Suicide is a lot of Things; But Selfish Isn’t One of Them

When I hear someone describe suicide as “selfish” I immediately feel a mix of infuriation, sadness and indignation boiling up inside me. Suicide is a lot of things; tragic, shocking, devastating, horrific.

But one thing that suicide is not is selfish.

I believe someone who can say that suicide is selfish must be so self-absorbed at that moment, that they are not even thinking of how the person who contemplated, attempted or committed suicide must have been feeling.

I can only imagine what it must feel like to lose someone you love so deeply. I have been extremely fortunate not to have experienced that yet in my life.

I can only imagine the shock and desperation one must feel when they get the news that a loved one has made an attempt to take their own life.

And, I can empathize with questioning “how could they do that!?”

But one thing I don’t have to imagine, is why someone would have the desire to end their life. I have battled suicidal ideation with varying intensity for many years, and I can tell that never once did the thoughts come from a place of lacking consideration of another. Nor out of a chief concern for my own personal profit or pleasure; both which define “selfish.”

There were days where I talked myself into “hanging on” for one more day out of nothing more than love for those who I would leave behind and not wanting to abandon or inflict pain upon them.

I can also tell you that there were many times I thought dying was actually the most self-less thing I could do, and that staying alive was the most selfish thing I could do.

Suicide is a decision that is contemplated and made from the darkest place possible. A place where hopelessness, isolation and worthlessness overwhelm you. A place where being alive feels purposeless, unbearable, or maybe burdensome on others. Where you feel empty, yet simultaneously filled with misery and pain by the simple fact of taking up space on this Earth; and you’re desperate to end the suffering. It’s a decision made when you feel like it is the only option left. The only way out of the darkness.

I am in no way trying to justify suicide. But rather, trying to shed a bit of light on the darkness. A darkness that is impossible to imagine if you haven’t been there. A darkness that is undoubtedly unique to each who is experiencing it, but similar in the sense that it’s consuming enough to bring you to a place where the only alternative to it appears to be to end your life.

Next time you’re thinking suicide is selfish, I invite you instead to explore what you’re really feeling at that moment. It’s completely acceptable, and understandable, to feel confused, heartbroken, angry, alone, or any other emotion that comes up for you. But please, don’t minimize the struggle the suicide victim was experiencing by making their suffering about you, and referring to them as selfish.

Rather, I encourage you to get informed on the warning signs of suicide. I encourage you to talk more openly about suicide, depression and mental health. I encourage you to spread awareness on depression and suicide.

With the right intervention, depression is treatable, and suicide is avoidable! Yet, less than half of those struggling ever reach out for or receive help. Each one of us who speaks up can help the estimated 1 million individuals {in the US} who attempt suicide each year to feel safe, heard, and comfortable enough to reach out for help and take advantage of the resources available.

It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and I believe the less scary and more socially acceptable it becomes to use the word “suicide” in conversation, the more we will be able to prevent what truly is really scary; someone deciding to take their own life.

 

Sending Health and Healing Your Way,

Courtney 

xoxo

 

 

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