Suicide and the selfish stigma

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Stop Calling Suicide Victims ‘Selfish’

“According to a poll conducted in May 2013 by Gallup, only 16 percent of the country finds suicide to be “morally acceptable.” But the moral acceptability is not an issue. Suicide is the tragic, distressing result of severe mental illness. By definition, it takes lives. We don’t question the moral acceptability of other often fatal diseases such as cancer; we accept that they’re awful and terrible and search for ways to cure and prevent them. We certainly don’t attack cancer victims for getting sick. Suicide should be looked at in the same way — we shouldn’t be arguing the justifiability of the victim’s actions or the ethics of ending one’s own life — we should be looking for ways to stop it.


But every time a suicide occurs, some little self-assured voice is going to attack the victim. The same victim who felt inadequate enough to end his or her own life. The same victim who found solace in death. The same victim who assumed the world would be better off without them. This smug character will go out of his way to insult a suicide victim, calling them “selfish,” and “attention-seeking,” asserting that “everyone faces obstacles, they should have sucked it up like the rest of us.” I’ve seen it happen countless times.”

This article is well worth reading. I have often thought about the stigma of suicide as someone who survived an attempt in 2010. People say it is selfish because you are thinking about your suffering and not those you will leave behind who will suffer. But of course you think about that, you just think they really will be better off without you. But people still think that is selfish even though they cannot comprehend existing in pain every day of their lives or knowing that you will exist in pain every day onward into the future. It is selfish to not want to suffer like that. And when I survived I decided, yeah, I guess I will just live for the sake of others so they will not suffer because I still craved that end and had no real desire to continue the torment my existence was. I had to find reasons. Make up reasons. I’m not sure if my doctor thought I was attention-seeking or not but I feared it. I feared he would not take my pain seriously. He didn’t. So he must have. I had been extremely serious in my attempt. I had, unfortunately, a little bad luck and bad timing (or is it good luck and good timing? depends on how you look at that one).

“What kind of arrogant, insensitive mindset causes a person to believe that he knows what is going on in a suicide victim’s head, to assume because that he sometimes feels sad, he knows what it’s like to actually want to kill himself? It’s a baffling attitude. A person just died because that seemed like a better option than living. I really can’t, and no non-suicidal person can, imagine feeling that completely hopeless and worthless and out of options.
I’ve felt sad before, yes. I’ve felt bad about myself before, yes. But I haven’t actively wanted to die, so why should I pretend to know what that’s like? I’ve had the flu before, too, yet I don’t know what cancer is like.
I’m tired of the victim blaming that makes light of one of the most tragic and upsetting scenarios imaginable. This attitude is shameful and does absolutely nothing to prevent suicides in the future; it merely diminishes mental illness and disrespects the deceased.”

Yes, I highly doubt someone who has never cross that line understand what goes through the minds of the suicidal. It is a hellish place to be so consumed by suffering your reasoning turns to rationalizing how it makes sense to die rather than live.


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