Posted in Perspectives

Suicide is not Selfish

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.

Resources:
Screening Tools
Recognising suicide warning signs
International suicide hotlines

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6 thoughts on “Suicide is not Selfish

  1. Thank you for writing this. The sad irony about suicide is that, for all it’s stigmatized as a “selfish” act, there are many with deep levels of depression who think that the LEAST selfish thing to do is commit suicide. There are some people who think that this earth would be better off without them. I wrote about some of this on my own blog, but I don’t know if it quite matches the level of thought that you have here. Once again, thank you.

    Like

  2. Danielle,

    This is very well written and thought out. I commend you for standing up and speaking out. YOU are not alone in this way of thinking. I too, feel this way and could not have said it better. I am so deeply saddened that while the subject of suicide itself is more prominent than ever, people are acting like it is as much a choice as picking out what clothes to wear or what to eat on any given day. Especially with so many famous people dying this way in the last few years. It is like they do not realize there is an underlying cause. A reason, a debilitating and crippling mental health disorder that cannot be controlled. Most medications make suicidal thoughts worse instead of better. So even if a person reaches out for help, it does not always help. This is such a horrible situation. People need to wake up and see the truth behind stuff like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s a topic that lies very close to me. Changing society’s perspectives about mental illness is difficult but I think talking openly about it might help break some of the stigma surrounding mental illness.
      Your comment about the medication is so true as well. Thank you for highlighting that.

      Like

      1. You are welcome. This is a topic that I also care deeply about as I have personal experience with it. Perceptions about mental illness need to change and the only way to do that is talking about it openly like you said. I agree 100%. If we keep plugging at it, we can make a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

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