Think Suicide is Selfish? Here’s Why You’ve Got it Wrong.

This has been a pretty fucking horrible week. On Wednesday, a suicide hit way too close to home and it’s been awful.  No, it wasn’t Chris Cornell, it was someone much closer to my inner circle, but both events on the same day evoked an overwhelming amount of emotional commentary – both on social media and in person.

Unfortunately, when suicides occur there are some people who blame the victim. There are many who lash out in anger at the one who caused others pain by taking their own life. It’s understandable to be angry about a loss, but when anger is directed at the person who took their own life it shows a significant lack of understanding of how depression works.

I don’t know what was going through our friend’s mind because I was not in it. I just know how depression manifests and how destructive thoughts can flit through the brain and how depression is able to justify them.

Here are some answers to things like:

1. Don’t they love their family? Don’t they understand what impact this will have on them? OF COURSE THEY DO. They know it well. They hate the thought and they’re sick about it. The fucked up part is that their brain is telling them that not being here is the better option to that horrific outcome – that living without them is helping their family live a better life than living with them. DEPRESSION LIES and it says things like, “You’re a burden” and “You’re dragging those around you down” and “You’re making everything worse.” I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to not believe your brain, but it’s pretty much impossible to not listen to what your own mind is telling you.

2. How could they do this? How could they leave their loved ones forever? Depressives feel like they are already gone inside, so they don’t see leaving as leaving because they’re already gone. They might not look that way, they might not act that way, but they feel that way. And they’ve been feeling that way for quite a long time at this point. DEPRESSION LIES and tells them they are gone for good, even though therapies and medications can often bring them back. Depression is a convincing liar. It is a seasoned actor that masquerades as truth. It’s a macabre magician’s act that makes someone think they’re already gone even when they are standing right there.

3. Why weren’t they more grateful? They should have been more thankful for what they had. As irony would have it, practicing gratitude makes severe depression worse, not better. This is contrary to popular belief because for people without mental illness, their emotional state depends on REASONS. So, focusing on all the good you have around you helps your mood. But, depression doesn’t give a shit about reasons. It doesn’t give a shit if you are poor or rich, weak or strong, ugly or beautiful. It doesn’t need ungratefulness. It doesn’t need back stories or traumatic experience to exist. Depression is like a parasitic worm swimming around in your brain but you never once visited the tropics. And that’s the kicker – when there is no “why” depressives often feel guilty. After all, they have everything to be grateful for, right? Nothing to complain about. Because of this, their feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness increase. They don’t feel worthy of your love, their friend’s love, their kid’s love. How could they be, when they don’t even feel worthy of their own depression? They know how good they have it and yet they still find themselves in a state of intense internal turmoil and emotional distress. DEPRESSION LIES and the more grateful the person is, the more monstrous depression makes them feel. No one in a remotely normal state of mind can understand how this is possible, so if you fall in that camp, consider yourself privileged.

4. Every problem can be fixed, how didn’t they see that? Whoever wrote the whole “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” bullshit clearly never suffered from depression. You don’t need REASONS to be depressed. Neurochemicals don’t tend to care about your problems or your social life. Most depressives are not sad about a particular event. They might not even feel SAD. They often feel things like hopeless, or worthless, or nothingness. They often feel empty for absolutely no reason at all, other than their own chemical imbalance. When the problem is your own self, you don’t have a “temporary problem”. You just have YOU. DEPRESSION LIES and tells you that you cannot be fixed.

DEPRESSION LIES. It’s a horrible asshole bitch that breaks people – it breaks good people, strong people, loving people, grateful people. It does not discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity fucker.

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14 thoughts on “Think Suicide is Selfish? Here’s Why You’ve Got it Wrong.

  1. Suicide is not about wanting to die, it’s about not wanting to live. We can never understand the amount of pain someone is feeling when they make this decision.

  2. Thank you for this, Christine. Just as a person born blind cannot fathom color, those who have never suffered from depression cannot understand its devastation of mind. It leaves you no light or air and no hope of any to come. You are locked in a trunk on the ocean’s floor.

  3. I’m sorry mama. I hear your pain. I wish I could come give you a hug, a bottle of wine and some fuzzy socks just to bring you an ounce of comfort. I too have been touched both by depression a don by suicide personally. Hugs, sister.

  4. Hi. Three years ago my friend attempted suicide and I was left traumatized. I felt furious with her for doing that. I felt she was being selfish.
    I really don’t see why that should be an issue.

    Trauma does not work in the way you want it to work. If I’m angry because my friend attempted suicide, then I’m going to voice that-if people have a problem with my feelings, then that’s their responsibility to sort out. I’m not changing the way I feel.

    I always had people telling me “if you were suicidal, you’d understand it.” Well, as a result of being traumatized, I’m now on anti depressants and feeling suicidal at least once a week. I’ve made plans to take my own life before. And I still think that’s selfish of me. And suicide still makes me angry. That’s okay. I have the right to be angry about this for as long as I am angry.

    A suicidal person not meaning to hurt anyone doesn’t change the fact that they have hurt people. Intention doesn’t always override impact. I understand that my friend did not mean to hurt anyone with her suicide attempt, but the fact is that she did, and I’m now dealing with the consequences of that. Her suicide attempt litetally changed my brain. It made me ill. It made me want to die. It’s left me with having to pay for counselling and therapy that I shouldn’t have to be going to. I have the right to be angry about that. I have the right to feel angry at her for that. That doesn’t mean I don’t love her any less.

    When people are grieving a suicide, they aren’t thinking logically. And that’s what I’m getting from this post. You want grieving people to think logically about suicide. You want them to logically understand that the dead person didn’t mean to hurt them, they didn’t mean to cause such pain. Trauma doesn’t work like that. It’s irrational. Logically, I knew my friend didn’t want to hurt anyone. That didn’t change the betrayal and hurt that I felt.

    My question to you is this: if you want me to understand suicide, why aren’t you trying to understand why I’m angry at suicide? Why must I understand what other people go through, but those same people don’t have to understand me? That doesn’t seem right.

    • I totally get this. In fact, I’ve been grappling with how to help my friend with this because I don’t want her to feel that way if she reads this – i know she needs to feel what she feels. For those closest to the suicide victim – what do we all need to know to help them?? I am really struggling with that particular aspect.

      • Well first of all thanks for being polite. I was expecting quite a harsh reply.

        I think possibly the best way to help your friend is to recognize that you can validate someone without ever agreeing with what they say. Like I said before, because I’m still recovering from my friends suicide attempt, I think suicide is selfish at this present moment, but if someone disagrees with me on that, then that’s okay. If someone thinks my anger is irrational or harsh, that’s also okay. The point is whether or not they can see past those opinions of me to recognize that I’m in a lot of pain. It’s basically seeing the forest through the trees.

        I’ve not been in your friends specific situation so I don’t really feel comfortable giving advice; I’m sorry. But there is a website known as The Alliance of Hope which is a forum for people who have lost someone to suicide. People might be able to help you there.

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