You may have seen this status post floating around Facebook for the past year. When I was battling my own clinical depression at 16, I was very close to that edge. Don’t get me wrong, this is a well-meaning Public Service Announcement-type message. Very well-meaning. The main premise (supporting those with mental illnesses) is not a bad thing. However, if we look a little closer at the reasoning behind their interpretation of depression, it’s quite flimsy.
To say that the person cares about those they are leaving behind, well, no. Quite frankly, the suffering ‘victim’ of suicidal depression may believe that those around them would be better off without them, but in my experience, the only person I was truly thinking about in the throws of deep suicidal mentality was myself. Me. Only ever me. My pain, my suffering, how killing myself would be the answer to all of that. Did you catch that? Suicide is a mirage of a reprieve from the numbness of depression. It’s only a belief, or strong feeling, to the person suffering and contemplating their elimination of their existence. It is not truth.
While I agree that mental illness is a serious disease that needs to stop being swept under the rug – this reasoning that strives for the reader to understand and agree with the idea that we should show compassion because the victim is really not being selfish while contemplating suicide, is subtly infiltrating the current mainstream culture. Our society, if you will recall, is now entertaining the acceptability of suicide. Oh, it’s subtle, yes, but remember Brittany Maynard, who was called “brave” and “heroic” for taking her own life last year? This is the warped mentality we are ever so slightly succumbing to.
Why is suicidal-thinking selfish, you may ask? The pride one must possess to believe they need to end their life is a self-rooted motive. To want to end your life isn’t just a skewed mental state, it is a lie that our feeing is true in this state and so we, as outsiders looking on, suppose the mentally ill are not able to help themselves.
Yes, mental illness is a serious issue that is not addressed enough or properly approached in our world. However, claiming the sufferer has not been selfish in wanting to wallow in feelings that others would be better off, or feelings that they should die, in no way makes one unselfish. On the contrary, one is most selfish concluding that life is not worth their existence, that they are their own god, and should be pitied for their uncontrollable diagnosis.
We are breeding the assumption that we can validate one’s desire to kill themselves with the assumption that she isn’t selfish by wanting to die.
I must disagree. It is pride that blinds a person into believing the lie that death is an acceptable desire to solve their pain and change their circumstances. Our answer must first address the root of the issue — that is — sin. Yes, it’s quite unpopular to say, but we must call it for what it is, otherwise we are running our ship of society into a mainstream of thought that suicide is acceptable.
The lie is small, but we must reevaluate the underlying logic to realize the truth. Suicide is selfish, and it can be helped.
For more resources on helping someone with suicidal thoughts, see my resources page.