Content warning: Suicide.
Recently a discussion was brought up in my Philosophy Morals and Ethics class that I can't seem to quit thinking about. The discussion was on suicide and one of the topics was whether or not the act is selfish or selfless.
A fellow student immediately spoke up and gave her argument for why she believed it was selfish. Including the idea that when one commits suicide, they are just passing on the pain to someone else who was affected by the death.
I immediately began to feel rage.
I understand her feelings were probably brought on because she was affected by someone else committing suicide and this was why she felt so strongly for her to speak on the subject. And as someone who has also been affected by someone else's suicide, I can understand her reasoning.
But speaking as someone who has been affected by my own suicidal thoughts and even attempts, I can't agree with her conclusion.
I've been thinking about this constantly for the past week and have been filled with so much discomfort that her reasoning was so small minded, it pissed me off. How could she sit there and say that it is selfish, of all things, if she hasn't experienced the excruciating pain of the constant battling with yourself over suicidal thoughts and depression?
I was so pissed that she would even be so selfish to say that suicide is selfish.
I began writing this as a "are you f***ing kidding me?!" article. But then my therapist's voice crept in and I was reminded to always consider all sides of all stories. I do not know if she has or has not dealt with her own suicidal thoughts. But if she truly had, could she really be able to just sit there and claim that it was selfish?!
Every single case of suicide and depression are entirely different. But personally, I believe that when someone attempts or commits suicide is because they deeply believe it is what is best for them, and others, and there is no other option. You believe that you are such a burden to those around you that you feel your death would better other's lives.
There is no talking to someone about it, there is no getting better, there is no other option. You are so consumed by the intense dark suffocating thoughts, that you can't see any form of light. You can't see that there is any other way out of the soul-sucking thoughts.
You see death as your only option out of it.
As I know now, that is not the case. There are ways out and you can get better. But that still doesn't make suicide selfish because the pain is passed on to someone else.
Merriam-Webster defines selfish as "seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others," and a selfish act as "arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others."
Seeking well-being for oneself without regard for others.
You can't label suicide as selfish because when you truly battle with it, you know the weight it bears down on you. It steals every last breath you find the strength to take.
You can't label suicide as selfish because, in it, you believe that you are a burden to others and the world would be better off without you in it.
You can't label suicide as selfish because you think that someone ended their own life to hurt those around them.
And it's even selfish of you to even think that you can label it as selfish.
Because if you can't stop to remove the blinding curtains from your own eyes to see how much pain they were in to think that suicide was their only option, for them to feel like they had no one and that they were no one, then that makes you selfish.
Suicide is a very real topic and action. And I am not saying that I am an expert on the subject simply because I have stared it in the face and was even unsuccessful at meeting its need.
No, I am not an expert on suicide or depression, but as someone who has drowned in the same waters as about 1,400,000 other people, I feel the need for you to know that it isn't just as simple as black and white.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255