I often hear people say that suicide is selfish. This assumes that someone is in their right mind enough to think of the consequences their actions will have on those around them. I would argue that if one is considering suicide, they do not have the ability, in that moment, to truly understand how they make others feel. I am not defending suicide, far from it. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal ideation, please seek out help immediately. I list some suicide prevention sources here.
I have, many times, found myself contemplating suicide. For this reason I know how easy it can be to convince yourself that you would be doing those you love a favor by dying. You may feel that you will free them from your negative moods, or that you will save them money and stress in the long run. You may think they feel trapped with you. I would challenge a person feeling that way to ask a friend or loved one if any of those excuses are true. You would be hard pressed to find someone to agree with you.
Feeling suicidal can cause some very illogical thoughts. For example, I have found myself feeling angry and trapped by those who love me, because if I were to take my own life, it would destroy them. Since I don’t want to destroy them, I can’t leave this world no matter how miserable I may feel in the moment. In summary, how dare this person love me, for the guilt of the pain my death would cause them means I have to live another day.
When in the midst of suicidal ideation, it can seem impossible to remember that you will not always feel that bad. I wouldn’t be able to count the number of times I considered ending my life. Every single one of those instances I was certain I would never feel better, but each instance, after varying amounts of time, I have found myself okay with being alive.
There is hope, even when it feels there is none. There is zero shame in asking for help, in fact, doing so can be extremely brave. My psychiatrist says that suicide does not get rid of pain, it just spreads it around. Today, a day that I am feeling all right, I can truly appreciate his sentiment.
Don’t let the stigma of mental illness and suicide keep you from getting help for yourself or someone else. You wouldn’t hide the fact that you have a broken leg, so don’t hide the much more fatal disease of mental illness. Your depression, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. does not need to be your cause of death. The more everyone shares their experience, the less society will stigmatize mental illness and suicide.
I know this feeling intimately as well. I really hate that phrase “suicide is selfish” and I do mean hate. There is a point in depression and suicidal idealization when one asks for help at least there was for me. Thanks for putting this out there for someone to read.