General Question

ducky_dnl's avatar

Why do people look down on people who have thought or think about suicide?

Asked by ducky_dnl (5378points) July 23rd, 2010

I have been diagnosed as depressed, bi-polar, etc. I think about death and ways to die all of the time. I have tried suicide hotlines, but I am never going to call one ever again. The woman I talked to was rude and I felt like killing myself even more while I was talking to her. Sometimes I wonder if suicide in my religion (christianity) is as bad as people make it seem. They make it seem like I’m going to burn in hell if I do it. I mean if God is understanding..then he would understand why I did it, right? I just wonder why people make you feel like such a horrible person if you talk about it. Is it because no one wants to hear it or what? I’m confused.

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61 Answers

anartist's avatar

They may be afraid that it is contagious.

Sharrona's avatar

I have never encountered people looking down on people who may be suicidal. Perhaps it’s more of a feeling of not knowing how to help.

anartist's avatar

Ducky are you Catholic? For Catholics suicide is the ultimate failure of faith. Despair I believe may also be a lesser level of same sin.

chels's avatar

Because they don’t understand it, or they think it’s a cop-out.

People don’t like what they can’t understand.

ducky_dnl's avatar

@anartist My family is Episcopalian. I really relate with Catholics though.

BhacSsylan's avatar

The general stace of roman catholicism towards suicide (can’t speak to other forms of Christianity, but it’s probably similar), is that it is wrong because you do not have the right to end your own life. Your life (and everyone else’s) belongs to god. So, in that same way that murder is morally wrong, suicide is morally wrong. I have also never heard it as “the ultimate failure of faith”, and have been in the church for many years, could you expand on that, @anartist? Not that it’s great, of course, but it’s not the ultimate failure, as far as i know.

Now, I, being an ex-catholic of a very different persuasion now, believe the total opposite. It is your life, and you have the right to do whatever you would wish with it. People have the right to try and talk you out of it, and maybe force you out of it for a time if they believe there’s some temporary influence (like some bad drug side-effects), but not to indefinitely stop it if you’re in sound mind otherwise. And certainty not to look down on it.

And, as an interesting side note, suicide used to be considered honorable, at least for the greeks, in Antigone, the main character commits suicide as an act of heroism, and there’s other examples. How things do change.

Vunessuh's avatar

Some people think suicide is a sign of weakness and selfishness.
They’re quick to judge and disregard any other reason why you might feel this way, in order to not put any more effort or time into helping you. I think some people think it’s effective to tell you you’re weak and selfish in hopes of encouraging you to stay here and work on your problems. The woman you spoke to on the phone most likely had no business working for a suicide hotline. Some people have no understanding that you can be depressed and/or suicidal for many, many reasons. They don’t have the patience to listen to the reasons – they just automatically focus on the fact that if you can’t deal with your problems, you’re weak.

The bottom line is, suicide is very serious and should always be taken that way. With that said, even if you actually are weak and/or selfish, it’s no reason to not help someone or put in less effort. The reason why you’re suicidal or what it makes you as a person, never matters. How you get through it, does.

AmWiser's avatar

People are still in the dark when it comes to understanding suicide. You seem to really want some help. So please try to find another help line or counsellor you feel comfortable with. Also, if you are taking medication for bi-polar condition, your meds may need to be adjusted.

Berserker's avatar

I think some people act this way towards suicide and those contemplating it or acting on it because the notion of suicide threatens what they’ve come to know as guidance and security.
Whatever the reason, they might not want to know what, in their so far perfect world, could be so close to home, even if they don’t even know the person. I think that might explain why the subject is so easily dismissed by some.

But there might be different cases. Maybe someone who had a loved one commit suicide hasn’t been able to deal with it and doesn’t want to think about it anymore, and this may explain how they act. While it seems vile, there’s always two sides to a coin, and one cannot figure that they’re the only person ever to be lost at sea. It’s a damn big place.
Or again, maybe religious lunacy rears its ugly head. I don’t think much needs be explained there, other than that help and assistance aren’t required, but if you’re not gonna do anything positive, then don’t interfere with damnation.

jazmina88's avatar

be strong ducky…..things will get better. You were born to do something good.

Jabe73's avatar

I honestly believe most people have thought about suicide at one point or another in their lifetimes but many don’t openly talk about it or admit it. Personally I have never seen people look down on anyone for “thinking” about suicide, rather I have seen more of a feeling of concern than anything. I don’t know what else to say here.

chyna's avatar

I’m sorry the woman was of no help to you. All people who work the hotlines are not like her. Please try to call again. I do not look down on people who talk about suicide. I had a boyfriend who did, so I know what it’s like to be the person who is left behind. It shaped the rest of my life, and not in a good way. I personally believe that God does know your heart and knows that someone with a mental illness that commits suicide will not go to hell because they cannot help themselves.

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plethora's avatar

Most, if not all, of us have entertained thoughts of suicide. I certainly have. Even to the point of ordering and reading a book on it. Note Amazon has a number of them.

The most powerful idea I got out of it is that if you try to take your life and fail, you will be taken into custody and the state (every state) will confine you for evaluation, and you will spend far more time in confinement than you ever imagined. At least while you are living and have not attempted suicide, you have your freedom.

And then there are the multitudes of cases where someone has tried to end thier life and failed,but succeeded in dramatically destroying their mental capacity by blowing their brains out but failing to kill themselves.

All sobering thoughts.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I look at suicide as an avoidable tragedy. I don’t blame those who think about suicide but I know that such impulses are the result of chemical imbalances and the failure of that person’s support system to provide for their needs. If you want to talk to me about these things, you can.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because some of us understand, that suicide is based upon the feelings of shame, fear or hopelessness. And all feelings, even love, change.

Another reason is that suicide is generally based around circumstances of the immediate moment. They may have built for a long time, and the planning may have occurred over a long time, but in contrast to the length of ones available life, it is indeed a short time. Little does the sufferer know that there is an entire universe of other possibilities that are awaiting them to discover. Yet the sufferer refuses to see that, and confines the entire world to be only that which exists for them at the moment. Too bad, for if the sufferer would simply lift their chin, and open their eyes, they may discover that their immediate suffering was but only a very small portion of what the world of life is in reality and in its totality. Alas, the sufferer only allows the world to be as small as they make it. Admittedly, this is a bit insulting to their fellow humans, for sufferer has insisted that all things, and every living creature, must fit into a rather small package. Open the package, and know the possibilities are much larger than you give them credit for.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

And BTW… in reference to the OP… I do not look down upon anyone for anything. But I will encourage you to look up.

zophu's avatar

Suicide almost always implies either weakness in the individual, and/or weakness in the community that individual is a part of. It generally makes sense for people to look down upon suicidal tendencies in a person. If most people understood and accepted that culture causes many people to justifiably become suicidal, that culture wouldn’t cause so many people to justifiably become suicidal. So, most people wont understand and accept it, they’ll usually just pity you with a frown at best. Laugh your existence off, or condemn you to Hell at worst.

People often don’t understand the hells that suicidal people are in. They see that they’re often only in the person’s mind, and so must not be real. They can be dispelled with a simple change in perspective, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Where a shortsighted suicidal person needs an understanding long-sighted person, they meet only busy medium-sighted people who believe they don’t have the energy to help them.

All it takes most of the time, is a persistent change in perspective, though. Work on that. Don’t try to trick yourself with cheap illusions; find genuinely different ways of looking at things. There are always several correct ways to view things, learn how to consistently choose views that don’t fuck with your head so much.

Edit: Also, there are ways for you to get probably-competent help. If you ever get truly overwhelmed, call an emergency number, not a suicide hotline. It’s not a huge commitment, people will help you out and life moves on. Just call if you need them. That’s what they’re there for.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“They make it seem like I’m going to burn in hell if I do it.”

That’s ridiculous. These Christian teachers are so misleading and ignorant of the actual teachings from the Bible. I’m sorry you must suffer through their arrogance. Just ridiculous.

What they fail to acknowledge, is that their Christ was not speaking of physical death or a physical hell. Christ spoke of spiritual death and how to find spiritual life. The hell that burns is the hell that is upon you at this moment. Your spirit is suffering. Your spirit seeks life. Suicide will not bring you spiritual life. It only offers physical death.

As the story is told about Heaven and Hell,

The Warrior approached the Monk, asking him:
“Great Master. Will you teach me the ways of Heaven and Hell?”

The Monk looked up and smiled:
“A worthless dog such as yourself could never comprehend such concepts”.

The Warrior was enraged with the insult, and drawing his sword to the Monks neck:
“Prepare to die Monk! For your insults will not be tolerated!”

The Monk looked at him and smiled:
“Now you are in Hell”.

The Warrior, realizing his mistake, fell to his knees:
“Forgive me Master, for I have sinned against you”.

The Monk looked at him and smiled:
“Now you are in Heaven”.

Forgive yourself @ducky_dnl. Forgive yourself. Achieve Spiritual Life. Know Heaven.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@zophu “People often don’t understand the hells that suicidal people are in.”

Excellent @zophu

Flowergurl's avatar

I’ve had two friends in my life commit suicide. One friend did it when he was only 18, and my other friend who was 47 did it last year. The sad part of it was that both of these guys were friends with each other. I cannot tell you the unbelievable deep and ever-lasting pain that the loss of these two lives have caused to all of their families and friends. It was so very hard for everyone having to relive this nightmare again last year.

Please do not give up on yourself yet. Search high and low until you find someone, whether it is a counselor or physician, that will help you through this time. You were put on this earth for a good reason, so please find some help, grow through this experience, and find what your purpose is for being here on earth. Hugs to you!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Symbeline GA.

It’s very difficult for people to understand depression unless they’ve lived through it. Very few can simply “snap out of it”; most require medication and a frustrating period of finding the right meds and the right dosage. Fear of the unknown and religious superstition play a role is how people with suicidal thoughts are regarded.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I’m only alive because a number of great people gave a shit.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Flowergurl so true… it comes in waves and could cause others to pursue the same path.

An uncle of a friend hung himself in his sisters basement with an electrical chord. One week later, his son did the same, with the exact same chord. One week later, the sister attempted but failed as she was rushed to the hospital and saved in time.

It can make everyone involved go bonkers.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Last time I looked around the cosmos, life seemed fairly rare and special. Unless that’s changed, I’ll continue to treat the rare and special with great care.

lynfromnm's avatar

Others may act standoffish because they fear getting close to you and then losing you.

Luffle's avatar

This might seem completely selfish but I’d find it hard to be around someone suicidal when I also feel troubled from time to time. Being around someone with similar problems can be either positive or negative. If it’s positive you can support each other through hard times because you have someone to relate to. For me, it’s been a negative experience. Although I can sympathize with their pain, being around another suicidal person increases
my thoughts of suicide. I’m not sure if this is the case for anyone else.

eden2eve's avatar

I’m a Christian and I don’t believe that anyone burns in Hell. I agree with @RealEyes, that what you are feeling now is the only hell you will ever know. I am sure that you are right about a compassionate Father who understands us and what has caused our grief, and only wants us to know how much He loves us. Your hell can and will end, if you don’t give up.

Having experienced this in my own family, I think that the saddest part of suicide is that if the person has a chance to heal from the wounds that cause such thoughts, there may be many wonderful experiences still in the future. The other great tradgedy is the feelings of those who would have gladly done what they could to help. Every day of the rest of their lives they may suffer from regret and from the loss of someone very important to them. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

There is usually no chance to change our mind when we make such a choice. I hope you will give an opportunity to one of those who care, to help you find the way out of your sadness, and give yourself a chance to have those much happier experiences you will most surely enjoy when you have conquered this very great trial. Please trust yourself, and someone who can be strong with you while you need a little extra support.

Afos22's avatar

I think people might look down on these for mentioned individuals bc they don’t understand. It goes against a human’s basic instinct to survive. On a second note, I feel that it it is pretty selfish to commit suicide and throw away your life, when others lives are about just getting by. Many people are much worse off than anyone who is on fluther.

Heroworks's avatar

I agree with what everyone is saying ducky, I think they believe that suicide in general is the coward’s way out. That being said I don’t believe this is true. I have a friend going through a ordeal not so different from yours and he feels the same way about getting help. The help people tend to offer seems to often bring him down further into his depression by making him feel worthless. I can only offer my support and try to talk about why he feels this way. I think that you are making a great step in figuring out your problem by asking the great people on fluther =). Stay strong my friend, there really is a light at the end of that tunnel!

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sussey1989's avatar

Life is beautiful,and we should cherish it to enjoy every wonderful moment.

Afos22's avatar

@Heroworks how can you agree with everyone, yet not belive what they are saying is true?

Andreas's avatar

@zophu “There are always several correct ways to view things, learn how to consistently choose views that don’t fuck with your head so much.” That’s part of the problem. The suicidal person can’t see other alternaitives. As others have said, it’s the here and now that matters. What’s important is for people to genuinely care and listen without judgment. And that’s the tricky bit. To understand a depressed state, a suicidal state of mind, requires first-hand knowledge. Later when the suicidal person is through that period, then they will see other options and choices. But not at that moment. It’s a horrible situation to be in.

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Me too. My second wife is one.

@ducky_dnl As was told to me once: Don’t let this temporary situation get to you. IT WILL PASS, even though it SEEMS it won’t. Hang in there and think of those who truly love you. I think most of our fellow Flutherites would agree with me that you ARE important.

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ruthy123's avatar

I know how you feel, i’ve been there. I wonder why people do though. Like when people make fun of depressed people, I get so mad, because they have no idea how painful it is. Some people are just plain mean, but they’re are nice people too. Please don’t kill yourself, believe me I have wanted to, and tried to attempt a few times. I know it’s hard, but hang in there

daytonamisticrip's avatar

i dont know ducky. i dont know

buster's avatar

Some people think you are just weak minded and are taking the easy way out or you are just seeking attention by attempting suicide or having suicidal thoughts. I don’t think that way. I self medicated for years and have thought about suicide at least once a day since I was 10 years old way before my drug addiction. I overdosed 4 years ago on phenobarbital and woke up days later in the I.C.U. then stayed in psych wards on and off for two years after that. Before the hospitalization I had never heard of Bi-Polar disorder which I have. Since then I take psych meds, have quit some drugs and am trying to manage my other addcitions. I also see a therapist. Im a lot happier nowadays but the suicidal thoughts still sneak up especially when I am stresssed or worried. Winter is worse too. The thing that helps my mood more than therapist and meds though has been running which I started doing 4 months ago. I know exactly how you feel. Don’t be ashamed some people are just ignorant and don’t understand because there brain chemicals are in the right concentrations.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@ducky_dnl To give you a more focussed answer:
The person you talked to seems to be unsuited to her role (maybe she was just having a bad day). The Christian/Muslim concept of “hell” is a control mechanism (negative feedback) invented by religious leaders. The Dante-like descriptions of the “punishment place” are accretions. If you look at the first three books of the NT, the core of Christian belief, there are no references to “hell”, only to “death” (a non-existence).

I have no experience of bipolar, only depression. The insidious thing about depression is that it makes us perceive our thought processes to be rational and logical, but the processes are actually distorted. We are hyper-critical of ourselves and project those feelings onto the world around us (sorry for over-intellectualizing). We judge ourselves more harshly than any other.

It’s very important to find an expert you can trust; or if you are not capable of trust, at least acknowledge their credentials and follow orders. If you find comfort in religion, good for you; but remember that the depression is due to a chemical imbalance in your brain, not “demons” or whatever.

As to those who would “look down on” or pass judgement on those of us who have had suicidal thoughts; their ignorance makes them unworthy to be heeded. F**k ‘em.

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Andreas's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Such a lucid portrayal of our common experience, and then the sting in the tail: A clear denouncement in terms that (hopefully!) they will understand. Well said! I applaud you.

PS I don’t think I’ll be the only one to think this, even if no-one else comments.

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zzc's avatar

I too, have been disturbed, by the attitude, that a suicidal person is weak or a coward. One big problem is, just when, as people have urged, YOU NEED TO SEEK GOOD HELP, a depressed person is the least able to advocate for themselves.

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Let’s get back to the topic at hand, please.

Andreas's avatar

A general comment to the MODS.

Going by the number of “Response moderated” ‘s there are on this thread simply illustrates how much mental illness is still misunderstood in these modern times.

It’s true life can be fantastic, enjoyable, etc, BUT: When a person is so depressed that EVERYTHING SEEMS so hopeless and black that suicide is the only way out, THEN that person deserves and needs support from us. They’re in a horrible place, and once they have finally gotten passed this period in their life, then even they will see how off-balance they were.

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copl53's avatar

I think in general people want to help but don’t know how and they get scared.

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