If you have ever had this thought, or even spoken it out loud, I want you to know—you are not alone.
I have heard from many, many individuals who are the registry, especially those who are on for life, that they don’t want to live. The thought of living years and years under the weight of the sex offender registry is often overwhelming.
Most people that tell me this are not suicidal. They are not thinking of actually taking their lives. (There are exceptions, such as Paul Cristiano, a talented dancer and choreographer who took his life in 2015. Read about him here.) Most just tell me they don’t care about living, that they don’t worry about taking care of themselves, that they just don’t find any joy in living.
This is sad, indeed. It is not right that any person should be made to feel this way. And yet it does happen.
I do not make any moral judgements on a person’s decision to end his or her own life. That is something between them and their faith.
But I don’t think anyone should end their life because they are forced to live a life on the sex offender registry (or any other criminal registry.) The decision to commit suicide over this issue is based on a very narrow focus on a very specific issue. There is a bigger picture, and I believe that even in the depths of despair and depression, if we can focus on that bigger picture, then the option of suicide would be taken off the table.
The bigger picture is a bit hard to explain. It involves a bunch of things that are so important to each of us, but are so difficult to put into words. Things like love, acceptance, values, and worth. Focusing on being a registered sex offender often clouds the bigger picture, but the bigger picture is still there. (Here is a blog entry I wrote that might help explain it better.)
I know this sounds kind of cliché, but I’m going to say it anyway. Don’t let them win by ending it all. We all know that there are those who believe that sex offenders have no worth, no value, that they should be punished for the rest of their lives for the sins. But just because they believe that, doesn’t make it true. Don’t let them win.
There are many out there who believe that people can change, that people who have served their time should be given an opportunity to move forward with their lives, and that everyone has worth and value, regardless of what they’ve done in their past. Focus on that instead of the negatives.
If you are feeling hopeless, tired, suicidal, or depressed—talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a therapist. Talk to someone. It may seem useless, but trust me when I tell you it will help.
If you are feeling suicidal, there are people that can help. Here are some resources for you:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hours, 7 days a week) 800-273-8255
Woman Against Registry (W.A.R) Support Hot Line 800-773-4319
~ Will Mingus, PhD
Click Here to read about how others deal with thoughts of suicide