Is suicide “selfish”?

Everyone is talking about Robin Williams today,  and in a way his death has become yet another eye opener in a sea of tragedies that mental health is incredibly important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. His death, while a tragedy and a great lose for all of us, especially his family and close friends, will hopefully bring new awareness to those who have never faced depression of how bad it can really be, and for those who do suffer to stop suffering in silence.

The stigma of suicide and depression isn’t as prevalent as it use to be. We understand there are physiological as well as mental reasons behind it. We are more educated and hopefully more understanding of each other.

But is suicide selfish?

I can’t tell you what to think, and I don’t have a medical degree. I just have my own experience, so all I can tell you is what I was thinking, and what I was willing to do to make the pain stop.

That’s right, I suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. I suffered for years without ever telling another person. I would sit in my bath tub looking at that razor blade thinking of my children and just wanting all the pain and hurry and hopelessness to go away.

Was it selfish? By the time I stood on the edge of the building looking down I had convinced myself that my death would actually be doing people a favor. I wasn’t doing it for purely selfish reasons, I wanted to stop hurting everyone around me. Too give my children a chance to have a good mommy that didn’t spend most of the day in bed crying. To give my husband a chance to find a good wife that didn’t constantly disappoint him.

Yes, there was a lot of “selfish” thought in it. I was hurting, and hadn’t been happy in years. I was thinking I was a bad mom, a bad wife, never good enough for anyone. I had no family or friends besides my three little kids, and they were to young to understand that mommy was broken. I thought the world would be better without me, and the pain would stop.

In my case the depression was caused by my husband’s mental and emotional abuse. Once I got out of that situation my depression started to go away, and now I rarely have to deal with it. Now I know what it is and how to weather it on the rare occasions that it does show up.

Is it any different than a terminal cancer patient that wants to cut their pain short? Because it is physical and not mental it is more real?

Not to the sufferer. To them the pain on the inside is a thousand times worse then the outside. That is why self harm is a thing. That is why I would dig my finger nails into my hands until they left big dents, or bite my arms and wrists until I had deep bite marks and bruises. That’s why there are cutters and hair pullers and everything else.

I was incredibly lucky that my depression had a definite cause and solution. Not everyone else is as lucky.

So is it selfish? I say it is selfish of those who suggest that it is. They think only of their own pain, not the pain the individual who took their life suffered with for years before that moment.

If you do think of harming yourself you aren’t alone. Reach out. Talk to someone. There are people who care.


7 thoughts on “Is suicide “selfish”?

  1. Thank you for baring your soul on this. I can only imagine what it was like, what you had to go through.

    It’s a terrible, terrible thing for anyone to have to endure. And I am so, so glad that you came through the other side, because I am SO glad you are here.

  2. I wish more would use their empathy skills and try to truly understand instead of calling people selfish. Expecting someone to live in pain for 40 years can sound pretty selfish too. I am glad you are speaking out on this and wish I could put my thoughts into some coherent organization but all I feel is screaming and wide open.

    • It scares me to speak out. I know there are people who still don’t believe I was abused, people I loved and trusted. People I looked up to. I worry that one of them is going to start calling me a liar or worse and that all that depression and fear and hurt will just come right back. That worries me a lot, but I am healthier as an individual for speaking up for myself and telling the truth.

  3. Pingback: Robin Williams and Depression | Flex Time Mom

  4. Interesting this is about the 4th discussion I’ve stepped into since RW death on suicide & depression. I’m a life sufferer of Depression and it runs in my family we have discovered. In my teens/20s I self medicated with alcohol as it was undiagnosed and frankly I wasn’t going to walk into a doctors unless you put a gun to my head, other medical issues meant my childhood had large chunks of hospital time so I’m not real fond of medical environments. Then 2007 I died, twice actually in one night thanks to an accident then found out I had cancer of the womb, plus 2 family members dropped dead. My mental/emotional capacity to function got very badly screwed up by the end of that year I also stopped drinking which had been my coping mechanism. You’d think having fought extremely hard to not be dead suicide would be the furtherest thing from my mind right! Yeah turns out when you suffer a massive depressive episode which I did in 2008 while studying my psychology degree your brain short circuits literally and you stop making rational decisions. So if people are going to ask is suicide selfish they really need to take mental chemically imbalanced suicide (or attempts) out of the equation as these are not the acts of a rational mind and are not normally a “planed” event.

    If someone of sound mind plans and executes their suicide knowing full well they’ll be leaving grieving family & friends behind then yes it’s probably a little selfish but in the end it’s their choice and they evidently believed their time had come to an end.

    • I don’t think many people of a sound mind commit suicide. Those that do are usually suffering from medical issues. They are often thinking of themselves, but also their family having to care for them in that state. I doubt there are very many completely selfish suicides personally.

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