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Thoughts on Suicide and Selfishness from One Who Attempted

Many people believe that suicide attempts and death due to suicides are acts of selfishness. I tried to die, and didn't think I was selfish at the time.

Is suicide an act of selfishness? Many people see that to be true while the one planning suicide thinks otherwise. Those who are suicidal do not believe they are attempting to die out of selfishness. They believe that their death will help the world around them and help free themselves of the difficulties in their life. I know this because I’ve been there.

 

The mind is a tricky thing to decipher. It’s hard to really understand what the mind is going through for those who are suicidal. In truth, we will never really understand because everyone’s mind is different and mental illness causes very serious and untrue thoughts about oneself. However the question remains – is it selfish to commit suicide?

Suicide, Selfish or Not, Makes Death More Painful

Many people believe that those who self-harm are suicidal when that may not be the case but are suicide attempts selfish? A man very close to my heart recently passed away. He was not my grandfather by blood, but became a grandfather figure through my stepfamily. Until his passing, I had never sat in a room with someone who had died and never witnessed a loved one being carried away from their family.

His death made me think about my past and my suicide attempts. It made me think about how selfish it would have been if those attempts had actually turned into my death. I couldn’t imagine how my family would have felt if they had found me and how painful it would have been for them.

The sadness and pain my step-grandfather’s death caused to his family and friends has been immense. He touched our lives in so many ways and never wanted to die. It wasn’t his choice to pass away and the fact that many people make the choice to end their lives really is something I see as selfish.

My Idea of Suicide and Selfishness

Some people may not agree with my way of thinking, but I am sure many do. Looking back at my suicide attempts, I feel as if they were acts of selfishness even if, at the time, I thought otherwise. For those who have attempted suicide, whether or not you self-harmed as well, think about how your death would have affected those around you. Think about how you felt when a loved one passed away.

And for those who are suicidal and are thinking about following through, call a suicide hotline or speak out to someone, anyone, before you take one more step.

You can also find Jennifer Aline Graham on Google+Facebook,  Twitter and her website is here. Find out more about Noon through Amazon.com.

9 thoughts on “Thoughts on Suicide and Selfishness from One Who Attempted”

  1. I don’t know why we feel to judge so harshly. Is it really helpful to those of us who have/are dealing with thoughts and feelings of suicide to once and for all declare them selfish? I don’t think so. As you said in your post, the brain/mind is a very tricky thing. I might add a very complicated organ. That and helping a suicidal person work through the lies of depression (“I’m a burden to everyone around me.”, “They would be better off without me.”) is really where our focus should be. I know when I was in the throws of depression and having suicidal thoughts, if you had told me I was being selfish I would only have belived the lies all the more. I feel it’s best that we focus on helping ourselves and others heal from mental illness and not worry about putting lables on any aspect of mental illness.

  2. I struggled with this for many years. I almost went through with my plan when I was eleven, but the idea stuck in my head for a long time even after I walked away from the gun cabinet. Like you, I didn’t see it as selfish at the time. I was forced to go through all kinds of horrible things. Suicide was the only escape I could see, and I felt I had suffered enough. I didn’t believe that anyone would miss me. It never occurred to me that I’d be hurting anyone by ending my life. All I could think of was getting away from the abuse and the bullying and the nightmares and the never ending fear that ruled my life. Suicide would’ve been selfish, but I wasn’t planning it out of selfishness; I was just desperate to help myself and very misled on how to do that. It’s very difficult living with the thought of the pain I almost caused my loved ones now. I have self harmed over the guilt of what I nearly did to them. That’s the thing about telling someone to think of their family and friends. That’s the problem with calling suicide selfish. We never believe we are being selfish when we first consider it. Then if the thought occurs or if someone brings it up, we feel guilty. And that guilt is just another pain on top of everything else we are suffering. My advice is to be careful not to make someone feel even worse by guilting them when they are suicidal. Everyone has someone who loves them and would miss them, but you have to be careful not to make them feel accused because its likely they honestly think that no one would be hurt by their death. It’s likely they honestly believe no one really cares or anyone who does care at all would be able to move on and be better off without them in the end. But that’s never true. People who are hurting need to know that they are loved and important. They need to know they are needed and valued. If someone would’ve told me I was being selfish when I was eleven, I would’ve just thought they didn’t understand. It wouldn’t have changes my mind; it only would have made me feel worse. They would’ve been right; I never even considered that my twelve year old brother would’ve found me and been scarred for life if I had gone through with it. But that wouldn’t have helped me at the time. So be careful about how you speak when you are trying to help a hurting loved one.

  3. Obviously your grandfather was well loved and well respected. Unfortunately that is not always the case in people who have suicidal ideology. I am a woman who has no friends, no connection with my loved ones. We do not do things together and I really do not believe that if I am gone there would be that much of a deal. Yes some pain but not all consuming. After all if no one deals well with me in life why would they care if I wasn’t around.

  4. I have been on both sides of this issue multiple times so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. When your mind is healthy you realize that suicide is selfish and hurts those that love you sometimes beyond repair but a sick and muddled mind believes w all their being that everyone will be better off w/out them and will be better off. It is beyond difficult to kill oneself it goes against everything we’ve been taught in religion and until you’ve made a serious attempt your body’s adrenaline fight or flight kicks in.

  5. If we want to get into semantics then technically I agree that suicide is selfish. It is selfish in the sense that the person is doing it to end their own pain. In the moment when all biological instinct is overcome with the impulse to end your own life, the pain you are in is so acute and so encompassing that nothing or no one else can even be considered. Your own pain takes precedence over everyone else’s. Technically that is selfish but it’s also selfish for us to judge such an act as selfish. We cannot understand the level of pain the person was in. Is it not selfish to demand they stay in pain indefinitely because I love them and need them? Doesn’t love want the other’s pain to end even if it means compounding my own exponentially? My big brother who was my best friend and mentor took his own life. I was very angry for a long time. We were as close as two people can get and I was devastated that “he could do that to me.” He had schizoaffective disorder which basically is like living in a never ending horror movie and nightmare you can’t wake up from. He didn’t “do it to me”. He ended his pain the only way left he felt he had. Often suicidal people truly believe they are relieving their loved ones from their burden. In their warped mind they are doing something selfless not selfish. It took me years to let go of my anger at Steve. But once I learned more and more about his illness and what he was experiencing I don’t know how he lasted so long. He did try and held on as long as he could. His suicide was and still is the most gut wrenching pain I carry in my heart everyday. I of course NEVER advocate or think suicide is ever ok to do. It will change the loved ones left behind in tragic and terrible ways. It will hurt them more than anything else in their life. Every person should consider their loved ones and live to fight another day for the sake of love. At the same time, it is because of my love for my brother that I can see it with compassion and realize he did it to end his pain which is what I would have given anything to have done for him. Alex, I’m so sorry for how much pain you are in. I can relate to the paralyzation of life long depression (and PTSD for me) and the tragic feeling of it still being such a struggle after decades of doing everything possible to fight it. Please hold on to the love you have for your three children and I pray that loving them opens you to be able to receive the self love you so richly deserve. Please hold on. I send you love, prayers and compassion.

  6. If someone you loved was in constant pain from a physical illness and told you they couldn’t carry on any longer and wanted to die, would you call them selfish? If you tried to stop them because of how you felt wouldn’t that make you the selfish one?
    No one can ever know what goes on in an individuals mind minutes before they take their own life. Maybe some people are fully aware of how it will affect others and maybe they don’t care. Maybe some people think others would be better off without them.
    Wanting to take your own life because you are in such intense pain and can’t see a way out or because you are suffering from mental illness that may affect your mood or cloud your judgement is NOT selfish.

  7. It does not seem selfish or thinking of myself only, because I am not missed or acknowledged by a family of orgin. They are part of the cause of suicidal thoughts. No one would miss me as no one knows I am here now.

  8. My life has been spent thinking of others… sometimes selfish is really self-full. I have done very little in my life without thinking of others. Even my suicidal thinking involves thinking of others. It’s the only reason I don’t follow through atthispoint. But what happens when making someone stick around is selfish from others? Who is anyone else to decide someone should be forced to endure yet more pain? When nothing works to alleviate the pain, sometimes bowing out is the best option… just another way to look at the argument.

  9. I’m acutely aware of the pain my suicide would cause especially to my 3 wonderful sons. It’s what’s kept me alive for at least the last 10 plus years. The problem is my treatment resistant depression has become so constant and intensely painful that i feel so paralyzed and useless that I’m very often close to completing the act regardless of the fallout. I’ve tried so hard to fix myself for so many years in so many ways. Basically, I’ve lost hope and I’m sick of being a burden on everyone and of myself.

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