Why Suicide Is Not Selfish

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If you have reached this page because you are contemplating suicide, please know that there are people who care about you and suicide is not the answer. Get help now by calling a member of your family, friend, clergy, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I will also say a prayer for YOU right now. Will you pray with me?

Lord, I come to you now and lift this hurting person up to you. Your word promises that you will give us peace. That you love us, and that you have given us sound minds. I claim those promises for this person right now, Father. I pray that you will touch them and they will feel your presence wash over them– that they will know how much they are loved at this very moment. That they will know from the depths of their soul that their hope is in you and you never fail. I ask that you heal their mind Lord; that you give them peace, strength to keep fighting, and courage to seek help. I give you all the praise, and glory and honor Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

Before I go any further with this post let me just clear the air. I don’t want anybody thinking that I am saying suicide is OK or that it is some way justified by it’s lack of selfishness. I am NOT saying anything of the kind. Suicide is tragic. Always.

The second thing I want to say is that I am not a mental health professional. This post is not based on scientific research or professional expertise. It is my personal opinion based on my own experience. My aim here is to shine a little light on the subject from the perspective of the person suffering from depression in hopes that people in their lives may gain a new understanding of their struggle.

I decided to write this post after I saw yet another rant on Facebook about suicide being a selfish act. We often hear it referred to as “taking the easy way out”.  On the surface, it seems plausible. How could anybody think so much about themselves that they decide to end all their suffering through suicide without thinking about the impact it will have on the people in their lives? They get to stop suffering but condemn those who love them to a life of suffering instead. Who in their right mind could do that to their loved ones? It sure seems selfish at first glance.

But, here’s the rub and the piece that is often overlooked. The person contemplating suicide is NOT in his or her “right mind”. His thought processes are skewed by the lies depression makes him believe about himself. What seems like selfishness to a healthy mind can seem like doing the right thing for your loved ones to the tortured mind. That’s how it was for me.

I never actually attempted suicide, but I definitely didn’t want to be alive. I prayed every night asking God to take me in my sleep. I’d lay in my bed contemplating ways I could help him along. I’d go to the beach and imagine just walking out into the water until I drowned. My suicidal thought were motivated by a lot of things. None of them was selfishness. These were the two biggest:

  1. I believed my family would be better off without me. I had health problems. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t do housework. I couldn’t do fun things with the family. My health care expenses were a burden on our finances. I was another mouth to feed who contributed nothing to the family in return. I didn’t bake cookies with the grandkids — all they ever saw me do was lay in bed. They had to walk around on eggshells because I would get a panic attack if they were too loud or anything got stressful. You get the picture. This is how I saw myself. Not as a member of a family, but a blob of flesh that was just taking up space.I was a burden. Without me around they would be free to live their lives without having to worry about taking care of me, and my husband would be free to find someone else to marry who could be an equal partner.Somebody who could be the kind of wife he deserved.
  2. I believed my family wouldn’t care if I was gone.  I didn’t like myself at all. I felt hideous and gross and unlovable. Thus, I believed that my family didn’t really like me either. That they just felt obligated to take care of this person residing in the shell of who their wife/mother/grandmother used to be.  Oh, I know how much they loved their wife/mother/grandmother. But, I did not see myself as the woman they had always known and loved. I felt like that person was already dead, and the person I was now was just a stranger in her body. Why should they care if that hideous stranger left them? The wife/mother/grandmother they had always know was already gone.

I could go on, and maybe I will sometime down the road. But I’ll leave it here for now. The point that I’m trying to make is this. Suicide cannot be selfish because people who are distraught enough to commit suicide are self loathing. If they do not value themselves, they cannot be selfish. In actuality, they may feel like their mere existing is doing people harm. That’s how it was for me, anyway . Thank God I don’t believe those lies anymore.

 

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