Sow Together’s Shocking Suicide Statement

Last night I came across a blog posting that I suppose the author meant to be helpful to people feeling suicidal, and the families and friends who support them. Shockingly, the writer started with this statement

“Suicide is the ultimate act in selfishness.”

How the !@#$ is that supportive? Farther down in the post she writes, “My intent is not to rip on people who have these thoughts but to explain their thought process and how loved one’s can help.” Ripping on people who have these thoughts is exactly what she did with the opening statement, and it shows that she doesn’t understand the thought process of anyone who might feel suicidal. The post contained quotes from WebMD about mental illness and some basic psychological self-assessment tools about suicide. This information barely touches the surface of what someone who attempts suicide might feel or think.

I can’t remember the last time something I read made me this angry and feel the need to respond. I kept thinking about the opening statement as I continued to read the post. How can someone make such a harsh, judgemental statement and expect anyone who feels or has ever felt suicidal to keep reading. How could the writer expect someone who feels buried by the weight of depression and hopelessness, to see that shocking statement and feel comfortable reading further? To read on to learn what the writer considers helpful ideas about how to communicate with friends and family, when it feels like nothing but death can end the pain. How can the writer expect, someone like myself, who attempted suicide multiple times because I’m a survivor of horrendous, unspeakable things, to connect with anything she shares after that opening line.

The sad thing is that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard or read a statement like this. I’ve had the misfortune of sitting at a dinner table with people who openly stated that anyone who attempted or was successful at committing suicide is a weak coward. I felt myself shrink as the conversation continued around me. These people weren’t aware that I had attempted suicide. After hearing their callous, unfeeling, self-righteous statements about someone else’s suffering, I would never tell them about the pain I experienced that led me to believe that death was the only thing that could end my pain.

The people who make these statements don’t understand how hard it is to find resources; whether it is good doctors or therapists, or the right combination of medications to help someone who feels this kind of pain to cope. They don’t understand how deeply, someone living with depression, can feel shame because he or she believes they should be mentally stronger and tougher, and “snap out of it” because that’s the message sent by the society we live in. The people who make these statements don’t understand how hard it is to live day in and day out feeling detached from the world. Feeling like nothing you do can close the divide of the separation you feel from everyone in your life.

People who make these statements don’t understand hopelessness. They don’t understand someone feeling that he or she has tried everything in their power to get well, even when what they suffer from – bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health and chronic physical illnesses – has no cure and might only be manageable, at best. They don’t understand someone who has tried to “get over” whatever it is that hurt them. The thing that continues to split a person open over and over again because it has become part of their DNA. The people who make these statements don’t understand what it’s like to live feeling physical and/or psychological pain, shame, and self-blame for something you couldn’t stop from happening to you and now can’t control. They don’t understand how exhausting it is to live in a continuous state of hypervigilance because a disease or someone took away your sense of safety and well-being.

The writer who wrote, “Suicide is the ultimate act in selfishness,” needs to educate herself about why people attempt suicide rather than spouting off basic one-fits-all psychological information that she read on websites about how to prevent it.

 

Leona Lewis – Fireflies

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4 thoughts on “Sow Together’s Shocking Suicide Statement

  1. Those who believe that suicide is selfish are only thinking about the people left behind, not about the person who is suffering. We are all selfish because we’re human beings, but to equate suicide with selfishness is… the height of selfishness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the author of afore mention article. First, I want to thank you for your comment. The opening line is meant to grab attention, arguably, perhaps in bad taste. Secondly, I want to mention that you assume that the article was written for a “suicidal audience” and it wasn’t. The audience is the loved ones, that do NOT understand the mentality or emotional sate of a suicidal person. If you could step outside of yourself and YOUR own perception you would better be able to see the lack of understand and frustration that your friends, family, ecetera have to deal with when interacting with you. My website is focused on relationships. The people who are in “relationship” with a depressed, bipolar or suicidal person are the ones who are meant to gain wisdom and better be able to reach out to people like you and me when we are in a not so good place. Last but not least, yes I said people like me. I have had suicial thoughts in the past and I surely did wish that someone close to me would have been understanding so that I was not in it alone and wholly consumed by my own self-centered thoughts. Again, thanks for the comments.

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    • I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post and clarifying the position from which you wrote it. Thanks for recognizing that your opening statement is in “bad taste.” If you were looking to grab attention, whether the attention you sought was from the side of a “suicidal audience” or “the loved ones, that do NOT understand the mentality or emotional sate of a suicidal person”, you did. You set a tone that would either make a suicidal person feel more pain than what existed before reading your post; or confirm for the person/loved ones looking in from the outside that the suicidal person had control of their thoughts, feelings, and actions, but chose instead to end their life rather than seeking help to get cured.
      I’m sorry that you are someone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts, but that being the case, I find your article even more confusing. Did you say suicidal people are selfish because that is how someone made you feel? If so, I’m sorry for your pain. However, I feel that you making that statement publicly to others, is harmful.
      Furthermore, I found this statement in your comment condescending, “If you could step outside of yourself and YOUR own perception you would better be able to see the lack of understand and frustration that your friends, family, ecetera have to deal with when interacting with you” because it shows a greater lack of understanding about relationships with suicidal people.” Never before have I received or sent the message that another person or I feeling suicidal is selfish. Never during my own therapy sessions, or while listening to a suicidal friend or loved one suffering from the pain of any of the illnesses I listed or other painful situations, was I told that I was selfish nor did I tell them they were selfish. Never while being listened to by someone who cares about me, or while talking to a counselor on a suicide helpline, or WHILE I STUDIED TO BE A COUNSELOR, did the message that feeling suicidal or attempting suicide is selfish surface in the discussion(s).
      I wish you well in your search for answers about why people who suffer choose to commit suicide.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The answer to your question is yes and I certainly never meant to further injure anyone. I have no doubt that you are a insightful and compassionate counselor. For me writing is therapeutic and hopefully, helpful. It is clear that I did not achieve that goal and I will prayerfully consider how to rewrite the beginning. Blessings.

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