munitions: Saur; Leader of the German Labor Front and Member of the Reich Cabinet: Reichminister Dr. Ley
Several of these men such as Martin Bormann, Dr. Goebbels, etc., together with their wives, have joined me by their own free will and do not wish to leave the capital of the Reich under any circumstances, but on the contrary are willing to perish with me here. Yet I must ask them to obey my request, and in this instance place the interests of the nation above their own feelings.
Through their work and loyalty they will remain just as close to me as companions after my death, just as I hope that my spirit will remain amongst them and will always accompany them. Let them be hard, but never unjust; above all, let them never allow fear to counsel their actions, but may they place the honor of the nation above everything on this earth. Finally, may they be conscious of the fact that our task of building a National Socialist state represents the labor of the coming centuries, and this places every single person under an obligation always to serve the common interest and to subordinate his own interests. I demand of all Germans, all National Socialists, men and women and all soldiers of the Armed Forces, that they remain faithful and obedient to the new government and to their President unto death.
Above all, I charge the leadership of the nation and their followers with the strict observance of the racial laws and with merciless resistance against the universal poisoners of all peoples, international Jewry.in, 29th April
1945, 4: a.m.
signed: A. Hitler
Signed as witnesses:
Dr. Joseph Goebbels
I’m going to be a superstar musician, kill myself, and go out in a flame of glory . . . I want to be rich and famous and kill myself like Jimi Hendrix. – KURT COBAIN (1967-1994)
I’m not worried about what’s going to happen when I’m thirty, because I am never going to make it to thirty. You know what life is like after thirty – I don’t want that. – KURT COBAIN (1967-1994)
I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation. Winston Churchill
In terms of pattern recognition, as I wrote earlier, I found none. We can say various statistical things about the causes of death in bipolar people; I read somewhere that the leading cause is heart disease (our brains make too much cortisol). The suicide rate is way, way higher than the average, and so on. But death is death, and people exit in various states and shapes.
We are, simply, human beings.