4 Reasons You Should Reconsider Calling Suicide 'Selfish'

by Stephanie Barbarino

No one will ever understand suicide, including the families, the friends and even the bullies. What many don't know is the ones who understand it the least are the ones who attempt or commit it. Numerous things have been said about attempting or committing suicide, and the majority of them are extremely judgmental.

Suicide is many things. It is tragic, heartbreaking, incomprehensible and frustrating. But one thing suicide is not is selfish. I've heard this argument countless times over the years, and the record needs to be set straight. Here are four reasons suicide is not selfish:

1. They're hurt, not trying to hurt others.

Those who attempt taking their own lives are not trying to hurt anyone, not even themselves. In fact, they're just trying to make the pain go away. They do not sit there and make a list of people they're going to destroy after the act is committed. Many actually do the opposite.

A suicide note is an admission of guilt and an apology for causing the pain they know will follow after their passing. Tragically, they've reach the mindset that the ones who do love them will be in less pain with them gone than with them continuing on with life.

2. They believe there's no way out.

We've all thought about it. So many of us get stuck in the monotony of everyday life and dread going to work or school because it's boring, lifeless or we don't like certain people there.

At the end of the day, when we get to return home to our families, go out for a few drinks with our buddies or just talk to a loved one, everything seems worth it. No matter how bad the day was, it seemed as though salvation was just a few hours away.

What if we didn't think that, though? If you're stuck in a dead-end job, your relationship is going to hell or you're being bullied, you could just feel terrible about yourself in general.

Life becomes a black box with no light and no fresh air. The black box just gets smaller and darker with each passing day, making you feel severely claustrophobic.

If you thought that your only way of breaking out of the box was to kill yourself, what would you do? Would you spend a lifetime in darkness, barely breathing, afraid of what comes next? Or would you take a chance and try to escape by any means necessary?

We have to recognize the pain and suffering these people are going through, and we need to try to see the world through their point of view.

3. Depression is an illness that causes suicide.

Drug addiction is an illness. That's how it's been described in current day medical practices. There are rehab clinics for those who are suffering, and we understand that it is out of their control.

The vast majority of those who suffer from drug addiction were not born with the condition. Yet, we've made a way for them to get help, even though that was an illness brought on by their own choices.

It is common knowledge that you choose to take drugs. Different circumstances can be applied to the reasoning behind it, including where you lived, how you were brought up and the people who surrounded you as a child.

All these reasons can fuel the cause of drug addiction, and we as human beings try to sympathize with that. Drug addiction causes pain and heartache to those who suffer from it. Be that as it may, very rarely do you hear drug abuse referred to as selfish.

Suicide is provoked by the same things that drug abuse is provoked by, including where you lived, how you were brought up and the people who surrounded you as a child. Each one of these can be triggers that one day will lead to depression and then suicide. The difference between a mind on drugs and a mind contemplating suicide is there is no escape for a sober mind debating life.

There is no withdrawal phase this person can go through and then get better. It's a matter of being trapped in your mind and going over all the possible outcomes of what's on the horizon.

Depression can be treated, however, many who are suffering do not know they are. They believe this is all their lives are, and the end result is the most deplorable kind.

4. They've carried this feeling with them for a long time.

The thing about suicide is you never know what people have the skeleton in their closets. It could be the person next to you, or it could be your best friend, parent, brother or sister. Anyone could bear the mark of suicide and still seem to be the happiest person you've ever met.

These people, the ones who tried but were denied the way out, appreciate life every second of every day. They have been given a second chance, and they were able to somehow survive and climb out of the black box. Maybe someone you know wasn't the one struggling, but loved someone who was.

When asking survivors who are brave enough to tell their stories whether or not they realized their suicide attempts were "selfish," many will actually say yes, but it was never meant to be. Sometimes, the darkness clouds your thoughts so much that all you see is yourself damaging the lives around you.

You wish you could trade places with them because they should live, and you shouldn't. It's described as selfish because they have to live with the guilt of contemplating every day what could have been. It's the way of coping with the "what ifs."

Suicide will never be understood by the victims, strangers and loved ones. It's harrowing to believe someone you love could ever surmise he or she is not not worthy of living. Yet, if that person is lucky enough to receive a second chance, believe me, he or she will understand how profoundly beautiful it is to be alive.