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Is Suicide Selfish?

Posted by lizzieboo , 16 September 2012 · 566 views

I've read many arguments about whether suicide is a selfish act. One especially vehement condemnation of those who end their own lives surprised me greatly because it came from a woman who is, herself, a person with bipolar disorder. Apparently her father killed himself when she was a child and, to this day (she's middle-aged now), she declares that she "hates" him for having ruined the lives of his surviving relatives (herself included).

I don't see it that way. I feel deep sorrow and pity toward survivors of friends or relatives who chose to kill themselves, but I also feel sorrow and pity for the person who chose to leave the world at his own hand.

This is where my compassion toward people who committed suicide comes in: I have, myself, wanted to end my life not just to end my own pain--but also to relieve my loved ones of the burden of having to deal with my mood swings. During my darkest bouts of bipolar depression, one of the most overpowering negative emotions I experience is guilt for putting my family and friends through the pain, stress, and annoyance I'm sure they must feel due to my stupid moods. And I feel that my friends and family deserve better from me.

What makes it worse is that even when I am so deeply depressed that I wish I could just go to sleep and not wake up, I'm still fully cognizant of the fact that there are millions of people all over the world who have it so very much worse than I do. So who am I to be depressed, and to place the burden of dealing with my depression on people who have their own pain and troubles.

I've heard the arguments about survivors feeling guilty because they wonder whether they could have "saved" the person who killed himself, and I understand that. But to feel anger and hatred toward a person who killed himself, or to condemn him for "selfishness" is, I believe, unfair. That person may have genuinely believed that he was doing his loved ones a favor by removing the necessity of taking care of him.





ouija ouija
Sep 16 2012 04:52 PM
'Amen' to all you've said there.
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Ever Learning
Sep 16 2012 05:12 PM
very hard topic, need time to ponder it.
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Alienated Being
Sep 16 2012 08:35 PM
Theoretically, you could argue that it is as equally selfish for making the victim of these thoughts feel guilty about themselves, in order to prevent yourself from feeling guilty.

Myself? I could never do it. I love my family, as much as I feel that I do not "fit in" a lot of the time. I would never do that to my parents, or loved ones. Ever. I feel ill in my stomach just thinking about it.
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Alienated Being, on 16 September 2012 - 08:35 PM, said:

Theoretically, you could argue that it is as equally selfish for making the victim of these thoughts feel guilty about themselves, in order to prevent yourself from feeling guilty.

Myself? I could never do it. I love my family, as much as I feel that I do not "fit in" a lot of the time. I would never do that to my parents, or loved ones. Ever. I feel ill in my stomach just thinking about it.

Wow, that made my head hurt. I wouldn't do it, but not because of the way it would affect anyone else. I won't because I'm a coward.

But AB, I honestly do believe that I am a burden to my loved ones and friends because of my bipolar disorder. I feel horrible every time I express my depression, like I'm just a big whining loser who is wasting people's time. And I do feel that they might be better off if they didn't have to deal with me. (Maybe sometime I'll explain how my family reacts to people with mental illness; maybe that would help you see why I feel the way I do.)
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We have one life, sucide is irrational and at the same time  understandable, and many at least once in their lives have thought about it...I have....apart from that, it is a selfish act.  Sel pity does not help, I feel for your pain, and I have friends who have bi-polar disorder and live their lives.  Are you on meds?  Do you take them?  I really hope you do.  When a loved one kills themselves lives are thrown in turmoil and yes guilit.  There is a void after one dies that can't be filled by anyone else.  Suicide does not allow closure.

I hope that you get some inner balance my friend, I am worried about what you have written.  You are a human being, intelligent and the only one like you, you can't be replaced.

We all have our own inner demons and yes some people do have it worse than you, but that is not fair to you to feel guilt over something you can't help having, have some compassion for yourself and love.

I don't believe that death is sleep, but we continue, perhaps if my belief is right, then you will have to experience the suffering of those left behind.....the life review of those who have died, the suicides, when they come back, say that offing oneself is not helpful for anyone at anytime.

I will pray for you, hope you don't mind, don't know what your beliefs are.

peace
mark
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Professor T
Sep 16 2012 11:12 PM
I feel sorry for those who commit suicide & their families.
Especially when one is in their darkest hours and when there is nowhere to go they should relaise that the only places left to go is back into the light of life.

I wrote this a few years back in contemplation..

Would you dare end you life,
for woes and for strife?
Would you end all that is,
for troubles that are, minor to those afar.

A life without trials is a life-span unlived,
for sorrow makes the joy so beloved.
And pain makes the pleasure adored,
And woes make gladness revered.

Would you dare end your life before it is spent,
And learn only woe and sorrow and lament,
And drown in a brew of remorse and of grief,
to discover in death that there is no relief.

To take ones own life is to cheat life it's goal,
and brew only misery into the soul.
If life's like a river self death is a dam,
and to die in stagnant misery is to die by your hand.


.
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catch-me-if-you-can
Sep 17 2012 12:31 AM
Very fun topic! Suicide is an interesting topic to me, the act of one who decides to voluntarily  not exist anymore, intense! I never wonder why people do it, I know I can't. I stop and think about this kind of stuff, statistics show that 1 million people kill themselves every year. A million! That's true. 2800 a day, 1 every 30 seconds. Men are 4 more times likely to kill themselves than women . Women attempt it more though. Ain't that great? Right this second, some guy's getting ready to bite the big bazooka!
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I understand exactly what you are saying.  I'm bi-polar as well and there have been so many times I just don't want to wake up.  I would never commit suicide because of my kids.  They tether me to this world.
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markdohle, on 16 September 2012 - 11:10 PM, said:

We have one life, sucide is irrational and at the same time  understandable, and many at least once in their lives have thought about it...I have....apart from that, it is a selfish act.  Sel pity does not help, I feel for your pain, and I have friends who have bi-polar disorder and live their lives.  Are you on meds?  Do you take them?  I really hope you do.  When a loved one kills themselves lives are thrown in turmoil and yes guilit.  There is a void after one dies that can't be filled by anyone else.  Suicide does not allow closure.

I hope that you get some inner balance my friend, I am worried about what you have written.  You are a human being, intelligent and the only one like you, you can't be replaced.

We all have our own inner demons and yes some people do have it worse than you, but that is not fair to you to feel guilt over something you can't help having, have some compassion for yourself and love.

I don't believe that death is sleep, but we continue, perhaps if my belief is right, then you will have to experience the suffering of those left behind.....the life review of those who have died, the suicides, when they come back, say that offing oneself is not helpful for anyone at anytime.

I will pray for you, hope you don't mind, don't know what your beliefs are.

peace
mark

Hello my friend, and thank you for your comments and, most of all, for your prayers. I am a woman of faith and I always appreciate prayers.

I am on meds and I do take them faithfully. Recently, however, a situation that is a trigger for me (i.e., an event that precipitates an episode of either hypomania or depression) arose and I am not handling it well, despite the medication. My doctor wrote me another prescription for an anxiety medication, but I cannot afford it. I am trying to hold it together for two more weeks, until I can pay for the new medicine.

In another, more recent blog, I mentioned that I realized just this morning that I've never turned my bipolar disorder over to God; although I can and do pray, until today it never occurred to me to ask God to get me through these mood swings. I always tried to handle them without God's help, turning instead to family, other loved ones, and friends. I believe that viewing my illness in this new perspective may be extremely beneficial for me.

Thank you again for your prayers, my dear. They are more appreciated than I can say.

Liz
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