General Question

gamefu91's avatar

Why commit suicide ?

Asked by gamefu91 (585 points ) December 12th, 2010

Is it that they are cowards, can’t face any problems that they encounter and seek an easy way out?
What bad might have happened to them that they don’t want to live anymore?
Do you think there can be a reason big enough to justify suicide?
I myself have had suicidal thoughts,what could it be that has been holding me from doing it?
What could possibly the best thing a suicidal-despo should do?

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61 Answers

coffeenut's avatar

Suicide is a personal decision….
There are a lot of justifiable reasons to commit suicide…...just not justifiable to everyone.
Remember we live in a culture where everyone must live no matter what…..

BUT
......the best thing you could do is talk to a therapist about this…..he can answer your questions better then Fluther….

bunnygrl's avatar

@coffeenut well said honey. As humans we have a survival instinct built in, and the fact that anyone makes a concious decision to not survive is an abberation in our genetic programming. Something has gone wrong in our thinking/wiring, and to have any hope of fixing this we need specialist help.

Reasons for feeling this way? pain. Pain in many different forms can cause this. Physical pain, such as when a person’s quality of life has decreased to such a level that it becomes unbearable. Emotional/mental pain. Caused by any number of different reasons, such as bereavement, loneliness, the ending of a relationship, any major change which affects a persons life so dramatically that coping is simply not an option.

Yes, its easy (and also very callous and unfeeling IMHO) to, from the outside, say to someone “get a grip its only…..” but not to the person being affected. To them whatever the problem is, it is so completely overwhelming, they can’t see past or round it and there is no connection to anything else other than this immense pool of pain which surrounds them entirely. There are so many reasons honey, and all it takes is someone caring enough to put a hand out and say hold onto me, trust me and we’ll get help and we’ll make it better. Just making that connection, having something other than the pain to focus on, it really can be a life saver sweetheart.

mYcHeMiCaLrOmAnCe's avatar

It’s the easiest way to stop playing this stupid game called life. If someone feels that the world is full of shit, too much to deal with…. it’s an easy way to say “I’m tired, I quit”. But only the really strong people can get over the crappy feeling and move on, keep living and find someone to share all the pain with in order to get over it.

flutherother's avatar

Human beings are always looking at all the options open to them and considering outcomes. Putting an end to it all is always one of those options though most people don’t consider it very seriously or for long. In certain circumstances it might become something you would want to do. It isn’t necessarily a lonely thing, you might do it for others.

The_Idler's avatar

The only circumstance I’ve imagined, in which I would consider taking my own life to be the only way out (as opposed to running away to Brazil to be a mercenary/Indonesia to be a pirate/etc.), is one where I have done something so wrong and evil, that I could not live with the guilt.

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes the pain is unbearable, and yet you still bear it. Sometimes the pain is unbearable and you know it will never end no matter what happens. Except death. Death will end the pain. I don’t think I could live in pain forever.

Life can be a lover that you love more than it loves you. Eventually you can see that she is going to break up with you, but you don’t know when. That’s another pain that is too much. It curdles your stomach with iron filings and sulfuric acid. You have no control over what will happen nor when it will happen. The tension is eating you alive. It’s better to beak up with her than to wait until she breaks up with you. You trip the switch on the guillotine because waiting for the executioner to do it is pure, unrelenting torture.

noodle_poodle's avatar

I dont think that its fair to assume that only weak/ or lazy people commit suicide given that to actually go through with it requires far more bravery and force of will than most of us alive posses…if it were an easy thing/option the human race would be a little thin on the ground dont you think? I reckon everyones experience if life is different..try as you might you cant ever realy understand what its like to be someone else..you are you and they are them. As an example take the fact that many colourblind people often go well into adulthood without knowing that they see cant see colours…in fact we might all percieve colours in different way. At school a teacher holds up a card and tells you that “this is green” thus we attach the label to the shade we see. You could be looking at the same leaf as them and both say that its green but the “green” they see and the green you see might be completely different. If such a basic thing as colour perception could differ drastically from person to person so could all aspects of experiencing reality. So in many respects we cant understand why someone would end their life because we cant really understand exactly what they are ending.

Scooby's avatar

People who commit suicide seek the end of the conscious experience, which to them has become an endless stream of distressing thoughts with which they are preoccupied. Suicide offers oblivion.
My Aunt for example decided her own fate when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness, she knew the end was coming & that it would be physically very painful for her & very emotionally painful for the family to see her go through so much distress…… Thankfully she past away in her sleep before the pain set in.

marinelife's avatar

Usually people who commit suicide are clinically depressed. Their world looks bleak and the future looks like more pain. But they are not thinking clearly when they make the decision.

It is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

If they get help with their depression, get medication, then their outlook changes. I know. My brother attempted suicide. He did not sound like himself when he was in the hospital. He had no affect.

Now, several months later with therapy and medication, he is actually enjoying his life and looking forward.

Judi's avatar

As a family member who has survived the suicide of 3 relatives, I can tell you that people don’t realize how far reaching and devastating the effects of their actions are.
I am still angry at my first husband for abandoning his children and leaving them this horrific legacy. It’s as if he presented an option for them that they wouldn’t have considered if they had not been exposed to this at such a young age.
Others were also profoundly effected that he didn’t even consider.
It is a very selfish thing to do.

shniernan's avatar

Yes there are many things to justify suicide. I, personally, never got why everyone got angry at the girl who did it at our school. She hung herself in the bathroom. And to justify it even further, no one cared. The jerks weren’t any less jerks, the people who put her down any less mean. It was her life, she took it.

Suicide, for me, is when all the problems all come in at once. And at some point, you just lose your will to live. Not because it’s the easy way out, or to run from your problems, but because it is what you want. You know the world won’t change and the people you love won’t either. If they were your life, and you can’t live with them…. why live at all?

There are many times I would have done it. Too many for me to count, but the only thing stopping me was the fact that everyone I know would hate me. Be ignorant and call me coward, or the religious people would say I wasted the life God gave me.

I don’t want to be remembered like that. I don’t want to hurt anyone or make anyone feel guilty. The only thing keeping me alive is my care for others.

So put a fake smile on your face and walk it out until all your problems or gone, you might even find a better reason to keep on walking.

noodle_poodle's avatar

@Judi wow thats a petty harsh stance to take…you dont ever wonder if maybe the legacy of a terminally depressed father might be just as bad if not worse? And thats coming from somone from a familiy that isnt exactly sunshine and rainbows either.

mammal's avatar

I know that to kill oneself is always a dirty thing to do. Surely one cannot will one’s own destruction, and anybody who has visualized what is in practice involved in the act of suicide knows that suicide is always a rushing of one’s defenses. But nothing is worse than to be forced to take oneself by surprise.

Wittgenstein

Judi's avatar

@noodle_poodle;
Not near as harsh as what he did to our children.

noodle_poodle's avatar

@Judi fair enough I dont know your situation and its not my place to comment on it. I hope life deals you a few decent cards in the future.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I think it may be a slippery slope for the mind. There is a moment when people stop playing with the idea and start wondering about its execution. When you stop pondering and step to the ledge, I think it is hard for some of us to see an “escape” and turn back from the edge. Just one more step and its over… It is a hard thought to overcome.

I’m not sure which philosopher I read spoke of this, but my bet is Camus. The gist of what I remember is that we all have some inkling to ponder our own destruction. There is a voice when you are on a tall object that says “what if you jump??!”, a sort of existential angst.

For some who taste that I think it is a scratch they cannot resist.

noodle_poodle's avatar

@Ltryptophan yeh i could believe that…like a compounded version of the erge to throw your keys into a river.

mattbrowne's avatar

In my opinion it should be the absolute exception. An example are very painful diseases that cannot be treated. This includes very rare and extreme forms of depression. About a year ago the best German goalkeeper committed suicide and it sparked a discussion about the stigma of depression, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Enke#Death

All treatments failed and he simply couldn’t bear this anymore. We don’t have the right to condemn his choice.

deliasdancemom's avatar

This really depends on the situation….is the person terminally ill? Depressed or mentally ill? I can tell you from personal experience the feelings a suicidal depressed person are not something to be taken lightly as selfish, it is true suffering and a suicidal person truely believes they are making a logical decison that is in the best interest of them and those around them….as untrue and horrible as that may sound it is how the suicidal mind works.

anartist's avatar

@deliasdancemom yes, that is very true. Logical. The right thing to do, to the best one can determine at the time. Quite sobering if there is a time afterwards to reconsider the choice.

wundayatta's avatar

I want to say again that I don’t believe anyone wants to die. But they also don’t want to live in hell. A choice between death and permanent hell is a choice that death will almost always win.

There are people who survive torture for years before they are eventually liberated. What keeps them going? How do they stand up to that hell? I think whatever that is that enables them to stand up to is the difference between a normal mind and a depressed mind.

All my life I thought I was one of those who could stand up to anything. Life was more important than anything. I had no idea how powerful depression was. Although it didn’t manage to take me.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Why commit to living? The ability to choose when we end our lives is just one of many decisions that are available to us. If I was terminally ill and would certainly suffer, that is a decision I might make.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If you don’t know why, you’re lucky.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Why is suicide worse than, say, cancer? It’s death, just death. Why does the method matter? If it’s my body and my life, and I’m suffering more than any of you know – and I often do – I feel like it’s my choice, my option to consider. If people really loved me, they should be able to step into my shoes and realize how much suffering and pain I experience. My loss should be bittersweet, like losing someone to a painful, wasting disease. It’s no less tragic or painful because you can’t see what’s causing my pain.

I agree there’s something especially sad when you hear that someone took their life, but I really don’t know why, maybe it’s simply because we’re so hardwired for survival that it’s shocking to think of someone overriding that. But that’s what I mean about people understanding.. think about the level of pain, suffering, and hell a person has to experience to get to that point. I think those who try are brave, for they are facing something scary and unknown in order to bring themselves some peace.

downtide's avatar

I’ve come close to it on more than one occasion and the reason has always been the same: to continue living hurts more than dying. The only reason I’m still here is because I was too chicken to carry through with it.

Taciturnu's avatar

I totally agree with @Judi. Suicide is selfish, to end personal suffering. Nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t think it’s unjustified under the right circumstances. There is no reason to live through physical pain if there is no need.

Emotional pain comes and goes. Those that take their lives based on an emotional struggle do not realize the effect and change they have on the living they leave behind. Suicidal thoughts may come and go, but I don’t know anyone off the top of my head who has not been through a tough time and thought about what would happen if they weren’t around anymore.

Mental health is complex. It’s just sad to me to think of everyone who has taken their own life because they lost hope they could come out the other side.

peteylove's avatar

I can see how others might think it’s selfish. Especially when i think about my little brother and sister and how they would feel right not if I had managed to go through with it. But when i was in that moment all i could think of was how much better it would be if i was gone, of all the pain just being gone. Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Its tough and painful. There are people out there who make life almost unbearable. So I would understand if someone chose suicide and I wouldn’t be angry with them. I just wish that those people had the chance to see what there life could be like once they got through the pain.

ETpro's avatar

Well, none of us here answering this question really know, because if we did, we wouldn’t be around to give you an answer. Thinking about it in relation to my own life, the only thing I can imagine leading me to the final escape would be a diagnosis of a fatal disease that involves increasing debilitation and pain. If I knew that the suffering would eventually reach a point where palliative care could not relieve it, and that at that point I’d be too far gone to end it, then I think I’d take preemptive action to make sure I did not get to that stage.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Years back I watched a documentary about those who leap off the Golden Gate. The makers got permission to set up cameras every day for a year just to record the bridge, sometimes it was manned other times automatic. Those who family they could interview they did. Many of the family members had no ideal, they were blindsided when their family member or friend leaped to their death. There were 2 people who leaped and lived, the fall did not kill them. During their interview with the makers of the documentary they said that about 10 seconds after they let go and were falling they said the reasons why they jumped seem so small and insignificant. I don’t know if killing yourself is cowardly I could not do it, I am not brave enough to take my life. I would go as far as to say they have no gumption or backbone to not be able to face whatever problems life throws at them without thinking the only way out is death. If they thought about people who over come physical limitations they were born with and had no choice over or freak accidents or crime acted upon them and they can man up and deal with it, they have all their limbs working and a mind to go with it. Suck it up and get on with it.

ETpro's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Interesting story about the jumpers who ended up living. That’s one thing that keeps me from even considering suicide unless I know I am about to die anyway.

Let’s say I’d made some terrible financial decision that seemed sure to wipe out my fortune and leave my family in disgrace. I always imagine what if I took an overdose of sleeping pills, figuring I would just drift off painlessly. Then just as consciousness was about to fade away, my now quieted mind suddenly came up with a plan that would rescue the entire situation and leave me better off than ever before. Only now I am too incapacitated to get up and call 911 or poison control, and I just die with the answer to all my problems right there in front of me. It could happen.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Why, to some people in this thread, is physical pain so much more of a justifiable reason to commit suicide when compared to emotional pain? Are they both not real? Can they both not be just as debilitating? I believe those who think physical pain is more of a justifiable reason to take your own life have probably not experienced great emotional pain.

Who has the right to tell someone what is an isn’t an acceptable reason to take their life? It’s their life – they can do with it what they please. If suicide is such a horrible, unthinkable and selfish act, why don’t those same people come down on smokers nearly as hard? It’s okay to slowly kill yourself, but not suddenly?

In five days, my best friend will have killed himself a year ago. And you know what’s really strange about it? People told me what to experience when I went through the grief process – all of the different emotions that would butt their heads. Everyone was right – for the most part. I never experienced anger a single time. I never got angry at Tigh for killing himself. And you know why? Because if he resorted to killing himself, it means that his pain was so unfathomably horrible that he was suffering terribly. As much as I wish I could have gotten through to him, as much as his death has destroyed my mind, as much as I miss him so fucking horribly…. He’s not in pain anymore. And that’s all that matters to me. Tigh isn’t suffering. I will gladly suffer in his place, for him, simply because he doesn’t hurt anymore.

Killing yourself is not selfish – not when things are THAT bad in your life and mind. What IS selfish is assuming that someone should continue to live – regardless of the pain they are experiencing – just to keep you happy. I understand that feeling arises from love, and I know it well. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t miss Tigh so much. But I still know that it was HIS life, his choice to make – even if I hate the decision he came to.

BoBo1946's avatar

Sucide is the most selfish behavior a person can commit. The person gets off easy and friends and relatives are left to suffer.

Regardless, I will die the old fashion way, by the Will of God !

This is not a popular answer here, but this is a personal decision. This would be mine.

wundayatta's avatar

No one could say that suicide was selfish if they had ever experienced clinical depression.

Clinical depression has little or nothing to do with external circumstances. It is not a reaction to things going wrong in the world. It is a pain like no other—far worse than any physical pain you can suffer. Give me torture over depression any day. Torture might end. Depression never does. At least, that is what you know when you’re in it.

Cancer is when the body kind of turns against itself. Many serious illnesses are like that. Depression is when the mind turns against itself. Torture from the inside. When your cells go crazy, you can’t feel it until it’s too late. When your mind turns against itself, you can watch yourself destroy yourself all the way through, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Of course, there are treatments for both cancer and depression. But if you don’t get them, you are as good as dead.

BoBo1946's avatar

@wundayatta i did.. I’ve been depressed, but that does not keep me from knowing the difference between right and wrong. I would never do that to my grandchildren and family. There is more to think about in this life than myself.

bunnygrl's avatar

@DrasticDreamer <hugs tightly> I’m so sorry honey, sending you much love <hugs> xx
@wundayatta you are so right. Reading your reply made me cry because I recognised myself in it, so much is said and written about depression, actual real depression, not just having a crappy day at work etc but unless that person has been there in the midst of it, exhausted because you haven’t slept in days because of the constant noise/thoughts in your head that you can’t make stop, or the emotional pain that is so much worse than if someone was physically beating you. Unless the person speaking/writing about it has felt it, I don’t care how many letters they have after their name they don’t really understand, no matter how well meaning they are. much love <hugs> xx
@BoBo1946 There are degrees, levels of depression, and I’m so grateful that you haven’t ever felt bad enough to have considered what so many of us have, and I hope that you never experience it, but to say that you cope with depression and don’t see it as a reason for ending the pain, so no one else should, well thats just wrong, Sir, really. I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect to you, you’re a lovely person, but please don’t judge so harshly, some of us really have been properly to hell. It is a real and very painful place and leaves its mark. <hugs> xx

BoBo1946's avatar

@bunnygrl not judging… just stating my views. Also, you have no idea what I’ve gone through. Will not bore you with the details, but i’ve gone through a lot in my life. A LOT. But, i love my son and grandchildren. Would never do that to them. And salute your difference of opinion. It was said with compassion and honesty. Well said and thank you for the hugs. We all need them.

wundayatta's avatar

None of us can truly know the pain of anyone else. We’re not in their bodies or heads and we never can be. The only comparison I can make is with myself. I know that there was a time when I didn’t believe that depression could be that bad, and that if you couldn’t pull yourself out of it, you were just being self-indulgent. Of course, that changed when I found myself in a depression I could not get out of on my own.

bunnygrl's avatar

@BoBo1946 I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to sound rude, and of course I don’t know about your life, and I would never presume, I just, I’ve been properly to the edge, (and thought seriously about it so many more times over the years) and I know what took me there, why it was so attractive, but I also know what stopped me. I knew what it would do to my husband. He loves me, so much more than he should,more than I deserve, and I know i would be killing him along with me, so we agree to a point maybe?

I had (had being the word) friends who used to make jokes, both behind my back and while I was there (and they made sure I knew about all of them) because neither of them “had ever had a mental illness”. I suppose I battled to be understood for so many years, I still do. My Dr is a lovely, caring person but he so obviously doesn’t “get it” but he tries, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m maybe just overly sensitive to anything that sounds even remotely like some of the things those “friends” used to throw at me. Apologies again for that, you’re a really nice person and I know you wouldn’t do that.
hugs xx

Judi's avatar

@wundayatta, and you sought help. When my first husband died, we had great insurance. He had every opportunity to get help and he didn’t even try. He did it with his 4 year old son in the other room. Selfish.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi I got lucky. My wife got me help. I never would have done it on my own. Actually, a lot of people contributed. A therapist friend of ours who told my wife I was in grave danger. People on Askville who pointed out that I was not acting rationally. Etc.

It was interesting. My doctor had given me a scrip for a shrink months before, but he said, “in case you want to go.” He did not indicate any urgency. So I didn’t go. I thought he thought I wasn’t in trouble, although I already was.

Judi's avatar

I remember. You scared me a bit on askville. I’m glad to see a more rational you. My first husband refused help. He would rather be dead and abandon his children than let meds stifle his creativity.

BoBo1946's avatar

@bunnygrl oh, quite the contrary…thought you were very cordial and compassionate. If only everyone here was like you. Hugs!!!

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi People here were very helpful in my recovery. I went through several setbacks. But each time I learned more of my triggers and the signs of problems. I think I’m actually learning to regulate myself—keep myself from swinging too far one way or another. Although it’s odd. Fluther, itself, is a trigger, but it’s also a source of comfort and support. Why can’t anything just be straightforward? j/k

BoBo1946's avatar

@wundayatta I salute you for your recovery! My comments were just my feelings about the subject. Nothing directed at anyone else.

bunnygrl's avatar

<throws hugs for @BoBo1946> thank you so much, what a lovely thing to say <hugs> xx

Taciturnu's avatar

@wundayatta I have to disagree with your statement, that “No one could say that suicide was selfish if they had ever experienced clinical depression.” Considering I attempted suicide at a dark moment in my past, I can say my perspective has simply changed. I know my attempt was selfish, to end my own suffering, regardless of whose suffering I may be adding to.

I realize that as @DrasticDreamer said, emotional pain is as real as (and sometimes more painful than) physical pain… But it comes and goes over the course of a lifetime. If someone just came out of surgery and said they can’t take it, they want to end their life because of the pain resulting from it, we would think it was ridiculous.

wundayatta's avatar

@Taciturnu Why is it selfish to want to end your pain?

And clearly, physical pain doesn’t hold a candle to mental pain. Physical pain offers the hope it can end, because that is our experience. Mental pain doesn’t seem like it will ever end when it gets that deep. They are different things, and not comparable.

But I really don’t understand your attitude. Is it selfish of loved ones to ask that a depressed person suffer from pain just so they don’t have to deal with a loss? By your reasoning, it isn’t. This seems like a double standard to me.

Besides which, every action is selfish. If you stay alive for your loved ones is just as selfish as killing yourself. You do it for yourself, ultimately. So saying something is selfish doesn’t really distinguish it from anything else. But clearly you seem to place the other people’s desires above the individual’s desires. Why is that?

Taciturnu's avatar

@wundayatta
According to Webster:
Selfish: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

I don’t agree that emotional pain is always more severe than physical pain. (I do know emotional pain well.) Physical pain does not always end. I’ve done end-of-life work. The pain some people endure grows every day. If you are stricken with a disease that will only cause increasing pain and anxiety with each passing day, you certainly do not have hope of improvement.

That being said, I don’t fear death or loss. I don’t ask people to live for my sake, if that’s what you’re implying, nor do I live my life for other people. (I actually think living for others would be considered SELFLESS, no?)

It’s true some people battle depression for great lengths of time. Like I said in my original post, mental health is very complex. When you go for mental health treatment, you’re essentially a “guinea pig” and can end up trying many options before finding one that suits you well. I absolutely believe everyone suffering from depression should try to improve their mental health until they do find that something that works for them. That’s not really selfish of me to ask, either- The person can enjoy life as much as I now do (free and clear of medications).

It’s not about putting other people’s desires above your own. It’s really just about recognizing the value in a life, and realizing that everyone has something to offer.

Recognizing value in life isn’t religious either. If you ask the average atheist, they will tell you they are a humanist.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s an interesting discussion, @Taciturnu. I’m not sure how your definition helps us, because we still have to apply it, and many people who want to kill themselves believe they are doing everyone else a favor. I did. And it was true; it’s just that other people didn’t believe that. Fortunately, it’s no longer true, although it could get that way very quickly, if I gave it a chance. It is a horrible, horrible thing to believe that. No, to know it.

In any case, I was looking at it the other way around. If my family wants me around, that is selfish on their part. For whatever reason, they think they need me around. Sometimes I’m not sure why. At other times I can’t articulate it without feeling stuck-up.

For me, it’s another example of holding two contradictory ideas at once. I know, intellectually, that life is a great gift, and it’s the only true gift. If we choose to throw that gift away, that’s it. No do-overs. At the same time, when it’s that bad, is life really worth it? If it’s going to feel like that for the rest of the time it exists?

To say you’ll hold onto it because others will be hurt… I don’t know. If you’re going to be useless and a burden on others and they are going to express that you are a burden and how lucky you are that they care… what’s the point? People want you to be alive, yes, and would be hurt if you died, yes, but they don’t really want to have to take care of you like you’re in dementia for the rest of your life. I’ve seen people go through this for their parents. It is a harrowing experience, filled with the need for horrible decisions and nothing but demands for care—and no reward, either. My parents say they would hate to be a burden on us. Many parents say the same thing. A child is going to care for their parent no matter what the parent says. We know our parent are never going to get better. Are we torturing them?

Are people who want the depressed to stay alive torturing them?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@wundayatta – I completely agree. Why is it the wishes of others are more important than our own wishes? Is it not selfish of other people to want me to stick around when I’m suffering, miserable, in pain? Why is it assumed that someone wanting to die hasn’t thought it through and/or been logical about it? I’d say my approach is very logical.. for example, clear-headed or not, I’d make the same decision. I’m not depressed or suicidal in this moment and, if given the choice, I would opt to get off this ride. I wish there were some easy switch to flip. I don’t want to do it anymore and I hate it. I never asked for any of this and it’s really just too much. I’m not cut out for the kind of life that is expected of me, nor do I have the right kind of family to make the ride worthwhile and/or easier for me. Quite the opposite.

Anyway, if I’m miserable, how is it not selfish of others to expect me to continue being miserable because they don’t want to feel a loss? I find it just as selfish as keeping someone on life support simply because you can’t bear to let them go.

“You” = general ‘you’

Taciturnu's avatar

@wundayatta The definition was in response to “Why is it selfish to want to end your pain?” The answer is “It is selfish because it is done so concentrating on one’s own advantage without regard for others.”

(Sorry, I didn’t understand your context regarding living for others.)

Again, I think people in continuously declining physical health are a different case. No, we aren’t torturing our parents, particularly because there are ways of preventing them from “burdening” us.

Are people who want the depressed to stay alive torturing them?

Again, I don’t fear death for myself or others, but I think people suffering mentally need to make it a point to try to get out of that rut. If someone takes their life while trying to “get better,” it’s sad and selfish. (To bring this full circle, since that was the basis of this conversation.) :) Someone who never tried is selfish and wasteful. In my opinion.

I know what it’s like to think nothing’s going to get better, as you clearly do as well. Knowing that, why wouldn’t we want to leave a footprint to hopefully prevent that suffering in someone else today, or future generations down the road?

@MissAnthrope I am a firm believer that your life is what you make it. If you think you aren’t cut out for the one laid for you, lay yourself some new tracks. If your family doesn’t support you, create a family that will. Easier said than done, I know… But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you read my last message to @wundayatta, you’ll also see that I don’t expect people to “continue being miserable so others don’t need to feel a loss.”

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Taciturnu “But it comes and goes over the course of a lifetime. If someone just came out of surgery and said they can’t take it, they want to end their life because of the pain resulting from it, we would think it was ridiculous.”

Yes, in that circumstance, we would think it was ridiculous. But the person in that situation knows that the physical pain will end. It’s not something they’re left wondering about, there simply will be an end to it, and so they wait and deal with it.

Emotional pain, on the other hand, does not have as much of an obvious end. It’s harder to see the light when you’re clinically depressed. Your responses indicate to me that you have never truly been severely depressed. When things get that bad, people aren’t themselves anymore. Depression literally takes over your mind, your perspective switches, and many people don’t know how to get help – and won’t – especially because people like you tell them, “Get over it, you’re being selfish”, or “All you need is to think positively and look toward the future”, or something similarly stupid. Only people who don’t understand the true scope of clinical depression would venture to say those things. Clinically depressed people are not capable of simply getting over something, or looking to the future. It alters your mind.

You think you know, but you really have no idea. Tigh was pretty much as far away from “selfish” as is possible. He would, and literally did, offer the clothes from his back when people were in need. If he made a promise, he kept it. Never once did Tigh break any promises to me, and he made plenty of them. The only promise he broke was when he committed suicide. It was NOT selfish, because I know that Tigh was not himself in that moment. I know how badly the depression had sunk its claws into his mind, and I know- you do not, because you did not know Tigh – that he would never purposely disregard the feelings of those he loved. You can call it “selfish” all you want, if that’s how you choose to see things. But your world is a little too black and white for my taste – especially because you’re calling thousands upon thousands of people selfish, whom you have never even met.

Good day to you.

peinrikudo6's avatar

Suicidal ideation is very hard to explain to people whose understanding of depression only amounts to someone being sad momentarily. Many times I have heard people say they are “depressed” when they have a bad day. It seems that depression today has become just a loose term for a lousy day, and that would not be fair, because to underestimate depression’s full effect on an individual can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Depression has the power to decay the mind, destroy all rational thought, and end lives. Mental and physical pain are completely different.

You break a foot. You see a doctor. You get a cast, perhaps a boot, and painkillers. Problem solved.

You have a mental illness and nothing seems to have any point. It’s almost impossible to see anything beyond the dark cloud hovering over you. We must never underestimate the depressed mind’s proclivity for self-destruction. It’s unfair to say that suicide is selfish, but saying that it is entirely justifiable would also be unfair because the suicidal will never reach or even know their full potential in life.

I am also very sorry to all of you here who have lost someone to suicide. I cannot begin to imagine how hard it is to deal with that, and while I may have lost many people in my life, suicide is an entirely different kind of death and I hope that you all get through it.

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itsme2012's avatar

All this ‘selfish’ nonsense. Listen, we are all selfish, and it’s suppose to be this way. Don’t we all want to be happy, healthy? it’s normal, we were born this way. The more selfish we are the more caring we are. And yes this might sounds strange, because it’s in contrary with the common believe system. But being selfish is part of being human. The problem comes in when our identities (ego’s) are being altered and taken away by parents and society, and we start feeling insecure, and even hate towards ourselves and others. People who commit suicide are obviously not happy and believe me, much worse than that. So they try to achieve the goal of “happiness’ by ending the misery.

ETpro's avatar

@itsme2012 First, welcome to Fluther. I hope you enjoy the discussions here.

You make some cogent points, but I think you need to look up the word “selfish” and let its full meaning soak in. There is a great chasm between healthy self interest and run-away selfishness. But I thins what you posited about why people, seeking happiness, choose to end it all is accurate to a tee.

itsme2012's avatar

Hi, I don’t grasp every single word because English isn’t my native language. Speaking for myself, ever since I became ill (caused by an MD) my life has never been the same anymore. Because I am in physical pain, I am not as caring and patient with people. I had goals dreams, not just career wise, but socially, like helping people in need. All down the drain. Despite what religion wants me to believe that ‘people who physically suffer gain spiritually’, I experience the opposite. Only people who are happy and feel good in themselves are able to care, share, enjoy, and giving. It’s just what we are. That’s what I was referring to when I mention the word ‘selfish’. There is a difference between being neurotic selfish, and simply feeling good in yourself, which means..standing up for yourself (being selfish) A healthy selfish person will stand up for him or herself and other people by the way.

itsme2012's avatar

One more thing I want to add to this. I sometimes hear spiritual people telling me that “physical suffering may lead to spiritual growth” I haven’t seen it, but if anyone can explain me that part, I am all ears.

hereanotherday's avatar

I’ve been amazed at some of the over the top judgemental posts that I’ve encountered in the forums on the subject of suicide. I suppose it makes sense that they would attract their fair share of both desperate people and then those standing in judgement, pounding their chests, yelling how weak one obviously is for seeking out websites for “suicide advice”.

I don’t consider myself weak. I am however, very tired. After dealing with chronic staph infections, I am a wheelchair bound amputee with Multiple Sclerosis (those two don’t make great buddies for prosthetics), my pain is so severe that it doesn’t even stop when I do sleep for my occasional two hours here and there. Never. Get it? It doesn’t matter what medication they’ve tried, what nerves have burned, what pumps have been implanted, what stimulators have been embedded.. nothing. Am I depressed? You da*n right I’m depressed. Why wouldn’t I be? I’m 49 years old and think about living in this amount of nonstop pain for the remainder of my life, however long that is. I don’t live day by day. I have to concentrate on living minute by minute. And now, I’ve been in my wheelchair for so long that my spine is collapsing downward so constant back pain has been thrown into this giant abyss for the last three years.

Myself and my family have watched this progress for the last 17 years. This is why some of us find ourselves on forums seeking what some of you judgmental, even cruel people joke about. Call me a coward for trying to find the most painless way to end my life. BIg effin’ deal. I’ve about dealt with all the pain I can handle. God, even my mother told me obviously no… I don’t want that for you but I would understand why.

If your only goal coming to forums like this is to pound your chest in being better than someone or to make jokes, then go be an idiot on Facebook or something. Chances are, there are some really serious issues here.

augustlan's avatar

I’m so sorry you’re suffering, @hereanotherday. I hope you can find some relief.

ETpro's avatar

@hereanotherday I join @augustlan in the hope you find some relief. If I had faced what you have already been through, I don’t know that I’d be here to express that hope. But for as long as you can bear it, where there is life there is hope. Medical science is advancing rapidly now. With stem cell research beginning to pay off, and the mapping of the human genome leading to new understandings of genetically based disorders, the day may come, and sooner than you think, when your suffering can really be relieved. I believe that palliative care using drugs will soon be a thing of the past, and not missed. We’re coming to a day when we can design virus-like little strips of RNA that can actually combine with cells and recode a patient’s DNA to obliterate a genetically based disorder. I sincerely hope the breakthrough you need comes in time for you.

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