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Is Suicide Really Selfish?


Dave94

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Personally, I think that there is a problem when the counseling of friends/loved ones goes past understanding and becomes ignorance and selfishness. "But I'll miss you, your family will miss you, etc" they say. It all sounds like they're the selfish ones to me.

 

Let's leave out the aspect of having kids or people who rely on you for this discussion. Assume you are an independent adult with an average social life.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Is suicide really selfish? 

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In a word - Yes.  In my experience, the wreckage and pain that a person leaves behind is incalculable.  I am glad that I was not successful, as bad as things sometimes get, I would regret the life I would have left behind.  But the dead don't feel anything, not even regret.

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I think the one instance where it might not be selfish is when you are suffering from an agonizing, incurable disease. I watched my grandfather wither slowly away from cancer that was eating him from the inside out. It was obvious that during the last few months, he just wanted to leave. The dude couldn't even hold his own head up, let alone take care of going to the bathroom. There was no dignity left in his life, and he felt awful about being a burden on my granny and the rest of the family.

 

If I was in a similar state, I'd be looking for Dr. Kervorkian's phone #. I would not want to put those I love through what my granddad experienced.

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I think the one instance where it might not be selfish is when you are suffering from an agonizing, incurable disease. I watched my grandfather wither slowly away from cancer that was eating him from the inside out. It was obvious that during the last few months, he just wanted to leave. The dude couldn't even hold his own head up, let alone take care of going to the bathroom. There was no dignity left in his life, and he felt awful about being a burden on my granny and the rest of the family.

 

If I was in a similar state, I'd be looking for Dr. Kervorkian's phone #. I would not want to put those I love through what my granddad experienced.

 

If those are the circumstances, the I agree completely.  I am in favor of assisted suicide in cases where there is no quality of life or hope of a cure.  Unfortunately, that will never be the case in this country as patient suffering equals money.  The Hospice industry will do everything it can to keep assisted suicide squashed.

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I wonder then to what extent an incurable mental illness can fall under the category of acceptable self-euthanization. "Suicide" shares the same suffix as all the other '-cides', which connote m***** - the senseless taking of a life.

 

In my case I have suffered on and off from many symptoms of depression, a destabilized personality and bouts of debilitating fatigue for which doctors have yet to identify the underlying cause. As far as I'm concerned, what I suffer from is not a mental disorder but a neurological illness that manifests itself in psychiatric and physiological symptoms that drastically degrade my quality of life. What makes it even more frustrating is the unpredictable nature of onset and duration of symptoms vis-a-vis what most would consider to be a "normal" life. These bouts have been occurring more frequently and with greater severity over the past few years. This is leading me into a life where I am losing the ability to work, socialize, engage in relationships or even feel simple pleasures.

 

Medically, I am running low on options for diagnosis and treatment. From the psychiatric perspective I am now facing the last line of defence - mood stabilizers and direct neurological interventions (ECT or TMS). Physiologically I will be submitting myself to holistic doctors (still licensed MDs, not naturopaths) who practice functional medicine and will base their examination on biological markers. There is no guarantee either of these approaches will bear fruit and there comes a point where one has to accept the limitations of modern medicine. 

 

Socially and psychologically I do not consider myself to be dysfunctional, though symptoms of my disease - wherever it stems from - have a profound impact on those spheres. When I am feeling well I am perfectly capable of navigating through life, making friends, engaging in romantic relationships, pursuing a career and so forth. There is no disorder. The trouble I face as I approach 40 is that my mental state is in an overall phase of rapid decline for reasons that escape both myself and the litany of professionals - therapists, psychiatrists, naturopaths, doctors - I have consulted with.

 

When the majority of my life, from early adolescence onward, has been largely defined by mental illness it becomes even harder to imagine a life free from it as I have only ever managed to garner snippets of what that could be before I get dragged down again. The lows are plumbing new depths that frazzle my personality and leave me in states that resemble disorders including schizoid, avoidant, narcissistic and borderline. None of these labels quite fit my personality as it flails all over the place, taking me from periods of intense extraversion to reclusive introversion within the span of days. It's hard enough dealing with the physiological fallout from "depression" let alone trying to make sense of a psyche that is incapable of affixing to a solid perspective. This goes beyond mental fluidity and open-mindedness.

 

It's insanity. I am slowly but surely losing my mind. And through that process I suffer, sometimes far more intensely than other times and sometimes not at all. For brief moments I can actually enjoy life, but even that prospect has become more daunting because the most intensely agonizing periods always manifest themselves on the tail end of the good times. Night falls fast, but once my eyes adjust I begin to wonder if it's even worth seeing the light of day again.

 

I may not have a right to die, but I do have a right to refuse a life of suffering. Call that selfish, call it cowardly, judge it in any way a sane mind would. As paradoxical as it sounds, knowing that there is an escape from this torment is enough to keep me going.

 

Suicide has less to do with selfishness and far more to do with desperation.

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I like (and understand, LOL) the last paragraph and sentence PutABirdOnIt wrote.  I don't want to promote the action, but can also emphasize with those that do.  For over half a century I've suffered from depression; sometimes worse than others, and with no hope of getting better (too many roadblocks in getting help).  For two reasons I wouldn't seriously consider it.  Without checking out the ways seriously, I'm afraid of guns, heights, getting sick to my stomach, and the sight of blood.  My preference would be a house fire (dying of carbon monoxide) or some kind of freak accident.  The second reason would be my elderly parent - the last surviving member of her immediate family and the coroner's report of her younger sister committing suicide (now it would be considered anorexia).

 

The only selfish part would be effect on my mother.  Without any close friends, who cares?  People die and people mourn.  Whether I kicked the bucket on my own or naturally, someone would be responsible tor taking care of my things afterwards, so that's going to happen anyway.

 

Personally I'm tired of living like this.  Maybe the selfishness lies in people who are against it.   Again though, even though I emphasize, I wouldn't encourage it either.

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For those considering it, su*cide is a choice of pain and desperation.  But I agree that it is also fundamentally selfish.  I have attempted su*cide, and had someone close to me actually commit su*cide.  Family and friends are left behind with the fallout and pain.  Su*cide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  It is nearly impossible to see the agony of depression as temporary, or something that can be overcome, but it can be overcome.  Sometimes struggling with depression is a war of attrition, a test of determination and unholy stubbornness to just keep moving forward when your mind tells you to dig your grave right there.  Sometimes the best you can manage is to just put down the shovel. 

 

Please don't hurt yourself dave94.  You are a valuable and amazing human being, give yourself a chance and keep fighting.  :hugs:

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You are only minimizing the consequences of your actions in your head, if you think it will not affect anyone that cares about you.  I had an uncle several years ago who took his own life.  A few years later his oldest son, my cousin, took his own life.  Two years later, their youngest son took his own life; he was only 12.  Do you really want to be that first domino?  The act of suicide is the loudest endorsement and it tells others suffering from something that may only last a small percentage of their lives, that it's time to give up.  No one will have to live with that on their conscious if they followed through with such an act; but, it really is selfish, not bothering to consider the big picture in all of its detail.

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Personally, I think that there is a problem when the counseling of friends/loved ones goes past understanding and becomes ignorance and selfishness. "But I'll miss you, your family will miss you, etc" they say. It all sounds like they're the selfish ones to me.

 

Let's leave out the aspect of having kids or people who rely on you for this discussion. Assume you are an independent adult with an average social life.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Is suicide really selfish? 

I would advise you to not think of Suicide as selfish.  There's a reason for this.  It's extremely common for a suicidally depressed person to feel like a burden to those around them.  Part of this is biological instinct part of this is cultural.  In some cultures, like Japanese culture, suicide can be glorified and seen as honorable which increases the chances someone in that culture will **** themself.

However, to guilt-trip people feeling depressed into thinking that suicide is "selfish" is kind of not useful.  Often suicidal people have fantasies about dying while saving someone else because their mind accepts that they can't WANT a human to die, even themselves, (but they actually do want to die, more for just because their brain knows that's when their suffering ends), so they basically guilt-trip themselfs thinking it's selfish to imagine ******* themselves, but fantasies about dying other ways fill in.  So telling a person that suicide is selfish tends to steer them more towards the direction of just doing death-wish-like behavior and fantasizing about dying all the time.

Remove the guilt from yourself.  Realize that yes, when you are suffering you are selfish.  So is a baby when it is hungry.  So is any human who is on fire or starving to death.  Suffering often happens on the inside, and that does not make it less powerful at effecting your ability to cope.  Suicide fantasies are not selfish BUT being kind to both yourself and others is selfless.  To be sure you are not selfish, be selfless.

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One can say being born to have your family and friends you love die before you to be a selfish reality, as humans are only procreating to watch its species die. Therefore, if one is to logically conclude that suicide is selfish for the mere reason it will hurt the people who love you as they cannot handle your death. The same can be said for everyone’s parents, as they basically gave birth to us in order for us to watch them perish even though we want them to live. Both seem cruel especially in terms of what humans perceive to be a bad thing, but in reality everything is neither right nor wrong, for the mere reason morality doesn’t exist, thus it is just an act like anything else that just “is.” I tend to look at suicide in the terms of what does it truly matter if one waits to die or decides to get it over with sooner, for the outcome remains the same in both instances because death is inevitable. In the end, I cannot say that suicide is right nor can I say it’s wrong because to say it is selfish or not doesn’t make sense logically.

 

I conclude my post with an excellent YouTube link to a song by Scott Matthew entitled Psychedelic Soul, which embodies the reality of life. Read the lyrics in the description as the philosophical meaning is quite powerful. Enjoy!

 

[Please PM user for link]

Edited by neurotic_lady89
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You said,

 


 


 


One can say being born to have your family and friends you love die before you to be a selfish reality, as humans are only procreating to watch its species die.

 

 

Are we sure?  That's all humans are for is to watch ourselves die?  Nihilism is philosophy, but not a forgone logical conclusion.


Therefore, if one is to logically conclude that suicide is selfish for the mere reason it will hurt the people who love you as they cannot handle your death.

 

 

 

In the vast majority of cases, absolutely, it increases the risk of suicide of your loved ones, it causes depression and suicidal ideation in them often.  I got calls about Robin Williams for 6 weeks straight where I was keeping track of how many days before I had a full work day where his name was not mentioned on a suicide hotline.  It was crazy.  BUT I have also had people call who say, "yeah my mom just told me to go **** myself", and for some reason I remember a youtube comment where someone said something to me like go **** yourself, or told someone else that or something, in any event, in those cases, yeah, those people might actually be happy if you die for the sake of "unity" of the species, but really suicide isn't about selfish-vs-selfless necessarily, it doesn't have to be.  It's more about feeling trapped in pain and not knowing how to get out besides the one end we all agree we will reach at some point.
Both seem cruel especially in terms of what humans perceive to be a bad thing, but in reality everything is neither right nor wrong, for the mere reason morality doesn’t exist, thus it is just an act like anything else that just “is.” I tend to look at suicide in the terms of what does it truly matter if one waits to die or decides to get it over with sooner, for the outcome remains the same in both instances because death is inevitable. In the end, I cannot say that suicide is right nor can I say it’s wrong because to say it is selfish or not doesn’t make sense logically.


 

The same can be said for everyone’s parents, as they basically gave birth to us in order for us to watch them perish even though we want them to live.

 

 

Just because that's part of the process doesn't mean that was the designed purpose or the only possible meaning you can make in your life.  Nihilism kinda saps you of possibilities.

 

 

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As someone earlier said, suicide could be either selfish or desperation.  Sorry, but depression isn't always temporary and there isn't always a way out of it.

 

I'm tired be being depressed all my life with no hope; as I get older the feeling gets worse.  No matter what positive things I try, it's still there.  I'm tired of the responsibilities of work, getting chewed out for mistakes and not having the personality to stick up for myself.  I'm tired of having to make decisions, minor or major, by myself.  When a parent dies, I'm one, not looking forward to taking care of the affairs afterwards by myself, and two, being COMPLETELY alone when it does happen.  I'm tired of seeing good, innocent people die in mass shootings, car accidents or whatever - why do those things seem to happen to someone else and not me?

 

Am I being selfish or it is desperation?

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I think the idea that it is selfish arised from people trying to force suicidal individuals into feeling guilt. Which is an awful tactic. To me, it's on par with saying, "But some have it worse than you!"

Saying that doesn't make the depression go away, telling people they're selfish doesn't make the suicidal thoughts go away. It only makes people even more unlikely to talk about them. It makes it worse.

In my opinion, it's a very dangerous thing to say. It only confirms thoughts some of us already have. I had similar said to me and I thought something like, "Yes, I am selfish. I'm such a bad person. I'm worthless."

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It is selfish but at the same time I get it. When your quality of life is null the last thing you're thinking about is other people but I would never leave my son behind. He is the reason I'm still here and went on. I never thought I would be able to climb out of that hole but I did. I'm glad I dug in my heels.

 

If someone told me in 2007 that I would move, get remarried to a wonderful man on a beach in the Caribbean, have a better job, and start traveling, I'd look at them like they were on something. My life was a freaking train wreck at that time and I saw no future for myself whatsoever.  

 

Things change.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think there are a few simultaneous things to consider when looking at this. In my opinion. 

 

1. I don't believe that anyone who completes or attempts suic*de deserves shame or to be shamed (as in all the judgments that one hears). Unless it is done in a way intended to purposely cause suffering to others. That does in my personal book.

 

2. I don't believe anyone should fool themselves into thinking that their act won't cause destruction or harm to others. That is often projection of their own lack of respect for their life, or even all life, and their poor self esteem and is a symptom of the illness. It will cause harm and potential serious harm such as properly traumatising those who love the person as well as anyone involved such as doctors, police, bystanders etc and even the attempter themselves. Anything that involves purposeful taking of a life by a human being can. It's how we are programmed and the consequences can last for generations. 

 

3. I do think people have a right to end their lives. It is their life and some suffering is too much to bare.

I just don't believe in self delusion or not looking at the reality of the situation. I think depression can totally skew our perception of our worth and therefore the consequences. 

 

My compassion and empathy goes out to anyone who has done it or attempted to do it and I don't believe shaming anyone who has achieves anything other than adding to something already horrible.

 

Personally one of the things I feel most strongly about and is my main core principle in life is to try  to add as little suffering to the world as I can, I hope I can manage that but if I can't then I don't deserve judgement. 

Edited by Fizzle
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That is potentially untrue desperados. Someone has to clean up. Someone has to find you. People can potentially be very harmed by that. Many people are potentially affected. Even if it is reported in the news it can be a trigger for more attempts to happen. 

Edited by Fizzle
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Well yes my neighbour was suicided 4 years ago...she jumped out of window and broke her neck...after a week there were no one around to remember her and there were no talk about her...but her mother was collapsed by her daughters's death and her mother died cause of heart attack 3 years later.She was the only one who cared about her daughther.

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Arguably every action a person takes is selfish. Even when you do something selfless for someone else, you're doing it for a selfish reason. It makes you feel good about yourself, gives you a feeling of worth.

Suicide might be selfish, but I think it's more selfish to expect people who are suffering long-term, unbearable, mental agony to stick around to ensure the people left behind (who have a quality of life) don't have to grieve.

And depression isn't always temporary. The "permanent solution to a temporary problem" saying erks me (sorry 20YC :'-(, I think you're awesome, but that statement grates on me). I've had untreatable, major depression for 16 years without any relief. Afaic 16 years is synonymous with permanent. (Per Alone1's post) how long do you have to wait?

I also, honestly, think that the notion that suicide is selfish makes it harder for the people left behind. They're left with the shame, stigma & embarrassment of their loved one having committed something that others see as wrong. If we treated people's suffering & decisions with more compassion & understanding, their loved ones might be allowed to also feel relief for the person, rather than just wondering 'how could they do this to me?'

I've seen this with a friend's suicide (she had anorexia triggered by a messy divorce & eventually couldn't take it any more) & the amazing way her parents (who adored her) dealt with it. They expressed relief over the fact that she was no longer suffering & it helped them in their grief. Their words also helped me in my grief.

I have also read that when terminal patients are given a euthanasia drug, it gives them the strength to hang on for much longer than they otherwise would. Maybe a shift in mindset, removing the 'selfish' stigma & treating people's suffering & choices with more compassion/understanding, might just have the opposite effect on suicide rates.

Edited by Els1e
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That is potentially untrue desperados. Someone has to clean up. Someone has to find you. People can potentially be very harmed by that. Many people are potentially affected. Even if it is reported in the news it can be a trigger for more attempts to happen. 

 

That's pretty much true in ANY type of unexpected death though; especially if the person lives alone.

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