This morning, I heard the news of Chester Bennington’s passing. I’ve been listening to Linkin Park since my early teens and listening to their music now will always fill me with a tinge of sadness. I hope he finds peace.
Many people took to social media to share their condolences. However, every now and then I came across comments saying that suicide is selfish and cowardly.
Well, let me share an unpopular opinion: Suicide is not selfish. I don’t think many people understand that suicide is often the closing line of a book filled with suffering – a type suffering that I hope none of you will ever have to endure.
Some may argue that plenty of people have experienced some pretty terrible things in their lives and didn’t decide to end it. That may be true. However, that does not mean that taking one’s life is an act of cowardice or “taking an easy way out”. We mustn’t forget that suicide is often the result of a struggle with depression (or other mental illness) and depression doesn’t care about money, power or status. It doesn’t care how supportive your family is or how many friends you have. It doesn’t care about how good or bad you’ve had it. It will suck you down a well of despair regardless.
Depression is something the sufferer has little to no control over. Even with the appropriate help, they can sometimes lose the battle. Depression makes you lose direction and a sense of purpose. Everything becomes cold and hollow. Either you feel too much or nothing at all. Worst of all, you start to think that everyone and everything would be better off without you.
Saying things like “suicide is selfish” makes light of the sufferer’s struggles and perpetuates the idea that depression is something you can just get over, like a cold. Comments like this and the general stigma surrounding mental illness may prevent many people from seeking the help they need.
I’m not saying suicide is okay. It should never happen. No one should ever have to suffer so much that taking their life feels like the only way to escape and no loved-one should have to endure the pain of losing someone to suicide. Therefore, instead of trivialising mental illness and suicide by calling it selfish, we have to evaluate why we live in a society where people who suffer from a mental illness, diagnosed or not, can reach a point of feeling so alone and hopeless that they see no other way out.
We need to raise more awareness about mental illness. We need to educate each other and reach out a helping hand so that people who are struggling can get the help they need, whether that be a friend to lean on or professional assistance. The right amount of support and understanding may make a difference.
If you have any questions or are struggling with something and need to talk to someone, feel free to contact me via email or on social media. I’m not a professional, but I am a good listener.
If you or anyone you know, is struggling with depression or is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust or seek professional help. The resources below might prove helpful as well.