Please Stop Calling Suicide Victims “Selfish” or “Weak”

Soon after news broke about the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, amid the flood of condolences and the raw expressions of grief and shock—came the others; the ones who are never far, always hiding just out of view, ever ready to crawl from out from the cracks.

In moments like these, they surface to offer flippant, callous, armchair sermons about how selfish suicide is, about how cowardly the dead person was, about why he or she should have thought of their children, spouses, loved ones.
They add insult to fatal injury by heaping shame upon a suffering that had already proven to be too much to bear for someone.
These people somehow feel fine critiquing dead strangers, before they’ve even been buried.

I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where Chester Bennington was in his final moments, or where Chris Cornell was, or where 121 people in the US are every single day—where many are in the seconds it takes for you to read these words. The people who say such things, are those who’ve never (because of mental illness or acute trauma or severe addiction), been pushed to the precipice of their very will to live. They are people who (fortunately for them) have the luxury of their ignorance, who’ve never walked through this unrivaled internal Hell and wanted nothing more than to get out.

When you are in that desperate, frantic, lightless moment of despair—reason fails. There is no processing of things that seem so clear to people sitting calmly in parks and at desks and living rooms offering detached, knee-jerk commentary; those in their right minds, unclouded, lucid, and sober. That is what mental illness does, that is what addiction does, that is what depression does: it convinces your head that nothing matters, that this terrible moment will not pass, that nothing will get better, that you are fully, irreparably, and permanently f*cked. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t require objective proof, and it has no need for logic—you just feel it. In those moments the only thing you want is escape—and the choices people make in those moments are beyond what any of us have the right to criticize from outside of it.

I’ve never battled substance abuse or addiction, but I have carried depression for a couple of decades that has at times been terrifyingly heavy. And despite prayer and counseling and meditation and medication, there have been moments when the sadness became so overwhelming that nothing helped; not my career or my family or all the objective data I had that everything was good and that I should just feel better. I wouldn’t have said I was suicidal then—I just didn’t want to live. What got me through and what gets some people through when others fall is one of the greatest mysteries of this life. Some people make it and some people don’t—and the former aren’t any wiser or stronger or better, just very fortunate.

Suicide isn’t cowardly.
It’s not weakness.

It isn’t selfish.
It’s born of a hopelessness that can imagine no other way out.
It is a thick, pitch black haze created by powerful personal demons that prevents you from seeing light.

People like to say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and they’re right—but those standing in the darkest places can’t see that from there.

When someone takes their own life, we can view it as a tragedy for their loved ones, as a reason to mourn their leaving, as a squandering of what that life may have one day become, we can even be really angry at the senselessness of the loss.

But we should never use the moment to insult the dead by trying to shame them after they’re gone. Believe me, they really wanted to stay.

They did the very best they could in the worst seconds of their lives. They were as brave and strong and selfless as they were able to be in that moment.

There but for the grace of God go the critics.

May you always be such strangers to the dark.


Friend, if you’re struggling with depression, addiction, desire to self-harm, or suicidal thoughts, talk to someone. Help can be found here and  here and here and here and here now. You are worth fighting for.



304 thoughts on “Please Stop Calling Suicide Victims “Selfish” or “Weak”

  1. Hm-m-m-m. Oddly John. Believe it or not. “Selfish” is what my Ph.D. clinical psychologist calls suicide. I asked him about it one day. He says that each human being is too important to the lives of other people and in there lives of other people to deprive them of our presence and the joy we bring to them.

    Not being contrary. Not being combative. Not saying he is right or wrong. Just saying what he told me.

    • I hope that statement is taken out of context, and he in fact went on to say this is only what he was once told, but as a clinical psychologist, he knows better. If not, I would not want any of my patients being seen by him…for anything, certainly not depression or suicidal ideation.

      • Unless someone has been at the doorstep of suicide, they may think that it is a selfish act. To those who have been there, it is the most helpless, hopeless and futile place to be. Everything looks bleak and dark, and there is no way out of that dark tunnel. Until someone has actually stood at that tunnel entrance, they should never judge another.

        • By ‘selfish’ I think they mean, that the suicide can only think of her own feelings at the time, that the focus of attention is only on herself, & consequently, the survivors are hurt greatly. … [but I’m not sure that is all true of a suicide victim.]

          I imagine that the suicide thinks of her family and friends but (wrongly) thinks that they would be better off without her, and may (wrongly) even think they wish her dead.

          So grateful for increased awareness of this problem, and that mental health assistance is available.

          • I think that there are two types of suicidal people. One, people like Chester. Like you say above wrongly believe they are a burden and family and friends would be better off without them. Then there are others who don’t even think about their family, just that they want out. These are the ones people call selfish. This includes myself because I did this and never gave thought to anyone around me just my own dark place I wanted to escape from.

            • Karen, after volunteering in County run mental health clinic for a goodly number of years now, I have to disagree with your suggestion that there are suicidal people “there are others who don’t even think about their family, just that they want out. These are the ones people call selfish. ”

              I have to challenge that. I have spoken with scores of people over the years who just wanted out and all of them thought of their families.

              I suspect that sometime before you tried to take your own life, you too thought of your family and friends.

              The problem is that when people use the word “selfish” to describe someone who commits suicide is that this is based on the idea that the person waas capable of rational thought at the time they kill themselves.

              They are not. They are severely ill people incapable of logical, rational thought who are in such agony that they just want it to end.

              Another reason I think people use the word “selfish” is their own projection of denial and guilt that they didn’t get involved, missed the signs, were not informed enough of what the signs were.

              There is no “one size fits all” explanation.

              • Thankyou for your explanation. Depression is a terrible state of mind to be in (my sister has suffered with it since our Mum died over 2 years ago). No-one can really know how bad it can be unless they have been in that situation. I used to think suicide was cowardly and selfish but have realised through learning more about it, it couldnt be further from the truth.

              • “They are severely ill people incapable of logical, rational thought …” This is not entirely true. Many suiciders are capable of rational thought. It’s not all about how they feel in the moment. I have suffered from depression for 40 years. My thoughts aren’t irrational when I’m exhausted from yet another period of self-loathing, no self-esteem and lethargy. i don’t think that my family would be better off without at me when I’m at my lowest. When things are at their worst, I’m simply and purely exhausted. After 40 years of fighting battles almost every day, I just want the war to end. What’s the point of getting up every day when I have to force myself to pull the covers off every morning, off having to make myself get dressed, of yet another day of forced grins? Why bother with a hobby when I know it’ll be yet another project assigned to the pile of things to be finished? Why bother trying to make friends when I know I won’t follow through with the socialising that goes with it, wearing a mask that is in danger of slipping every second of every minute that I’m with them?

                As far as I’m concerned, I’m totally rational in thinking at times that I can’t go on like this anymore. If I don’t end it by my own hand, the exhaustion will do it for me anyway. Far better an ending of my own choosing than a heart attack at any time in any place.

                *Please note that at this moment in time life is bearable. The above is just how it all too often is.

              • Very true. I am a widow now because my husband took his life. I tried everything to support. Was so angry with him. Now that I am going through depression along with my son I am beginning to realize how he felt. Can’t say I truly understand. My son and I are trying to fight through it. But I see him slipping everyday. I am truly scared. Mental illness is such a horrific disease. I wish the public could recognize that. Hurts so much to be without my best friend and husband.

            • Maybe at that you couldn’t think of anyone else doesn’t make you selfish it makes blinded by your pain. Pain is pain it’s what your feeling.

              • Maybe at that time you couldn’t think of anyone else doesn’t make you selfish it makes blinded by your pain. Pain is pain it’s what your feeling.

              • Thank you, Kristine. That’s how it was for me. I survived through a combination of incompetence, God’s will, and blind dumb luck (not necessarily in that order). I couldn’t describe the feeling until years after, when I had major surgery with an incision from chest to pubic bone. Coming out of the anesthetic, with of course no other painkillers in my system yet because I wasn’t awake, they pressed a pillow over my incision and told me to cough. Perhaps one has to have had similar surgery to truly get it, but in that cough, the pain exploded, to the point there seemed to be nothing else in the universe but me and that pain. Then I realized that was how my soul felt when I attempted suicide. Nothing else in the universe but me and that pain. I only wanted it to stop. It really is not possible to think of family, or to think rationally, when you are alone in the universe with pain.

          • Leslie M., thank you for that comment. We humans seem to get so caught up in the “newest” definition of a word, that we frequently miss the original meaning. Everyone one is selfish. I think selfish thoughts. I cannot do anything else, because my life is about my self. My pain. My anguish. My fears and again, MY PAIN. Just wanting the pain to stop, hoping that something better awaits, but forever certain that what is happening now holds the most unbearable pain. “My Pain”.

          • I Can only speak for for myself in that with what our brains tell us suicide is not a selfish act. In fact children family loved ones friends are thought about in the moment And during the process leading up to a decision to take one’s life. Many times the biggest part of making that decission. Many times depression leads us to believe that our existence is hurting or causing pain to those we love and try to support us, those people you believe we are being selfish to they see us cycling in and out of depression or in and out of addiction and we feel that we are causing them more pain being around then depression tells us that everyone would be better off if they were not subjugated to having us around and dealing with our never ending problemd. We do think and know they will be hurt by our Suicide but are convinced in our minds that suicide would be easier for them to overcome then the constant cycling they have to deal with and we feel it will always always return and is never ending and why do we want to cause the ones the same never ending pain of hopelessness that we feel and no will return as long as we live. I am not suicidal…but have been and these are the thoughts I had that I would be helping my family. I thank god I got help and fear the day if the hopelessness is ever to return. What your mind tells you is nothing you could imagine unless youve been there and since its your mind it knows the weekest points to attack. 🙁

          • Thank you Leslie for shining the light on depressive thought patterns. Unless there is intervention, this deeply erroneous thinking can be very convincing.

        • Can one say the same for individuals that commit crimes in the name of insanity? Because after all, isn’t that what carrying out a suicide is, insanity? Trying to comprehend.

          • John Porter crimes are hurt imposed on others it is the difference between sadist and masochist. Suicidal people or at least speaking for myself knows how much pain hurts and can’t imagine anyone going through what I go through. In my opinion suicide can be used to save loved ones from witnessing my pain and struggles etc. It can also be used to get even with those cause pain in the world this is where a note a letter or a suicide novel or any other communicative device is important, to let the outside world know the reasons calling it out by name. Many people have taken their own lives in the hope to change the insanity of others or certain systems like family court or fascism, contrary others have done it out of love and still others out of the idea and firmly held belief that death is a step up and forward. Do you know of anything that does ot fit the description of insanity? Love, family, religion,politics. Is it sane to have more empty houses in the US than there are homeless people? Is it sanity to judge a person based solely on their skin pigment, is it sanity to hate someone because of who they love? I could go on and on but in short sometimes I think that suicide is the only sane thing to do. Also I think I may know you did you ever work at a skate park in Georgia? Had to ask

        • As someone who has attempted suicide on more than one occasion, I can say with confidence that it’s entirely selfish.

          • As somebody who was very suicidal for years, but did not attempt because of their family…

            After my entire family was dead, was when I made my first attempt.

            I still battle that demon, everyday. And there is no family left to mourn me when I’m gone.

            I wonder most days why I stick around.

            • perhaps to share your story and help others. sometimes our mere presence inspires others even when we do not realize it. the fact that you are reading this article and sharing your story shows that you are having an impact on the world and helping others to feel not alone.

            • Because deep down you really want to live
              and you have hope never let that go, I deal with depression and sadness almost everyday and have in the past attempted suicide a couple of times. But I know it’s not the answer. I pray everyday it does help.

            • Max G. you are still here because your purpose on this earth in necessary. You are necessary. Your blood family may be gone but your spiritual family is still very much alive. God loves you and so do I. If you haven’t done so, please read the book called “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, this I pray to God helps you find yourself in Him.

        • So true. I’ve been down that dark road and, believe me, it takes a lot of courage to go through with killing yourself. It is not for the “weak”. The only thing that saved me from doing it is the fear that I might actually achieve it. Thank God for medication is all I can say.

        • I was there. I slit my wrist when I was 15. I put my arm in a bucket because I didn’t want my mom to have to clean up the mess. I thought I was going to make. I laid there until I fell asleep thinking that was it. But I woke up. I guess I was too dumb to even get that right. Praise God. But I do feel it’s a very selfish act. I know I couldn’t see another way out but I don’t think I really understood the ongoing pain I could have caused everyone. In my opinion I was being selfish even though I just wanted to end my pain not cause others pain.

      • I am under the care of a PhD clinical psychologist and I know he would never say such a thing. Sorry Charles but your PhD clinical psychologist is beyond the pale and I would never want to be his patient — or have any of my loved ones in his “care.”

      • Can’t you understand this at all? Are you as closed minded as the trolls he speaks of? If you have ever been in a place where nothing made any sense and you wanted to leave this world behind, no PhD, no scientist, can stop you. This article is heart felt from a person who had been there, true words mean more than any study case in my eyes. This is true compassion, to listen and to feel.

      • I agree, George. Charles may ought to find a new therapist. What about people who feel their family and friends would be better off without them? From my personal experience with depression and listening to others’s, that’s usually the type of thinking that actually pushes suicidal people over the edge.. when they convince themselves the world is better or wouldn’t change without them in it. Love this article, by the way! <3

    • Sadly, just because one is a clinical psychologist or even a psychiatrist doesn’t make one an expert in suicidology. I’m an experienced abs licensed therapist who specialized in trauma and crisis intervention and thought I knew this shit, until my precious 18 year old son away at college took his life after an acute onset on depression and a month after he started therapy and a week after he started Zoloft. Talk about being humbled. It is my way of honoring my son to learn all I can about suicide and being awareness and help prevention. He was a brilliant beautiful loving deep soul. Everyone loved him. Everything I thought about suicide was wrong. He was the most unselfish person I knew.

      • Love and light Lisa.. Obviously a beautiful mum, whose had to find out, the worst way possible, the mindset of us that struggle daily to “live” ❤️

      • My husband suicide 6 years ago and I can not deal with it yet. I have him nothing. But support for fourteen years. And he made promises he would never do it. Again. What went wrong. Still can’t live with it. No my 33 year is going through the same thing. He has lost his house wife and job. I have that desperate feeling again. The feelings inside me are haunting. I barely know myself anymore. Nothing brings me joy or pleasure anymore.

        • Marsha, my husband’s suicide has been almost 6 months ago. I hurt as much today as when it first happened. I pray, that in time, we will both be able to adapt as best we can.

        • xoxo
          A huge hug to you Marsha Sue.
          Learn to be kind to yourself.
          Ive learnt guilt is the biggest pffender to depression and suicide.
          In my life I refuse to recognise guilt….NOW. Society breeds guilt and we follow societies harsh rules. If i cant get up in any given day..I nurture myself and say its need this day off. No one else is going to Nurture me except me. My husband of 35 years took his life 3.5 years ago. I still live in the same house on my own( with two dogs.) I learnt how to survive. I learnt my thoughts were my worst enemy. The way we think is how we act. I changed that thinking after a decade of situational depression..also from looking after a man who couldnt change his thought process…including getting help. I remember once when I said we need help especially for our marriage …and he told me I must be f**cked in the head if I needed to see a psychologist. Time and the experience of finding him after he took his life in carport at home showed me I was psychologically Stronger than I ever realised. I would be dead now If I was not.
          Take care.believe in yourself…but not any negative thoughts. I think I am out on the other side of unimaginable hell because of the way i think now. A long difficult journey. AGAIN… look after yourself and your thoughts. recognise bad thoughts..negative thinking..Oppose those thoughts with positive ones. it takes practice…Like a gym workout. Our brains and thought processes
          are able to change.We have to go through a lot of shit and positive thoughts though before that happens. Hard to explain.

        • I don’t know how else to post here because I came upon this link from another site. My 23 yr old daughter committed suicide 6/17/16. Life as we all knew it is completely gone now. I miss her more than words can ever say. I never knew she had problems until a week after her graduation from college. This illness came out of the blue to us and I hoped and prayed for two years that she wouldn’t do it but she two years later she did. Now I am at a year and 1 month since she is gone. I’m cold, empty, depressed and only wake up every day for the brother she left behind. I am reading that some are blaming religion for the reasons why. What utter BS! My daughter was not religious at all. I wish I had a God to fall back on to help me through this utter pain I live every day. She was a beautiful and gifted girl. Never gave us one bit of trouble her whole life. She went off to college 800 miles away from us in 2010 and now she is gone. I don’t know why but she wasn’t a “Christian” like some on this post would like to blame it on. We struggle every day. I can’t look at her pictures, or her texts, or listen to her voicemails yet on my phone. Was it a selfish act? Hell no. She was in such pain and if I could have given my life to save hers, I would have in a heartbeat. The world is a sadder place without her. I beg her every day to take me with her but I’m still here but she should be here, not me. I’m rambling I know. I lost my first born for reasons I will never understand but she was not selfish. She was ill .

          • Jesse, I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter, I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you are feeling. Being there for your son, her brother is what she would want. Living the life you have is what she would want, for you to enjoy your life and spend time with your son until it’s your time to join her and not a minute sooner. You lost her to an illness. Honor her life and live yours to the fullest. Look at her pictures, remember the good times and you will smile, even if behind tears, you will get there. My brother passed away young, it wasn’t suicided but still an unbearable loss, it took me a year to watch a video made in his honor, just pictures, and music, full of good memories. We had a lot of fun growing up and were very close, I only watched it twice in 7 years. I used to call his home just to hear his voice message, I would give anything to have a message saved from him, a voice mail, text anything. I know it doesn’t at all compare to your loss, but seeing his smile in the pictures, the memories, all of it, makes me smile…it took a good year and then a couple more before those smiles didn’t also come with tears..but you get there, someday, somehow. Don’t avoid the good memories, crying is okay, talking about it is okay, let it out, let others know how wonderful she was, and most important, if you haven’t already, help your son find a way to do the same, he needs to see his sister alive in memories, pictures in the house etc. He needs to know it’s okay to talk about her openly.

            I hope you are in grief counseling and maybe a group, your son as well, he’ll need to deal with his feelings and thoughts about all of it as well.


          • Apparently your professor has never stood in the shoes a person contemplating
            has. Until he does or until he can acknowledge the myriad influences that lead one to that point, he should find another field to work in.. ( and maybe work on his personal issues. It sounds as if he was affected by someone’s lost battle. )

          • God called her away because He wanted her back with Him. There is nothing more terrible for a mother than losing a beloved child. But all life will end someday. She wouldn’t want you to spend yours hurting. Easier said than done but you have your son and you have to go on. Please be happy….she really wants you to be even if she couldn’t.

      • ♥ † to you and your family.I know the feeling .My brother in 2007 and my dad in 2013.. No one knows what they were thinking about,where they were .. It is so hard and feels like a nightmare that I want to wake up from.. People need to know it was not a “SELFISH” Act.. One day we will see each other again… I pray for love and comfort for you., God Bless †

      • My heart goes out to you. My daughter was diagnosed with severe depression this year. She started her 8th grade a happy kid even with being diagnosed with diabeted and celiac but then add a year of bullying that her school said year after year that would not be tolerated, suddenly a switch flipped and I saw the change. She thinks of suicide but says she will not carry it out but I now live with this fear every day. I have her seeing a therapist that emphasizes art psychology and I only hope that she will find her strength and be empowered and support and live her through the process. I am a nurse and sometimes feel helpless in helping her.

        • Lizza, I am so glad you recognized what your daughter was going through. My own mother was in denial for six long years and she was also a RN.

          Something I emphasized in my long comment posted elsewhere among the many comments is that there are so many meds, so many treatment modalities, and no “one size fits all.”

          I personally was traumatized by Cognitive Behavior Therapy even though it has blessed many.

          Too many of my previous therapists had me reliving and reliving and reliving my trauma and I felt like I was never moving forward.

          My present psychologist practices what she calls Positive Psychology and she lets me emote my feelings and then every session includes strategy for solving the problem and lookign for the positive aspects. It helps me a very great deal.

          She also had me start a gratitude journl and every evening I am to list three things for which I am grateful on that day.

          A treatment that has been so enormously beneficial in my life is Dialectical Behavior Therapy, developed by a former RC nun, Marsha Linehan, a psychiarist who herself has Borderline Personality Disorder and she developed this threatment because nothing available was helping her.

          Basically it is about managing the present moment. It is easily googled. Should you want to experience it, please google “DBT and . Hopefully there are peopel near by teaching it.

          Any questions, you know where to find me!!

      • You just broke my heart. You just also made me realize how glad I am that I did not take this route 2 years ago. I was so close. It scares me now. Acute trauma. I’m good now. I think I have some PTSD but can’t afford care. I am dealing. Each day is better. Your story touched that still tender spot. Take care!

      • So so sorry for your heartbreaking loss of your son.. I know there are no words to say but know that whoever reads your post feels your pain and we send you love and strength for each day..

    • Seems sort of arrogant, this pshrink; who is he to tell someone bereft of any family or social support network they should “live for others”? There are people out there, forgotten, homeless, friendless, that honestly probably don’t bring much joy to others. Not right, not good, just how it is for some people. Not everyone has his prestigious degree, his satisfying career, his circle of friends, his Mercedes or BMW. Maybe if he’d spend more time with those forgotten, depressed, lost, broke, socially outcast people, he’d have a little more compassion.

      • Kyla wrote “Seems sort of arrogant, this pshrink; who is he to tell someone bereft of any family or social support network they should “live for others”?

        I agree with you. Sometimes in my deepest depression when I wanted to end it all, I have been able to think what it would mean to my mother. But one time when mom and I were estranged because of brutal things she said, my cats were what stopped me because at that time, all the shelters were kill shelters and I didn’t think my cats deserved to die just because I felt I was in too much agony to go on.

        But if I had no one, no cats, no family, no friends, what would be selfish about ending my pain?

        BTW, as mom has aged she has developed a touch of dementia and she is a much nicer person for it and very seldom makes those torturous comments any more.

    • @Charles
      I attended a suicide assessment, intervention and prevention training this Wednesday as a regular part of continuing education required to maintain my counseling license. We talked openly about this very subject—how people often speak about how “selfish” someone who died by suicide was. What they fail to realize is when suicidal ideation is in the driver’s seat, that person often believes everyone would be so much better off without them. They may believe they, their illness, addiction, etc. are burdens and suicide is a “selfless” way to remove that burden from themselves and more importantly the lives of those they love. Survivors of attempts often talk about how, in their unstable mind, they couldn’t even conceive of how much pain their suicidal actions would cause.
      While it’s understandable that surviving loved ones might struggle with the selfishness of the act and ramifications, let’s all just watch our words and be mindful of the judgements they may carry. Hearts heal better with love and compassion.

      • You are correct. I have personally known those who have attempted suicide. They DO feel like others would be better off without them. They feel that all they do is bring others pain and misery and that others would be benefitted if they just removed themselves from the equation. In the mind of the person who is at the point of suicide, they (erroneously) believe they are doing the best thing possible for their family and friends and loved ones. They truly believe that they are NOT being selfish. They believe that they are doing what is BEST for others. Unfortunately, they cannot see the light on the other side of their depressed state. They can’t see that others will be mourning their loss. They can not see in that desperate hour that there is hope, and healing. All they see is the darkness, and pain and hopelessness of their present situation.

          • ann wrote, “if they believe that then why then wont move to other town or state or idk and start new life there?”

            My first kneejerk reaction is that this is a comment that is devoid of compassion.

            My second kneejerk reaction is to wonder if ann is really sincere because “wherever I go, there I am.” Which means any place we go, we take all our baggage, be it emotional, physical, or what with us.

            We don’t become a different person just because we’ve moved.

      • Well said, Dana. When one feel suicidal, they hate themselves. They see no value in their life or being. They may even see themselves as being harmful for others to be around, like a caustic substance. Suicidal people may feel that they are evil, that they ruin everything, that they are useless and worthless, that they are broken and can never be fixed.

        That’s why suicidal people feel OK (or at least not as bad as you might think) about “depriving” others with their presence. They feel they would be doing them a favor.

    • I’d switch doctors- he sounds like a callous individual- wait til one day you feel suicidal and he starts yelling at you, or some other ridiculousness. Zero empathy and trying to pass himself off as a professional.

    • He sounds like a real pompous ass and I pray to God his patients find a new psychologist. No one had the right to make such a statement . We have no right to judge another until we’ve walked their walk.

    • You can love your family and friends, yet not love yourself. You would gladly carry the burden of anyone you loved, yet feel that you are a burden to everyone you love. You want the people you love to have joy and happiness in their lives, yet you feel that some how you take these things away from them.
      Cognitive Constriction narrows what you see, think and feel. If you don’t love you, do those who say they love you really mean it. How can they love you? How can they enjoy being with you?

    • Thats why I am in eternal psychological pain. I live this pain as a survivor and witnessing something I never signed up to from my husband of 35 years. Who knows what he was thinking. Experys cant always believe they know what thatperson was thinking….. That he believed everyone would be better without him? What about tge legacy left to his family not for years…but for generations. Sorry..but I dont think he thought of that with his idealization of suicide. Yes..I get he was very ill. I guess when your that ill and in denial of your illness in denial of seeking help…..Consequences wernt considered…his family wernt considered

    • Apparently your professor has never stood in the shoes a person contemplating
      has. Until he does or until he can acknowledge the myriad influences that lead one to that point, he should find another field to work in.. ( and maybe work on his personal issues. It sounds as if he was affected by someone’s lost battle. )

    • Charles, with the utmost respect, and understanding that you were just relaying what a professional said, I believe every person and situation is different.

      Also, we don’t live for our children or other people. We live for ourselves. If that is the definition of selfishness, so be it. I believe it to be a reality. After all, you can’t make anyone happy, until you love yourself.

      These poor lost souls obviously did not.

      Only God can and will judge, and in his mercy, will ultimately forgive the choice that he allowed in the first place.


      Thank you for reading. Peace and light.

    • I am a five year survivor of a desperate suicide attempt. At the time, I was seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, and faithfully taking my medications. I have Bipolar 1 Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, and PTSD from childhood sexual trauma. I had my first suicidal thought at age nine, but I was scared to tell anyone. I am now forty-three, and I still have intrusive suicidal thoughts in spite of a strong mental health plan. When I attempted suicide, the voices in my head had been berating me for months. They insisted, “A dead mother is better than a depressed mother.” They finally convinced me, and I took all of my prescription pills…200. I don’t know why I’m still here, but in spite of the struggle, I am grateful for that unknown reason. If you are hurting or know someone who is, please get help NOW! You may feel surrounded by darkness, but you are a Light. Bright blessings.

    • I’m a survivor of suicide did your Dr tell you they don’t want to de they want to end their pain . They are very likely suffering. From mental illness and addiction.. I’m sorry but hes wrong about it being a selfish act . I would find a new one he gave you false information

    • Then he is a jerk.

      Many people who commit suicide successfully (as opposed to cry for help variant) have suffered from whatever ailment palgues them that there aren’t any people around them anymore. They have nowhere to turn to, hence they don’t touch any lives by killing themselves. Or at least that is their conviction from their point of view. In either case, if you rightly or wrongly believe no one cares, offing yourself is not a harm to others.

      I hope counseling depression / suicidality is not this particular doctors specialty.

    • I have survived suicide attempts. When I was in my darkest times I literally thought I was helping my family & friends. I truly thought the world would be a better place without me in it. Grateful to be here now.

    • After my dear friend committed suicide and left three children, I went to a clinical psychologist to help deal with my grief. She also said that suicide is the most “selfish act”. That comment didn’t sit right with me. Another friend is the executive director of the Samaritans in our state. When I mentioned my therapist’s comment, her response was “Fire her! Pronto!”. My executive director Samaritan friend has WAY more experience with suicide than any Ph.D clinical psychologist. Something to consider…

    • I appreciate your response. My clinical psychologist, and all the rest say the exact same thing. But as for me, and i am no dummy, i am inclined to feel the opposite. That if the “victims” family and friends had even the smallest taste of what the victim suffers everyday and all day, and they still felt that way then it is those folks who indeed are “selfish”. To watch someone you love suffer thru unimaginable pain and darkness, and then feel them cowardly or selfish for trying to make it stop, well, perhaps they have contributed to the hopelessness, and just don’t realize it. IMO

    • Someone please explain the harm in suggesting to a potentially suicidal person that suicide is “selfish.” I understand how hurtful that would be to the family of one who already committed suicide, but what if it takes hold in someone’s mind that it really is selfish, and for that reason he preserves his life for the sake of others?

    • Did he actually say the word “selfish”? Or did he say the paragraph following about being important to others!? Those are two totally different statements.

    • Shame on him. I hope that something besides a book tells you what it’s really about. Sitting there judging others for their massive amounts of pain. You deal with chronic depression like that and then tell me otherwise. What makes someone a coward is someone is sits an fing desk telling other human beings what they are and what they aren’t. That’s baby back bull #$_&. No other being on this Earth has the right to judge others it to say they’re selfish because they cannot take the un relenting pain they’re in. God is the only person who has any right to judge anything. This why so many people she screwed up in the head because people think they know everyone and judge people from behind a desk. Just because your qualified doesn’t mean you are good at what you do.

    • true everybody can smile on the outside and have a dark emontion which nobody will ever see. Thought sucide was always wrong. till I lost my mother, when theres nobody they say they understand but they really don’t and true you see nothing but darkness

    • Oh you’re getting too poetic here.

      The he ck with your psychologist. The same argument can be turned around. The rest of us is just as selfish caring only about “our” loss and not the suffering and loss of those had to take their live.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I have bipolar 1 disorder and have been in that spot more times than I care to count. But at no time did I really want to die…I just wanted the pain to stop, and death seemed to be the only way to make it happen. I’m so thankful that something or someone has always been able to pull me back from the brink, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have that. I pray Chester will find the peace that eluded him in this life.

  3. Thank you for a beautiful and sadly, necessary message. I have never been at that point, I have been blessed with what I call the Suzy Sunshine personality, which can be a nuisance some times but I have known people who have tried, some failed others not, to commit suicide. I was 17 when a friend committed suicide and I still feel the sadness 58 years later. I spent a lot of time trying to understand but decided that the best I could do was be there for anyone who may be in that frame of mind to perhaps make a difference. I don’t understand people throwing stones, because there but for the grace of God go I. They would do well to remember that. Peace and Love,

    • Funny how some words, words that you’ve heard hundreds of times before, suddenly jump up and present themselves in a different light. You referenced the idea of attempting and failing to commit suicide. It’s like we’re saying that the person is such a failure, they can’t even kill themselves properly. What if we flipped the idea and said instead that the person succeeded in living, making it a point of hope instead of another tick in the negative column.

      • You are so right. Thank you, I needed that. It is funny, not ha ha but odd how something we have said for decades can take on a new meaning if we are open to it. I am open. Peace and Love,

      • Patricia wrote, “What if we flipped the idea and said instead that the person succeeded in living, making it a point of hope instead of another tick in the negative column.”

        I love this. What is it about us, even those of us claim to follow Jesus, that we automatically, or so it seems, look for the negative?

        Why does it seem like such a stretch to look for the good?

        A discipline I embraced several years ago is that every evening I write down three things for which I am grateful on that day.

        I find it has me looking at things differently most of the time. I wish I could say all of the time but I can’t.

  4. Dear John and Readers,

    Whoever you are, you are indeed worth fighting for.

    I will admit when I read about Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington yesterday and that his death was being investigated as a suicide, that I have no idea who this man is.

    But I do grieve that he didn’t have the help he needed.

    I know depression well. It manifested within me when I was nine years old and I didn’t begin treatment for six years. I became disabled due to it at forty-four. I have spent the intervening years learning to manage my symptoms.

    One symptom I had and which my medical team assured me was common, is that when anything went wrong my life, my first thought would always be “This is unbearable. I’m going to kill myself.”

    I had it all worked out how I would do it, although when asked if I had a plan, I would always answer “no” because I knew answering “yes” meant an involuntary hold in a psych ward and having had one experience there, I never want to go back.

    May I say how little help Christians are when a person is depressed? First of all, many people think mental illness is contagious and they shun a depressed person.

    Secondly, many people are all too willing to demonstrate that that think a person had mental illness because they someone brought it down upon themselves. I remember all too vividly the time my mother said “I think you enjoy being depressed.” I can’t tell you how deep that wound went and my immediate retort to her was “If you think that, you are far more mentally ill than I.”

    Some Christians say awful things to a depressed person. If the reader is tempted to say of these these thing to someone they claim to care about, all the reader will prove is that they do not really care about that person at all.

    a) you are demon possessed. (Honestly, I had no idea people were superstitious enough to still believe in demons as if modern medical science doesn’t exist.)

    b) you have unconfessed sin in your life (Get a clue, a depressed person already feels guilt over stuff that she/he has no busy feeling guilty about, so don’t heap coals on top.)

    c) you don’t have a consistent prayer life (see above)

    d) you have not properly yielded your life to Jesus (see above, point b)

    e) you don’t read your Bible enough (see above point b)

    f) there is something wrong in your relationship with the Lord (see above point b)

    g) what sin are you refusing to give up? (see above, point b)

    h) you are not allowing the Holy Spirit into your heart (see above, point b)

    i) stop trying to manipulate me by making me feel sorry for you (see above point b)

    j) stop being such an attention hog. (see above point b)

    k) you chose to feel this way (see above, point b)

    This is only the tip of the iceberg of hideous things said to me by Christians. If such things are said to a depressed person and that depressed person commits suicide, it is not out of a desire to be selfish, but to escape the agony once and for all.

    If there is someone you care about who has depression, here is the best advice I can give you. Speak to the healthy part of that person. I’m not saying ignore the depression, just don’t treat the person except in a loving way that draws on that person’s strengths. Help that person distract momentarily when the pressures are intense.

    If there is someone you care about who has depression, please educate yourself about depression. Please read this Pulitzer Prize winner: The Noonday Demon : An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon, exerpts may be read here:

    One of the reasons my BFF has been my BFF for so long is because she purchased this book, read it, and she understood exactly what it was like.

    Another place to find out exactly what it feels like is to read Chapter Nine of Come, Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta by Mother Teresa, Brian Kolodiejchuk.

    • I agree, Gloriamarie, though you did leave out my favorite “Christian” response – “I’ll pray for you.” I won’t listen, offer to help with something that’s stressing you, send a little note to say “I care about you,” not do one single useful thing. But I’ll pray for you. Gee. Thanks.

      • Kyla, you are right. I have had my doubts about the sincerity of “I’ll pray for you” for a long time. It feels to me like a code phrase that really means “Yes, you are a member of my church and I really should do something concrete to help you but I really can’t be bothered, but I want to seem as if I care, so I’ll say “I’ll pray for you.”

        I feel as if people are really saying “Go away and don’t bother me.”

        Well, I don’t feel that about people who live at a distance. Although, even then people who live at a distance from me were more helpful than people in my own church who ignored me when I had a heart attack and couldn’t take care of myself.

        People who were sincere about praying for me also got involved in solving the problem of my inability to care for myself. From a distance.

        • I have always thought it meant, I don’t have the time to bother right now, I don’t want to get my hands dirty, or my issues are more important than yours, so I will pray for you. I would prefer that that person tell me they care, they can’t help at the moment but will try later and give me a hug. Peace and Love,

          • Exactly, Kathleen. I too prefer “I would prefer that that person tell me they care, they can’t help at the moment but will try later and give me a hug” to that passive-aggressive cop out “I’ll pray for you.”

          • Speaking for myself, as a Christian, when I offer to pray, I pray. If I know of crisis call center numbers or mental health resources contacts, I offer them. But I’m not a mental professional, so I can’t judge what’s going on inside. I don’t feel qualified to do much more than to show them the love of Christ by saying I care, giving a hug, and yes, letting them know I’ll be praying for them.

          • I trust the Holy Spirit to bring prayers to mind to that person, just like He does for me.

            My response to offered prayer is, ‘thank you so much, that’ll be wonderful. I really appreciate your prayers, they are so helpful to me. And sometimes I say, ‘yes, let’s pray now.’

            • I probably should exercise the step away from the keys move, but I am not going to. I am speaking only for myself, no one else, I believe that sometimes not always that people use that as an easy out. When someone is at the end of their rope, they need someone to listen, to hold their hand, to just love them but rather than take the time some people use I will pray for you. They need you as well as your prayers. When someone is dying and needs to hear that it is alright to let go, I will be here, they don’t necessarily need to hear well I have to go but I will pray for you. When someone has to go to court, you go with them, you don’t send them alone with a I will pray for you. When someone is hungry, you feed them, you don’t say you poor dumb soul I will pray for you that you make better decisions. That was what I was talking about and it is very prevalent in some religious communities. By the way, I am still waiting for you to call out the despicable conservatives and their filth that was thrown around here in the last few days. You were very eager to call out Charles for a bad word but it’s crickets when your conservatives throw out porn. It really says more about you and all the others than it does about those you take issue with.

              • I agree with much of what you said. It’s not enough sometimes to say “I’ll pray for you.” There needs to be a willingness to back that up with actions, though that’s not always possible or necessary. I have many times shared problems with people and they offered to pray for me, and that was appreciated and there was nothing that they could have physically done anyway.

                I only saw one or two of those offensive posts and don’t think it’s fair that you are calling Leslie to task for them. First of all, we don’t know those posters were “conservatives.” Second, it’s a different ball game now. This is a moderated board and those kinds of posts don’t last so there is no need for anyone here to play moderator. Third, Leslie suffered much verbal abuse from that poster. He was and is a regular and not just someone who dropped in to cause trouble. It was not just one time but many times, and she surprisingly said very little in response to it. What did you say in her defense when it happened?

    • A couple years ago when we went to a graduation party, two sisters of our friend were actually going to some church each week, being trained to get rid of demons from their grand daughter and great niece because the 14 year old have bi-polar. I was rather horrified that they are doing that, but didn’t say anything about that to them, because they were positive she has demons, well, I did say to them that I had never heard of people having demons with bi-polar. I just hope that they didn’t harm the child with their “training”. They aren’t that intelligent, probably part of their superstitions. The grandmother actually asked me why we were at their FAMILY party, and she couldn’t figure out that we were invited to the party, it wasn’t like we would some how “know” this particular party to go there to crash there. I mean we were invited, and we drove quite a ways to get there, we gave a very nice graduation cash gift, and the sisters said that to me! I almost told them that even though we are not related, we always felt their brother was family to us, and when their mother passed on, we gave their mother a plot in OUR family plots because their family couldn’t afford to buy one, though they probably won’t figure out that my husbands parents and their mother are all next to each other. I just told them that we were INVITED there from their brother and his wife, why we were there. They just are not very smart, religious, superstitious, and not very nice, and I really hope that the child was not harmed by them.

  5. Thank you, John, for broaching this topic. I believe we have all been depressed at one point or another, and some don’t make it to safety because of the “pitch black cloud” you refer to. I come from an abusive family, so I know what that cloud looks like and feels like. It is sometimes overwhelming when you feel you have no place to turn to, but you do have places to go to for help. I did, and I wrote a book about it. My husband suffers from depression also, but it is controlled with meds, thank goodness. We are a pair, but we grow in love and despair together, and we need each other at those times when the black cloud hangs over our heads.

  6. Thank you so much for writing this column about suicide. I think many of us have come close, especially when the black cloud hangs thick above our heads. But there is help out there if you seek it: by asking friends, calling a hotline, seeking a counselor. I think that when we blame someone for committing suicide, we do everyone a disservice because some might really think this is the way to respond to such a jolt. Compassion needs to be the way to deal with it, if we can find the way to it, honestly, and quickly.

    • I think one thing a lot of people don’t quite understand is “there is help out there if you seek it.” IF YOU SEEK IT. When you’re at the very, very bottom of an abyss of despair, you won’t seek it. You don’t think you’re worth it , or you don’t believe they, whoever “they” is, can do anything about the problem(s), or you’re afraid (in our society, with some valid justification) of what they’ll do to you if you call. I’ve seen several news stories about a family calling for help for a mentally ill member, only to have the cops show up and shoot their loved one. It’s not really suicide “prevention” if the cops do the job for you. We need a much better system in this country for dealing with the mentally ill and severely depressed, where you can call 911, but get a mental professional response, not cops or EMTs with limited capabilities for non-physical crises. A system where, no matter who makes the call, they’re not in worse danger or treated like a criminal. I’ll admit, I’ve thought about calling a suicide hotline more than once, but I fear that if I do, and admit I’m feeling like ending it, my door will be kicked down and I’ll be hauled away in cuffs for a 72-hour involuntary hold with nobody to feed the dog, no shoelaces, glasses confiscated, and generally treated with slightly less courtesy than if I just called the cops and admitted to murder. There has to be a better way.

      • This response is SO true. I’ve experienced it trying to help loved ones in a city that’s supposed to be a model for how to do it right, San Antonio, TX. And when I try to approach city leaders to discuss what really happens, I’m patronized and dismissed.

  7. I have clinical depression; I have thought about “not living” since I was a child. I am NOT “unhappy”–I am married to the love of my life, I have 3 children and 4 grandchildren, I have a good life. But I do have depression and sometimes, it just seems like it might be easier to end the darkness–and then I remember that I wouldn’t do that to my husband, if for no other reason at all. I am medicated and that helps. I am in therapy–and discovering that I have good reason to be depressed. Depression is anger turned inwards and my anger began when I was literally a child of very authoritarian, very strict (unreasonably so) parents who are STILL trying to run my life, 50+ years later.
    I can vouch for John P’s words, that this is an act of desperation, a final action when no other action seems possible. I was on the brink of committing suicide at one point (before being diagnosed and medicated) and the thought that stopped me than is that my kids would have been the ones to find me.
    If you’ve never been depressed, mentally ill with depression, then consider yourself very lucky. It’s very common. I am willing to bet that there are at least 5 people you know that have it. And you don’t know that they have it…because those of us so afflicted try very hard not to drag anyone else into our dark and empty spaces.
    It’s just so much easier to be kind to everyone you meet or hear about, because you have no idea what they are going through. Just be kind.

    • KGC, so sorry you have this also.

      I have discovered Dialectical Behavior Therapy and it is the winner for me. I am even off of anti-depressant meds.

      If you have any interest, you may google it. Also to find a DBT group in your area, you may google DBT and the name of your community.

  8. Wonderfully stated; thank you.
    If someone hasn’t been there they have no idea how…unbearable it is to be in that place. The place where nothing exists—utter blackness that stifles and smothers. For me the darkness was so absolute there was nothing; no laughter, no hope, nothing that could break through. It was the worst pain I have ever known, bar none.

  9. From personal experience: Being suicidal can be a compulsion too strong to resist. It can be a thought so obsessive that a plan must be at the ready. Unfortunately, some medications to treat depression can increase suicidality or even cause it. There are genetic tests which can assist in choosing the best medication for each individual.

  10. Thank you so much for saying this. I completely agree and I don’t think God finds fault with this. They fought as hard as they could. And now their watch has ended. I hope they all know peace now.

  11. Thank you, John … again & again. Your passion, insight, words are a blessing & comfort every day, and for every “event” like this.

  12. Thank you for this. I have also felt terrible depression, though not to the point of suicide. But to belittle those who are unable to see past their personal demons is (in my atheist opinion) a sin in itself. If you have never been there, you have zero business criticizing those who have, no matter what the outcome. I am currently dealing with overwhelming grief for my 25-year-old son’s friend who dies a horrible death at the hands of some pill he took at a concert. Not an addict, just “trying it out.” I loved this kid, and am furious at whoever was selling poison to young people. I can’t imagine the pain his mother (a widow) feels, and hope that she never hears one word of what I suspect some awful people will think; they will judge her for his death. People suck.

  13. I have such mixed emotions about this. I have been so low that I have attempted suicide, one time I was saved totally by fluke, I was out in the middle of nowhere and someone who had never ever walked that path, especially at the time of night, was struggling and walking and found me. The doctors said 5 more minutes for someone to call the ambulance and i would have been gone. So I do know the depths etc, and my best friend died by suicide. When he died, I truly believed he was selfish and caring at the same time. He made sure all of the important people in his life were in safe places and then took his life. It has been 16 years later and I still struggle with was it selfish in addition to that indescribable pain etc. I have always thought of myself as spiritual minded and much more compassionate but in this area I am still struggling with Loving compassion and the if only’s and knowing my best friend never would have inflicted this pain of losing him if he truly knew how much pain he would have caused. Ugh.. help.

  14. So spot on. And they “succumb” to suicide, they are NOT commuting a crime! The fact is, the victim of suicide did not believe we, society, would ever hear them, or help them, and they wanted to stop being a burden of people they loved. THAT takes a huge amount of courage. My son was one of them, at 20 years old. He loved us, and people he didn’t know, was always ready to sacrifice what he had for the have nots,’ called “The Most Considerate Suicide” they’d ever came across by the detectives who found him. He was anything but selfish! Thanks again, John, for saying things that need to be said. I’m so thankful you survived your depression.

  15. Well said. I never dreamed in a hundred years that I would, on several occasions, hold a loaded gun to my head or research the easiest, less messy form of suicide. You are right, when all hope is gone and maybe feel you are more of a burden than an asset, have multiple illnesses, and you feel a pain so black that all light is gone, I prayed every night (though I’m atheist) to die in my sleep. No one else feels the feelings you feel. Thankfully I pulled away from suicide because I knew the affect it would have on my grandchildren and sister. I remember the pain of losing my first cousin to suicide. I kept wondering why he didn’t talk to me and let me know what was going on. But now I know that reaching out for help is hard. I called the Suicide Hotline and they hung up on me. I discussed my suicidal thoughts with a female cousin and she said “Go ahead and kill yourself…..”. Anyone is capable of suicide when brain chemicals are out of balance. Anyone taking any kind of anti depressant should be monitored closely by their physician, but also their family/friends. Suicide is not selfish, we just felt we had nothing to live for. Suicide is something I considered off and on for months so it’s not always a split decision. There are signs if you know where to look.

    • The Suicide Hotline does not hang up on anyone. Ever. They literally endure even the worst of the prank calls. They do not hang up. You are lying.

    • And, as a former volunteer for that organization, I do not appreciate the slander. We have never given up on anyone.

  16. Thank you John. I found myself explaining this to someone on twitter who couldnt understand how he could do that to his children. My response was simply if he had been thinking clearly, obviously he wouldnt have.

  17. Thank you once again, John. And yes, these critics have never experienced depression, or have watched it take someone they love. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  18. I know that darkness very well. My plan was set and was near completion when I was interrupted. You will never know the depth of pain unless you experience it yourself. Having a friend, partner, spouse, brother, etc. will not give you an understanding. I call it walking in a thick fog. You cannot think. Rational thought is difficult.
    The reply from other Christians was, “stop feeding sorry for yourself” “get over it” “you lack faith” “read the psalms over yourself”. They did more damage than my negative thoughts. I was left to bare my own burdens. Four years later, I come to find I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have some parts of my brain with sclerosis, which explains my depression. There is not a day goes by were I don’t think of taking my life. I’m tired.

  19. My father committed suicide and I’ve never thought of that as a selfish act. I only thought how horrible that black hole was that he was in that he saw no other way out of it. Mother told me he’d said we’d be better off without him and he believed that or he wouldn’t have left us. I also believe depression is a genetic factor as I’ve been in that black hole thru the years and the feelings of despair were overwhelming. I would never consider harming myself tho because I wouldn’t want my family to deal with the same loss I did but there is so much hate and condemnation in the worldview today, it just crushes one’s spirit if you’re not careful to deflect it.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{Patricia Sayle}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

      I am sorry that your father killed himself. I am sorry he believe that about himself.

      Yes, it has been proven that depression can be genetic. It is described as a bio-chemical, psycho-social disease because it can be genetic and because it can be triggered by events in our environment over which we have no control.

      I have already commented at length on this blog about my own personal experience with depression and what form of therapy was the most helpful to me. If you feel like scrolling for them.

  20. Problem is, you can’t know what every person considering suicide is thinking/feeling/experiencing. I’ve had over 40 years of nothing but badness, it does not ‘get better’. I try, and something comes along to not only destroy my attempts, but make them worse. I’ve been to therapy, I’ve been medicated. I’ve asked for help with the things that need fixing, and get ignored. I’m slipping further and further behind, and I’m tired of doggie-paddling and trying to keep my head above water. So it is not always a ‘permanent solution to a temporary problem’, sometimes it is long-term suffering of something that is NOT temporary. This is not either/or. Too many shades of dark grey in between. There are no absolutes.

    • Dear {{{{{{{{{{{{{{Nobody}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}},

      You are somebody to me.

      You write things I could well have written about myself.

      Something I’ve learned through this roller coaster of Major Depressive Disorder is that just as not every medication is suitable for every depressed person, neither is every therapeutic approach. And that is a fact that can be very difficult to deal with when insurance companies think they know more about what meds I should take than the doc.

      I’ve even been cursed with insurance that would only pay for 12 visits on paper and balked at continuing to pay after only 8.

      One summer a few years ago, I was in a very bad way and I did an outpatient treatment for 8 weeks in DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and my life was so enhanced that I allowed them into talking me to participate in their 8 week Cog, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and after only a few sessions found myself spiraling down into deep despair.

      CBT required me to relive every past trauma and so I was stuck in the pain all the time. In contrast, DBT taught me skills to manage the present moment, which got me out of my past and stop worrying about the future and concentrate on only this one moment.

      I found another program that is a year long program, I repeated it for a few times and now I run a peer-support group at a local County run mental health clinic, teaching people DBT. which of course means I continue to learn.

      As it happens, I was doing so well that my therapist and my psychiatrist agreed two years ago that I no longer needed to be on anti-depressant medication even though I have had trauma since then. It never triggered a depressive episode.

      As you can tell, I am an evangelist for the good news of DBT. Dialectic Behavior Therapy is easy enough to google. Also, if you think you would like to try it, google for DBT groups in your community.

  21. So beautifully said, John. Thank you for writing this. I am SO saddened Chester has left us. I was beyond shocked at first and then felt devastated for the loss of an eloquent, amazing singer/songwriter. Linkin Park is my all-time favorite band because I SO relate to the lyrics that Chester wrote. I have spent hours upon hours listening to his songs because they spoke what I felt.
    I have heard many people in my life say how “selfish” suicide is, and I have told them they just do not understand what it is like to live and walk and breathe in that darkness, hopelessness, senselessness, & despair. I know because I have attempted several times and should not be alive today. I have also had two close friends end their lives. Yes, I was devastated they were gone, but never was I angry at them nor did I ever imply they were selfish for doing so.
    I have ALWAYS thought of the people I love and how it would affect them if I ended my life. Hundreds, if not thousands, of times I’ve hung on because I thought about my family and friends…and it was ONLY because of this reason I did not follow through. Many times, I truly believed they were the ones being selfish for wanting me to stay on this earth when I was living in such agony. I also wholeheartedly believed they were better off without me. I have battled deep depression for many years…have been in therapy and on meds many times…when the deep depression came, there was nothing that could pull me out but time. The few times I did try, I was just done…and I know when I got to that place there was literally nothing that could stop me. I survived, I suppose, miraculously (Dr. said I should not have made it). More often than not, I wish I hadn’t, but currently I am doing okay and try to keep myself at a level where I’m not feeling so trapped in that blackness. All I ever feel I’m doing is treading just keeping my head above the water…waiting for something to pull me under again.
    I say all this because I really want to give people a perspective of what it’s like to battle depression/suicidal thoughts. It is different for every person, and some people’s brains are better able to manage than others. I won’t go into my life story, but there have been many traumas and battles I have fought and many I still do that just get beyond exhausting. I get that many people do not understand how others can get to that place, and for those who don’t, I hope they can try to see that it is not just a fleeting thought without any consideration of what it does to those who are left behind. We already feel that burden in the midst of it.

  22. Thanks for this post, John. I spent most of my teens and twenties dealing with frequent suicidal thoughts, and made a couple of attempts, resulting in the kind of shaming you describe here (delivered by the family members who claimed to love me the most), though it wasn’t posthumous in my case. The resulting guilt – especially once I had a child – may have saved me from trying again but did nothing thing to help with the real problem. Dealing with that has been a long and complicated process, and when I hear about someone who couldn’t find another way to escape the despair, all I can feel is deep sorrow. As the song says, “There but for fortune go you or I.”

    • I have to say this and other’s stories make my heart hurt. Would that everyone could find some kind of peace without taking that final step. Peace and Love,

  23. Rev. Pavlovitz,

    This was a very hard post to read. I’m not sure I should have read it at all. The idea that committing suicide is a selfish solution is all that’s kept me here these last few months.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{Anon}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

      Please hold on tight to whatever keeps you among us. We need you, even though I know you don’t feel as if that is true. Please allow me to believe it for you while you do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

      • Please hold on tight to whatever keeps you among us. We need you, even though I know you don’t feel as if that is true. Please allow me to believe it for you while you do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

        Gloriamarie Amalfitano.

        Thanks you. I wish I knew you IRL. From all of your comments onJP’s page, I truly believe you are one of the good ones.

        I’m trying to stay. Part of my problem (says the nurse practitioner) was that the anti-depressants had the exact opposite effect on me. Drove me straight to the edge. And it was only the fact that my family would have to deal with the aftereffects that kep me here. But, even then, a few times it was a close thing.

        But I’m on new meds and, hopefully, better days lie ahead. Rest assured, though, that I am doing everything I can to stay.

        • Anon, if you use FB, you can friend me there.

          Thank you for the compliment. I screw it up all the time, but I strive to love all as myself.

          I have often remarked that I felt like the psychiatrists were using my body as a test tube or a petrie dish when they experimented upon me with their various anti-depressant meds. Trying one med, going off it, trying a another etc etc was quite stressful.

          When I was at my worst, I had a few simple rules for myself: every day bathe and dress in clean clothes; eat something healthful and nourishing; drink water, and accomplish one chore. After that, I could do whatever I felt like, go back to bed, read, watch TV.

          It was astonishing how hard that was to do, but spending entire days without basic grooming, eating junk food, only made me much more depressed.

  24. May I please ask your thoughts about a particular case? A police man in the suburbs of Chicago created an elaborate death and after days of community and law enforcement looking “for the killers” it was determined he had committed suicide.
    The community had had an ENORMOUS out pouring of fundraisers for his family, commerative ceremonies, hours/days of TV coverage of his weeping widow and her shocked son’s. In the end it turns out he had committed sexual harassment over and over, been put on desk duty for these incidents (not terminated), had been stealing thousands of dollars from Boy Scout funds and was going to be investigated along with his wife. As it turns out she knew he was stealing and went along with it. He left her “holding the bag”. and yes, was now labelled a coward for taking the “easy way out” as they said.

    How does one on the outside of this situation understand or just fun all this man did to his family, community, departments, co-workers? He turned everything upside down not to mention man hours and thousands of dollars spent in the early part of the investigation looking for the suspects.

    It was probably his darkest hours but the aftermath is still going on. This truly baffles me. Can anyone tell me how this state of despair was an act of kindness to his children? I think I could call it cowardice….

  25. “I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where …”

    You also state callous feelings of unknowing.
    I feel you have left out a huge community of people. Those left behind. I have lost sooooo many friends, and family members in this horrific manner.
    I personally am getting treatment for the PTSD and survivors guilt that comes with being a TRUE VICTIM of suicide!
    Ohhh and the children, oh my gosh you have no idea! Yes, selfish indeed. We have to get help, these babies are in intense therapy, so that they dont follow their family/peer/neighbor footsteps!
    Your article misses the largest community of all , those affected severly by the decision.
    A daddy in a psych hospital /treatment center is so much easier to cope with, than one who CHOSE to leave.

    Callous? No..not hardly. My baby sisters, first husband, great friends…
    Yep, oh and I am 26yrs sober, rape, gang rape, buried alive victim eho also has a terminal illness. Callous? No…
    We adopted many children from horrific situations. We have 7…think about it…
    How SELFISH would it be, if I just threw in the towel?
    #seizetheday #seizethemoment

    • Amen! I’ve also been through my own personal hell and dealt with deep depression. I lost two family members (one intentional & one accidental), one step son and the love of my life to suicide. It IS selfish to intentionally take your own life so as to end your own suffering. I’ve considered it. Still, somewhere that little voice reminds me of the ones who will suffer for my decision. That and my faith in God are what save me from joining those who SELFISHLY remove themselves from the equation of life.

  26. I dont thing everyone who says that does it with malice or to shame the deceased. For some that responsibility to their loved ones, that feeling that is is selfish has kept them alive. Maybe sone people who say they dont say it from a park or desk lacking a frame of refrence. Maybe that thought has kept them alive for years through the darkness of their own depression. Maybe right after someone dies of suicide, they are jealous and must remind themselves.

  27. Actually, there are two types of people who say this.

    The other is someone who HAS been through this and DOES know the pain and develops a pious attitude towards the subject because they now know best.

    These people usually lack the insight of subjectivity and usually mean well (like ex smokers who found it easy to give up and start preaching to others), but think they have all the answers. Their way of thinking is absolute because that’s how they’ve also had to view the world to survive.

  28. Suicide is so sad. And I believe it is ultimately a selfish act. I say it as a person that tried it and came very close to succeeding, close enough that my organs were shutting down and the doctor told me to call my family which I did not. And my body started working again and I lived. I did not have children then. But when I did I got very ill to where I would have ended my life if it were not for them. I was losing abilities fast and was in hideous pain physically and mentally every day. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong and I was left in despair. I refused to take my life because of my children. It would have been selfish to die and leave them motherless. I don’t know how I got through it. I also say it is selfish because my kids dad killed himself and I see what it did to them. Yes its f—ing selfish and this article assumes someone who has been there would not think so.

    • I don’t know exactly why but I’m with ou Mary. We are in the minority and I’ve struggled with this thought as well but cannot bring myself to think it’s not a selfish act. If it’s not selfish, then what is it? Just crazy? You were BRAVE enough to make through it and that’s what every day survivors of the ultimate fate are doing and it is extremely commendable. I’ll probably gret grilled over coals but I believe that there’s gotta be even the most faintest of rays of light in any situation, If not, then your mind is no longer your own and that’s that.

      • John Porter, If thinking suicide is a selfish act is what prevents anyone from killing themselves, then I encourage people to continue to do that, if that is what it takes to keep them among the living.

        For me, when I was my closest to killing myself, it was predicated by deep agony and an even deeper sense of having been abandoned by all who I thought cared about me. The despair was nigh overwhelming.

        What stopped me was knowing the police would send my cats to a shelter. As all the shelters where I lived were kill shelters, I didn’t want my cats to die because I found my life unbearable.

        If someone on the brink of suicide finds anything at all to hold onto, I don’t care what it is. I want them to grasp it as hard as they can and stay among the living.

        • “If someone on the brink of suicide finds anything at all to hold onto, I don’t care what it is. I want them to grasp it as hard as they can and stay among the living.”

          Thank You Gloriamarie! This is exactly why I am still here. What I grasped as hard as I could, was for my children. I saw through the years what happened to children whose parent committed suicide, and how their children were impacted by their parents. How the children found their fathers head that their father shot himself, so horrible what they saw, their lives were changed forever, and not anything good for them, still alive, but not really. The others that I saw that when a parent committed suicide, three different times one child committed suicide within 2 years when one of their parent had done that, within 2 years time!

          These are why I grasped so hard so that it was for my children, and why I was afraid that my suicide could harm my children.

  29. Rather than leave a comment for everyone who was brave enough to tell of their own journey with depression and suicidal thoughts, (you can Thank me John) I just wanted to say that by so doing, you are helping those of us on the outside looking in, to understand and perhaps, if we pay enough attention, help someone we know who is struggling. So I wanted to take this opportunity to Thank you all for your bravery, your tenacity and to say that your value is immeasurable. Peace and Love,

  30. Thanks for this post. I have been reading so many comments who are calling his death is a selfish act and he did not think of his 6 kids. Can they imagine how this kind of comment will impact on his kids maybe?!! It is very easy to say things. I have tried to say my depression and about suicide out loud (to a friend) and in response all I got was “Did you ever think of me what it would do to me if you commit suicide? Have you ever thought that how would I feel thinking you want to die? Try to think from my perspective!”
    I know I wanted to die just die somehow (still do sometimes) and even thought of my family because I am the one who is taking care of them currently and If I’d have died they’d be in a much worse place than we are now. But was I selfish to think of that? Did I wanted attention? Is committing suicide a cry for help? Was I crying for help? Am I trying to attract people’s attention even writing this comment here? Is it so bad to want to be loved or wanting all the bad things to go away? I feel like I’m stuck and all hope to move on forward is lost. One day I get up all well and the same day I feel like this life should just end. Next day I wake up depressed and by the end I might feel hopeful. I so wanted to die somehow in sleep or wanted my cab hit something or hit by something. Was I cowardly that I had no strength to take my own life? I thought about it but I could not do it. It is so tricky how mind plays games! But I am here surviving…

  31. I am sorry for your loss.

    However your assessment that the ONLY people who say suicide is selfish have never been there themselves, is simply not true. I’ve been to that dark edge several times myself, plus I’ve known 8 people who’ve taken their lives, three of them I knew very well.

    The reality is that suicide IS selfish. It is the very definition of being “self-ish” in the sense that the person is obsessed with things that hurt them. They are upset about their own choices, their own addiction, their own failings. Their pain. The pain they have inflicted on others… but ultimately, it’s deeply personal and self-oriented.

    However what these armchair psychiatrists are missing out on is that saying these people are selfish doesn’t help anyone. It’s sad, and it misses the point. We need to be more sympathetic to people who are struggling. We need to take mental illness seriously and not define it as “weakness.” We need mandatory healthcare coverage of all health issues, including addiction and all forms of mental health.

    Even these wealthy, famous individuals need help, and I wonder who was around them before they passed away? What were they saying to them? Did they get the support that they need? Unconditional love? These folks need help, not scorn. Not “alone time.” They need love.

  32. I completely disagree with your article. Your realization is blurred by your own opinion. As you wrote : (I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where Chester Bennington was in his final moments, or where Chris Cornell was, or where 121 people in the US are every single day). I suffer from severe Bipolar Depression. I have been in some dark places in my life. I’ve also found help and medication. I’ve felt like a clinical guinea pig and hopeless at times when the meds weren’t working or made things worse. I’ve had some completely miserable points in my life. I pushed forward because the moment I decided to marry and have children my life no longer became just about ME. Suicide is completely selfish and weak. I’ve lived a very hard life and was raised in an unfavorable household. I was sexually molested as a young child by a neighbor. I was mentally and physically abused by my father. I overcame all of this and put my children before myself. Of course on the days I couldn’t get out of bed and function like a normal person or the nights my mind wouldn’t shut off due to the meds I wanted to end it. I also remembered there are two kids I brought into this world that need me. I fought to find the right meds and help. I might’ve not been the best Mom through some of my dark times but my kids are still here and happy. I’ve lost marriages and relationships due to my unstable behavior. It takes a lot of work to exist some days. I owe my kids and grand kids more than to just leave an empty spot in their lives. My parents are still alive and don’t deserve to carry the hurt and burden of raising children I brought into this world. Life is hard but we have to think about our commitments we’ve made over our misery. Find happiness and stop putting yourselves before others.

  33. I am one of very few people left on the planet (it seems) who believes 120% that suicide is absolutely selfish. Before you jump on me, I have a failed suicide attempt under my belt.

    It… is…

    The other day, someone on facebook went on a “suicide is not selfish” shpeel and someone commented and said, “There is nothing like being the survivor of a suicide victim and hearing this all the time.” The man, a middle aged son of the man who killed himself relived the horror of finding his dad with his sister and mother. He explained that he got to grow up in a world without his father and asking why he saw his pain as more important than that of his children’s and mother’s pain.

    Everyone who says it’s not selfish needs to understand something.

    THE ACT is… Not the feelings, not the despair, not sitting with the gun in your hands thinking about it. Those are not the selfish things, it’s the ACT that is selfish. The act says, ‘my pain is more important than your pain when I’m gone.’ The act focuses on you and your problems only.

    I have known people who were suicidal and they have no idea that the person who sometimes pulls them out of it (me) has had it ten/twenty/a hundred times worse.

    When I was going to kill myself a second time (try to), I realized that there was something more important than ME… and “my pain” and the act of listening to those thoughts pulled me away from suicide (which was NOT selfish)… Now I celebrate life even though I’m very sick and suffering and I’ve helped countless people. THAT is not selfish.

    Killing myself would have been selfish.

    Understand that we’re not saying it’s selfish in the way that most people hear it. It’s not as if the person is sitting there thinking about how greedy or selfish they are. We get that. They are hopeless, and that is COMPLETELY understandable.

    But when you care MORE about ending your life than being there for your friends and family, I’m sorry, the act is selfish.

    Think about it the next time you have a pistol in your hand and want to do it. There are still people who need you. <3

    • Wow, my thoughts EXACTLY and thank you for making it as clear as possible. Those of us that have been fortunate enough not to be in those very dark places seem to not have a leg to stand on discussing this subject, in the eyes of the ones that say we’re insensitive and “assholes.” You’ve been there (I’m sorry), as well as others in replies here and you’re offering a ‘sobering’ perspective on the subject.

  34. Pingback: Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington has died - Page 2

    • You have a right to your opinion but until you have been there or lost a loved one to this horrible mental illness you will never understand

      I lost my husband of 16 years to this tragedy and I myself have been suffering from depression since I was a young child. I also suffer from sever anxiety which makes everything even worse.

      I take my medication and go to a councilor but still there are days for weeks on end that I struggle not to take my life. What keeps me going I don’t know. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones if you can call it that but I call it hell.

      To all those fighting the fight or that have lost a loved one my heart goes out to you. This is truly one of the hardest things to deal with. I hope the ones who have lost their fight find the peace that they so desperately needed.

  35. There’s a black hole and you have fallen into it. You reach for help to get out or you try to get out by yourself and it’s not happening. You are stuck in this hole where you feel no one cares or loves you. They don’t understand what is going on inside of your brain. This is how I felt. Call suicide what you want. If you haven’t been there then don’t criticize anyone who has done it or tried it. It’s not fun and you lose friends a lot of times.

  36. It’s selfish because there are people with cancer who are fight to live or serious illness that will kill them and they don’t have choice or the people get murder or die car accident they wanted to live and they didn’t get to choose. LIFE IS GIFT. YOU TOOK IT FOR GRANTED.

    • Just because mental illness has to do with the head and not the body does NOT make it any less significant! Mental illness can be just as debilitating any car accident, and just as terrifying as cancer. It can change the life of a sufferer just as drastically as any possible thing that could happen to a body. And people with mental illness definitely don’t chose to have it, nor do they always have the power to not act on what that illness makes them believe. If you can’t understand this, you’ve simply never been in that state. I hope you are fortunate enough to never know it.

  37. Shaming the dead? ? Because I am left in a mess? I AM A MESS. Im on my own literally. Its very difficult having everyone elses needs met most of my life. What about my shame? Im alive. The dead are dead. what stops me from taking my life? Knowing the pain It would cause our children. That would be so unfair. Thats what stops me. I have empathy…foresight…compassion in that way. They have had enough pain. Believe me..after I found him…I didnt want to be around anymore. My world disolved in front of me. I now “Live for others.”
    I forced myself out .. I volunteer..I help others. A real saviour and it wasnt easy.

    • Caz, I am very sorry for your pain. May I express the hope that you have a team of mental health professionals to assist you?

      You are being so strong for your children, but at what cost to yourself?

      In my own life, I have had depression so profoundly dark and deep that I might as well have fallen into a well. There were times when I ignored it and soldiered on with the result that I only made myself more ill.

      Please be gentle with yourself. You deserve it.

  38. I firmly believe that suicide is a mental health issue. Simple to say however for many difficult to understand. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc are physical diseases which kill. Do we blame the cancer victim who dies…no. Then why do we have such a difficult time understanding that the person who died from suicide suffered a terrible disease which eventually took his or her life. Did the person have more choice than the person who suffers a massive stroke or was the death a consequence of a fatal disease? I truly do not see the difference and don’t comprehend why some people insist that a person who committed suicide made a conscious decision to die. For people who are left behind it is important to understand that that the death of a loved one through suicide has little to do with you just as death through cardiovascular disease was not yours to take on!

    • Paul wrote, “For people who are left behind it is important to understand that that the death of a loved one through suicide has little to do with you just as death through cardiovascular disease was not yours to take on!”

      Briliantly expressed.

      I wonder, sometimes, if it would be helpful if we dropped the word “mental” altogether as it misleads us into thinking the ill person might have some control over the mind as would a non-ill person?

      At one time I was of the opinion we should replace “mental illness” with “brain disorder” but that is also incorrect as science is telling us of genetic dispositions, genetic markers as well as the existence of neurotransmitters in the intestines that may be more important than the ones in the brain.

      Beginning to believe that all of the illnesses which we label “mental” are as physical as cancer, diabetes, pneumonia, the common cold, etc.

  39. This post was spot on. I’ve never understood why people called suicide “cowardly” (if anything, it actually takes a lot of guts), and if someone is in so much pain that death is preferable to them, calling them “selfish” for ending that pain is absurd.

    My guess is that the whole cowardly/selfish myth is a societal mechanism to discourage suicide or something.

    • its just a prejudice society is full of them and this is just another , but the fact is it shouldnt be called suicide if the person is suffering mental illness , if they are bi polar etc if they have clinical depression and been on medication it is not suicide there not there to make a choice ,whether they love or are loved .To end there suffering there mental pain there constant thoughts of not being here to suffer of there suffering ending its no way suicide .The person passes away just the same as if hit by a bus .

  40. “They are people who (fortunately for them) have the luxury of their ignorance, who’ve never walked through this unrivaled internal Hell and wanted nothing more than to get out.”

    -Just because people do not feel suicidal, or have suicidal thoughts, does not make them ignorant. Stupidest thing I read. After reading that I stopped reading this article.

    • The ignorance is that you’ve never felt suicidal. Yes, you are ignorant of that life-threatening despair.

      The fact that you stopped reading but still commented, shows you don’t really care about those the post speaks to.

    • Emily wrote, “-Just because people do not feel suicidal, or have suicidal thoughts, does not make them ignorant. Stupidest thing I read. After reading that I stopped reading this article.”

      I am sorry you chose to stop reading the article. I am sorrier that you chose to make this comment because as a person disabled due to Major Depressive Disorder for many decades who has struggled with thoughts of suicide for many decades, your comment is a slap in my face.

      Elsewhere in these comments you may find, if you are so inclined a rather longish comment I wrote about some of my experiences with depression and with “Christians.” What you wrote reminds me of all the many “Christians” who couldn’t be bothered to become correctly informed about the nature of this disease.

  41. I would be more concerned about the people closest to the victim. Did they not see any signs or behavior changes? Were their loved ones to caught up with their own selves to see what was going on? Did they just accept it when the victim claimed they were fine or “ok” because they were too busy or whatever the reason. Maybe people should pay more attention to so-called loved ones and get them help.

    • Aimee, when I ask someone “How are you?” and they say “ok” or “fine” I immediately ask, “Are you really or are you just saying that because I really want to know how you really are.”

  42. So, according to the Bible, suicide is a sin. It is not the “greatest” sin—it is no worse than other evils, in terms of how God sees it, and it does not determine a person’s eternal destiny. However, suicide definitely has a deep and lasting impact on those left behind. The painful scars left by a suicide do not heal easily. May God grant His grace to each one who is facing trials today (Psalm 67:1). And may each of us take hope in the promise, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

      • It is as sin, but I doubt that many who commit suicide are morally culpable.

        (I have three suicides in my family. An uncle, an aunt, and a cousin, all on my father’s side. Possibly one more aunt on my father’s side who I suspect also committed suicide but her death was ruled an accidental overdose).
        “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide” (#2282). This qualification does not make suicide a right action in any circumstance; however, it does make us realize that the person may not be totally culpable for the action because of various circumstances or personal conditions.

    • Colleen wrote, “So, according to the Bible, suicide is a sin.”

      Where, please?

      Even if you can prove your assertion, so what if it is? Jesus rose from the dead so that we are forgiven our sins before we ever commit them.

      To tell a grieving person that suicide is a sin is like a knife to the heart.

      • Gloriamarie. ‘Catherine’ was not conversing with a grieving person . She was stating the bible truth, taking a human life is a sin. [It’s not unforgivable.]

        [If the suicide did nothing wrong, then there would be no need for forgiveness.]

        Yet, people left behind, do seem to go through stages of grief, shock, denial, pain, guilt, anger, depression, which would probably include the step of Forgiveness –for themselves too.

        Personally, I’ve had a few young people tell me that they have not tried to commit suicide because ‘God won’t forgive me.” Because, they were having suicide ideation, I did not ‘correct’ them. I wasn’t sure what to do in that situation. Of course I made sure they got assistance they needed at the time.

    • The ancient Jewish zealots at Masada committed organized suicide rather than be killed or taken by the Romans. I feel sure that they weighed “Thou shalt not kill” as part of that equation.

      By the way, after the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals utterly fail in all their attempts to discriminate against and persecute LGBTQ people—within just a couple of years. The knew left wing issue that will likely come to the fore is human euthanasia for terminally ill patients who will suffer enormously for weeks—unable to die—suffering that we have our doctors alleviate in our pets—but not in people. I have not formulated a position one way or another myself—but I am betting the fundies will go nuts when it finally comes up. It will come up as a major, front-and-center national issue.

      Funny thing is though, I have only rarely heard a fund object immediately on a strictly Biblical argument. The first thing out of their mouths is usually:

      “No!!!! I know how selfish the members of my family are. They would take me out early just to get what I own as quickly as possible!!!”

      • We have already had the euthanasia discussion in Canada. While people are reasonably aghast at an unnatural early death, they often don’t realise that its opposite exists: an unnaturally extended life. If a disease is going to kill someone, no further healing is reasonably thought to be possible, and the person is artificially being held alive in any kind of agony, be it physical, emotional or mental, the patient (who must be of sound mind) can elect to have a physician assisted death. No one can decide this for them and safeguards are in place to verify that the patient is not being pressured.

        The Netherlands has had this in place for long enough that already they are seeing some interesting trends. A surprising percentage of people who apply for and are granted the right to die do not then go ahead with it. Knowing that there is an available option for the cessation of pain and discomfort eases the mind. These patients live longer in comfort than those who are fretting about a messy, painful end.

  43. Or, you know, people can actually get help, there are actually people and groups dedicated to helping those who have these feelings. Suicide is never the answer. Period.

    • Steven wrote, “Or, you know, people can actually get help, there are actually people and groups dedicated to helping those who have these feelings. Suicide is never the answer. Period.”

      Well, just ouch.

      Steven, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and think that you yourself have no personal experience with this illness and that you have been blessed to have no family, friends, or anyone you have ever known to have depression.

      Because I gotta tell you, such a prescription you cite is Just Not That Easy. I suspect you say that from a lack of information and experience. You have know idea how the Insidious Dark saps one energy, especially when one has to listen to this and other such comments.

      I have already written a very long and detailed comment that is posted somewhere in these comments. I wish you would read it so that in the future if depression touches your life in some way, you would have something much more constructive to say.

  44. My ex-husband committed suicide at 45 years in Feb 2015. I found it very hard to explain this to our son who was 10 yrs old when it happened. I was afraid it might affect him later in life and lead to depression if it wasn’t handled correctly. There were many factors that led to it including unemployment, harrassment from others and also bipolar illness. But I believe a person can die only if God needs them back with Him. It isn’t anyone’s fault, not their own or anyone else’s. God just wants to take them away at that point and it’s their time to go.

  45. I have to get this off my chest…….This is just how I feel after seeing some horrible things posted online tonight.
    I will never understand how some people can be so judgmental of others especially when it comes to suicide.
    I understand we are all allowed our own opinions and this is just mine, but under no circumstances will I be friends with someone that is going to bash and degrade someone because they make the choice to commit suicide. We have no right to judge anyone for what they do, especially when it does come to suicide. We are not in those peoples heads. We have no idea what they are going through, what they are thinking. Who are we to judge them for that. I understand that suicide is wrong in so many ways, but that is not for me to judge. Only God can make that judgement.
    I have come so close so many times to taking my own life over the years, and was told I was selfish, and that may be so, but at the time I did not think so because I wasn’t thinking clearly. When a person is on the verge of committing suicide it has nothing to do with being selfish, trust me. It’s not about that. Unless you have been there and gone through that, you will never understand how difficult it truly is to get to that point and then follow through. Everyone says they took the easy way out, Well let me tell you, its by far easy. It is the hardest thing in the world to do.
    I know that not a lot of people will agree with me, and that is perfectly ok, that is not what this post is about.
    Suicide is not a joke, and its becoming an epidemic these days. Every time we turn around, we are loosing more and more people to suicide. I have lost so many people in my life to suicide that I have become numb to it. My heart breaks more and more to a point I can no longer cry tears when I hear of another friend/family member passing due to suicide. And it’s sad that when we get that phone call about someone who has passed away, that a majority of the time our first thought is did that person kill themselves, I know it is with me more and more. And we tell ourselves, OMG I wish there was more I could of done to help them. I wish they could of seen that they were loved, that they did have people who cared about them. The fact is, they know that already, and that is not the problem. The problem is when people get to that point in their lives that they feel suicide is the only answer, then some where along the line that pain they were feeling that caused them to do what they did, was so deep that no matter how much love and people were in there lives, it wasn’t going to heal their pain. That pain is so unbearable at times, that most times there is no healing process or pills that can take it away. No matter how much you try, that hurt what ever it may be, will never go away and never leaves you.
    I know I am just rambling on to some of you, and maybe most of you. But please please, dont think that when someone takes their own life that for one minute that they were selfish, because in reality they are just hurting so bad that they honestly did not know what else to do. That down deep in the depths of their soles they truly feel that everyone and everything would be so much better if they were honestly and truly gone for good. Its a vicious cycle and that is what depression does to people.
    So please, the next time you hear of someone that has committed suicide, or is contemplating taking their own lives, please remember one thing, they were good people and are good people, they just got lost along the way and stumbled and fell. Some will get back up and others never will.
    Try to be kind to one another the best you can, and if you think that someone needs help please dont hesitate to get involved and do something. You just never know, one day you may save a life, just by being there, and extending your hand or ear ~~~~~

  46. Thank You, John!

    I’ve often found that those who are quick to call suicide (and other maladies) selfish, etc. are the same folks who want to set you on fire for calling them fat, lazy, etc. — they want to shame others in order to avoid facing what they are ashamed of about themselves.

  47. way out
    © 2017 J. Bruce Wilcox
    Written in 1998.

    angel of death- my guardian dear
    i close my eyes and see you near
    old friend- new friend- call my name
    that time- this time come again

    angel of death- i look within
    i see your face- i see my end
    i came- i ran this human race
    could it be time to leave this place?

    angel of death- my one companion
    i must release feeling abandoned
    come- pick me up and take me home
    let me cease- no more to roam

    angel of death- i’m committed to you
    nowhere to go- nothing to do
    stop on by- i await your knock
    walk right in- my door’s unlocked

    angel of death- i know my grief
    help me please- i seek relief
    i know that peace is also here
    a simple task- let go of fear

    angel of death- it’s just a game
    to win- to lose- fortune or fame
    i know that it’s all an illusion
    has this life reached its conclusion?

    angel of death- please come today
    love me- heal me- light my way
    you know i’m ready- have been for years
    don’t want to stay- too many tears

    angel of death- i merge with you
    that’s the way to see me through
    this side- that side- all the same
    i call to you- i speak your name

    angel of death- come blow your horn
    this time i seek to be reborn
    reborn as light and not as matter
    from the former to the latter

    angel of death- i followed my plan
    created my art- became what i am
    found my self-worth amidst the trauma
    died again and again- rewrote the drama

    angel of death- i surrender the play
    there’s nothing left with which to pay
    i’ve struggled enough- it’s time to go
    fly me away and end this show

    angel of death- with reason and rhyme
    have i not yet completed this lifetime?
    i seek an ending to all my pain
    it must be freedom i will gain

    angel of death- i’ve not given up
    but i will not fight- so fill my cup
    come to my home- visit me now
    oh- i forgot… i’m homeless- somehow

    angel of death- i’ve a broken heart
    at least i’ve left behind my art
    angel of death- i call your name
    funny- somehow- my name’s the same

    angel of death- my oldest friend
    my one true love- is this the end?
    the mirror shows a face that’s mine
    your face too- angel divine

    • The angel of death will come for all of us through old age, illness, accident or even murder. I hope we won’t need to decide for ourselves through suicide which is by far the most horrible because we are going to die anyway someday and we shouldn’t need to deliberately shorten our own lives. It seems wrong somehow. It’s very disturbing that a person should be able to do it. That means anyone can and it shouldn’t be an option at all. God is giving us the choice to do it or not which is too scary.

  48. If you want to say “selfish”, call the illness selfish and all-consuming, not the person. Depression is like a black hole that feels impossible to get out of. And yes, even a suicidal person deserves respect after their death.

    • Colleen, I believe people who have committed suicide are safe in the arms of Jesus and have found solace.

      • ” I believe people who have committed suicide are safe in the arms of Jesus and have found solace.” stop encouraging people to suicide. no matter that they dont have a body they still feel pain. even worse pain because they see what they did and they cant turn back time. so every suicider feel worse pain after death than before.

        • ann wrote, “” I believe people who have committed suicide are safe in the arms of Jesus and have found solace.” stop encouraging people to suicide. no matter that they dont have a body they still feel pain.”

          Well, now my first kneejerk reaction is that you really have no compassion as well as not knowing how to read.

          If you have read any of the other comments I’ve made in this discussion, you would see that I encourage no one to commit suicide.

          But because you are a person without compassion, empathy, and sympathy and so you are unable to recognize that my words were meant to comfort those who have lost someone to suicide.

  49. Well said John P. I think that many comments, about suicide or any other issue are put forth from a profound ignorance and therefore can never be helpful or comforting to anyone. I have heard actual, practicing psychologists say some of the most harmful, incredible, and cruel comments in general about the people they see and think they know. So I no longer seriously advocate that “getting help” is the one answer.

    The burdens in this world, added to the true demons that haunt a human brain can lead someone to suicide. Whether the demon is drugs, alcohol, physical illness. mental illness, a combination of them or just reality of choices crowding in on you, the end result can be suicide or mental breakdown.

    People can, and do, spend their lives trying to hold someone else together and trying to give them the support, love and reason to live, but in the end, it may not be enough. And that is a terrible burden for anyone to carry as well.

    For many, many people who commit suicide, I think it comes down to a vortex of reasons all swirling in your mind and they convince you that those you love, those who love you, will be “better off” without you, your pain, your drama, your failures, your problems, your hardship in their lives. I really believe they are often doing what they see as best for those they love as much as ending their own pain. In that light, it is a true act of love, compassion and strength.

    Unless you have been there, you cannot know. Yet, I would not wish being there on my worst enemy. You cannot know how dark it can be until you see that darkness.

    • Sandi,

      You couldn’t of said it any better. Yes, when I almost succeeded in my suicide attempt I was doing it because I felt that I was doing it for the betterment of my family. They wouldn’t have to deal with my addiction, they wouldn’t have to deal with all my failures, the disappointments, and the list went on. I felt that once they were free from all the bad I brought with me their lives would of been so much better and they could have the life that they deserved.

      • I am very thankful that you did not give in to that thinking Tammy, and I am sure your family is too. Those voices in your head can be very powerful but they never tell the whole story and the loss is more profound than the issues the living deal with. I promise!

  50. Well said. As someone who has also stared into that dark abyss, I thank you for standing up and saying it. I’ve contemplated suicide, and I didn’t feel weak or selfish. I wasn’t thinking about anything except how completely helpless I felt, how worthless, like my life meant nothing, and nothing would ever get better. I found my strength in my God, but I don’t judge those who couldn’t find their way out. I pray for them. I always hope that somehow, they’ve found the light they couldn’t see before.

  51. The problem with counseling is that it attempts to use words.

    Words to someone in a depressed panick are the same as words from a disinterested girl to a courtier. The words become twisted in the hearer’s favour, the meanings and contexts blocked out; the mind only recognizing and processing what it wants to and doesn’t even know the rest is there.

    When I’m in a depressed panick, speaking words to me triggers me the same as if hearing the scraping of the blade of a guillotine. My mind is past its failsafe, it is overloaded with the end of time, it cannot process words, it cannot process happiness, positivity, or anything for that matter.

    But I know you are there. What do you do to cool down a steaming pot of water? You don’t shout at it. You let it sit. You understand that the only way for it to cool down, is time and temperature.

    When you don’t speak words, you give no impression that you are trying to counsel me with the same positivity bullshit that I feel only as searing hot irons because, it doesn’t resonate. And when your presence does not remind me of the preachers who preach happiness but do not personally care, then your presence speaks to me. Not your words, but your gentle presence next to me. Your hand on my shoulder. An embrace. A hug. To know that you are with me, with no hostile intent to my ironic solitude.

    Let me tell you a story.

    Once long ago, I befriended through online communication, a girl, I believe in Singapore (I’m in US). She was very secretive about her profession, but she was in high level law enforcement and it was understandable when she spoke to me of depression, possibly traumatic depression.

    One night she was having suicidal thoughts. It was fortunate that she managed to reveal this information to me. But I think she felt safe because I did not judge her depression, as I was also depressed. I usually listened, and rarely tried to advise her on emotional matters.

    And then I asked her to do me a favor. I described to her a vision, of the exact place and time she would commit suicide, by the edge of the sea. It was an open night sky, where she would be completely safe and alone, to reflect on her life without scrutiny. And I told her that I would go there with her, together. I asked her to play the scene out in her head. And together in our imaginations, we walked to the the imagined destination of her suicide. And then I told her, that we had arrived at the place, and the time has come. Whatever she decides, whether to live or die, I would support her decision fully, because it was her suffering, and it would be her decision. And that if she did die, I would know in my heart, that she would finally achieve peace and happiness, and it would be a crime for me to bar her from that. And that while her death would make me sad, I honor this moment, I cherish our companionship, and smile, knowing that she would find happiness at last.

    And I asked her, whenever ready, to make her decision.

    And she said thank you. And she hugged me (in text of course).

    We spoke the next day. She seemed almost to have forgotten what transpired the night before. She had returned to her usual self, not too cheery, but not too sad either. Just a normal girl.

    A couple of days later she informed me that she was going away on an assignment. I haven’t heard from her since.

    May she still be out there, saving good people’s lives and serving justice where it is needed.

    When someone is depressed, words will fail. In a world dominated by words, I believe this is why it has become harder to “identify” and “treat” depression. Because it has become increasingly impossible to offer intimacy. To offer our body sitting next to theirs, all night long. You can still be typing away on facebook, but the difference is that you’re right next to them, and sometimes patting their shoulder, but never saying anything. And when they leave you follow them. And if you are a bad trigger for them, then you need to make sure someone they like sits with them. Words will not work. Words can be twisted and turned. Intimacy is beyond words.

    Will you offer, your presence? Your warm, loving, but always neutral, presence?

    Let’s sit a while, and not talk. And even if I want you to go, it means I want you to fight to stay, to show that I mean something to you, but I can’t tell you because my emotions are twisting out of control. I need your light, but I need you emotionally, not consciously. My consciousness is twisting on itself. But we can still find each other.

    I just need time. Time that I don’t know I have. This is so complicated. But I still need you.

    In the past year or two, I have almost gotten over my depression. Almost. But what I have gained is an almost objective viewpoint of my particular case of depression, by just studying what I need and retrospectively examining my breakdowns. What you have read is the bulk of what I have realized.

      • ann wrote, “” she would finally achieve peace and happiness,” thats not how suicide works.”

        Isn’t it? I think I’d find peace and happiness in Jesus’ arms which is where suicides end up.

        How dare you take that comforting thought from anyone? Is it more important to you to be what you deem to “theologically correct” than to show compassion, empathy, and sympathy to the bereaved?

    • Exactly, when I have stayed with people I knew that wanted to kill themselves being there, no judgement, no advice, just being there with them and listening to them, is the key. Pain shared is pain halved and if the pain is halved many people, not all, can be saved from suicide. Sometimes there is no other way out of here. I can understand that. If there is another way they must find it, you can’t give it to them.

  52. There is an element of selfishness to it. But, you don’t know how many times he has come to the precipice. How many times he turned away from the despair. He probably has made the selfless choice hundreds of times and in a moment weakness made the wrong choice once because he was human.

  53. John,

    Thank you so much for those words! I have been at those steps. I am only here for the grace of God, my neighbors found me seconds before it was too late. I have been there before after that, I know that darkness, I have seen that darkness since then, I have seen it recently.

    It is so hard when you are in that darkness to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. You know that it is there in the back of your mind somewhere but you cannot see it. We need more people like you in the mental health profession that understands that when we are in that dark place there is a reason and we can’t see that light and we need the help to see that light.

    When one is that depressed and feeling that hopeless it is just so very heavy.

  54. Thanks for this article.

    My life was given to me by my parents, and it’s mine. Nobody else’s. There is nothing more personal and I really don’t care what strangers think I should or shouldn’t do with my life. Frankly, they can just go f*** themselves.

    I’ll decide when it’s my time to go. It won’t be a selfish or cowardly decision, like everything else in my life it will be a thought out and logical decision. The kinds of deciding factors to be considered are these:

    – Am I facing a decline in standard of living, financially or health wise between now and when I naturally croak? Do I want to live with that?
    – Will continuing to live drag down the lives around me and drain the financial resources that I could otherwise pass to those I care for?
    – Is short term grief for those close to me caused by my ending – like ripping off a band-aid – better than the long-term misery of seeing me degrade, followed by the inevitable same short term grief?
    – Are my affairs in order so that my ending isn’t a burden on those close to me?

    Maybe some suicide is impulsive/cowardly/selfish. Mine wouldn’t/won’t be any of those things. It will be a well thought out and well planned decision. People shouldn’t assume anything.

  55. Well admittedly I didn’t get through every one of these comments, but I am sorry for every loss I have read. In the same breath, I am going to challenge this article. Suicide is a selfish act. A little over a year ago I was screaming for doctors and nurses to just let me die in an emergency room as they acted to successfully save me from a poorly executed suicide attempt.

    In those moments before I lost control, while I felt completely separated from my body and lay in bed as if nothing would ever matter again, I was selfish by definition. I lacked consideration for others and only concerned myself with my own pain and suffering.

    There are days now, when I look to the future that did get better with help, love and support, I thank my lucky stars that I had a boyfriend and parents to sound the alarms and drag me to the ER. I look to my parents and sisters and friends and boyfriend, and sometimes I cry. I cry because I almost left them but they wouldn’t let me go. And on days where I STILL feel that bad, and I STILL want to die, I look at the pit of horror I feel I face, and back again at the faces that love me and cherish me and help me hope for a better tomorrow, and I do just that. I hope tomorrow will be better, even if most of the time it’s not.

    I’m sorry for the losses that you have all suffered. But the people you love were not “taken from you” by depression. They chose to not ask for help that I’m sure you would have given them, and instead gave up on life. Honestly, knowing that my friends and family would think I was selfish always kept me alive when I was younger. I lost my way for a moment and turned to the “dark place” this article references, but I’m glad I found the light again. People indulge in suicide like sweet release. It IS selfish. Don’t let people forget that. There are some still with us that use that as a reason enough to stay alive.

  56. “I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where Chester Bennington was in his final moments…”

    No, not at all. I’m there at least once a week. I have extreme depression and I’ve tried everything to fix it. My brain is just broken. It would be so easy and just a huge breath of fresh air if I could just say the hell with it all and end it tonight. But I refuse to do that to my son. I refuse to show him that it’s ok to give up. I refuse to make him think that he wasn’t good enough for me to stick around for. I’ll be there for him as long as I possibly can because I never want him to feel these horrible, nauseating things I feel.

    • I completely agree with all of your points here, it angers me that they would just assume people who think its selfish simply “don’t know what its like”. Thank you for sharing this Jeremy, for all of us that do understand.

  57. my 12 year old sons mum took her own life four years ago she was having lot of therapy in hospital medication etc She had suffered depression for long time .The Coroner verdict was “narrative” this verdict is brought when there are whole variety of factors and simply the word suicide does not evoke the full story or offer an explanation ,narrative verdict is to see the person and there illness together . This condition depression is far worse than the word itself conveys .Jumping from a fire building could show the desperation ,most of us dont want to die but being burned alive would jump and I guess when your mind is in such a state when the drugs treatment dont seem to work when there is just tunnel and no light , selfish dont even come into it , if you have clinical depression ,she loved her son he was 12 today .pray for a cure . Hand on my heart if you know any one suffering just listen dont judge . peace and love . Sam and Matthew

  58. A few things to consider. 1. Everyone always say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, some times it is a permanent problem that would have lasted the persons lifetime. 2. Everyone calls the suicide victim weak, it takes a lot of mental strength to commit suicide. 3. Everyone calls the suicide victim selfless and that they didn’t of how other people would feel about the death. Aren’t we the selfish ones not thinking about the suicide victim’s feelings and what they were struggling with.

    • I agree Pam. I can see why Robin Williams did it. I can understand why some in 9/11 did. I can understand why my grandmother refused physical therapy after her stroke and let herself go. I can understand why my boyfriend crush did it. For him is must have been do it himself or watch others die around him or have someone else kill him eventually for being LGBTQ in the 1980’s (I’m not sure which one). We need to just be there, physically, with them and support their decision. If you are in the foxhole with them usually they chose life, but not always.

  59. “I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where Chester Bennington was in his final moments” I find this a gruesomely untrue statement. As someone who has attempted suicide on three occasions, as well as gone through the loss of a friend to suicide, I completely disagree with this entire thing. I know for a fact it was selfish of me to try to take myself from this world, and it was selfish of my friend as well. There are no excuses, there is always a way out. I still experience depression and occasional suicidal thoughts, but instead of selfishly fulfilling those, I talk to someone and try to get through it. I think most people who have gone through exactly what Chester did and survived, agree that its a selfish awful thing to do to those around you.

  60. I have issues with this article. This is a subject very personal to me. I tried to kill myself over 50 times in my youth, due to extreme trauma and abuse. I believe now I am just not meant to die that way. BUT, I didn’t come to that line of thinking because my efforts did not work, I would have kept trying. Until my brother and dear friend, both committed suicide in the same year. I saw first hand what it does to the people you leave behind. I don’t say suicide is cowardly, but it IS selfish. Coming from someone who has to count the days since I last tried, like a recovering alcoholic, I have to struggle to NOT be selfish for my children, or I would have no motivation to live at all. I hate life. I don’t consider it a blessing but a curse. I don’t think it’s special, or reverent, or spiritual. Life is nothing to me. My children however, are EVERYTHING to me. I suffer this madness of a world for them alone. The last time I tried to kill myself was April of 2003.
    I think when you remove the stigma and the shame, you give people less of a reason to hang on. Everytime someone does this, I believe we should REMIND THE LIVING, that suicide is not an option. It does not take away your pain, it just gives it to someone else. (In this case- his six children) Which is most definitely selfish.

    • Good point Kerryanne, I meet with many that have trauma in their narrative and state that while life is not worth it to them, they are hanging around due to deterrents to self harm, like children, taking care of a family member, etc.
      Find strength. and make sure your children do not become the sole reason. This can bare too much of a burden on them.

  61. Except those of us who were a abandoned by a parent who committed suicide…a d those of is who have been pushed to the edge of the result of suicide have earned the right to call it a weakness.

    There are times when it is a strength…if you’re sacrificing yourself so that others can live, for example. But otherwise, it *is* weakness.

  62. What a bunch of hippie bullshit.
    The only people that are entitled to commit suicide are terminally ill ones that are also in constant pain. The rest are ignorant weaklings.
    Terminal illness that doesn’t hinder you or your loved ones… well, there’s no reason to hurry dieing now is there?
    Pain alone (physical or mental) can be treated and managed. Life alone is worth the effort. Literally anything else is preferred and objectively better than suicide. Death will come either way.

    • “ignorant weaklings”?

      Wow! This is without a doubt the least compassionate comment on this entire thread. I like to think I’m not ignorant. I haven’t committed suicide (obviously) but my mental instabilities (aided and abetted by the wrong meds) certainly had me headed in that direction. And I’m still not fully stable. I could still spiral out of control. That would not mean that I’m weak. It would mean that my mentally illness defeated me.

    • Well, what a lovely Christian way of expressing yourself. NOT. Did you miss out on the empathy gene. After everything people have shared that’s the best you have. Shame on you.

      • Kathleen, I am very much afraid He of the Many Names is posting as eustache protopopescu. I say that because Many Names has proven to be devoid of all compassion in previous essays about depression and this sounds like the writing style to me.

    • I agree that pain alone can be treated and managed, but not everyone has access to affordable, available health care. And even those who do don’t always get a correct diagnosis or the best treatment plan. We do not live in a perfect world so we cannot expect people to live perfectly.

  63. I appreciate each one of you sharing your stories of pain and loss. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. I appreciate the understanding that each of you brings to this place; although many are similar stories, each is unique in that it’s your experience, it’s your loss, its your pain, and it’s your account of how you made it this far to write in this space.

    I also have lost two young people in my family to suicide. I miss them and think of them often. I personally battle dysthymia to periods of major depression and have been at that precipice twice. I’m blessed to have received intervention from friends and family and listen to them now because sometimes it’s difficult to tell when I’ve gone too low.

    Its hard to put a smile on your face, to keep up that act, and engage people… because you’re always cognizant of their feelings. All I can offer is to just say be honest. Particularly with your family and doctor. There is help.

    I’m not sure about the kind of world we live in when people feel free to cast judgments, particularly on another’s pain. I just have to try and give grace because it’s probably coming from their own pain place also.

    Thanks for sharing. And I know it may not feel like it for some of you and you might feel really angry at Him, wondering where God is or was, but if it helps, I repeat this to myself…
    “I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even though I don’t feel it. I believe in God, even when he is silent.”

    • Susan, that was lovely, and perhaps God isn’t silent but sometimes the place we are in makes it hard to hear him/her. Peace and Love,

  64. What has happened to this man and family is catastrophic, I was 22 years old when I suffered from the terrible black hole of depression, anxiety and constant panic attacks, if I thought suicide would have ended my torment, then I would’ve done it as well. But fear of an eternal torment was worse for me so I started to seek for peace from God, after a number of months searching I came to a place of realising that certain aspects in my life, especially an out of control sexual desire, needed correcting before I could receive the peace I longed for, eventually I turned from this, what happened in the days that followed were unbelievable from a natural point of view, I had an amazing supernatural encounter where my spirit was delivered to a place of permanent safety from the torment. that was 38 years ago, we live in a world where evil wants to destroy us, in many ways we are very weak when it comes to dealing with it. I only wish more people couldfind what I have found

  65. What has happened to this man and family is catastrophic, I was 22 years old when I suffered from the terrible black hole of depression, anxiety and constant panic attacks, if I thought suicide would have ended my torment, then I would’ve done it as well. But fear of an eternal torment was worse for me so I started to seek for peace from God, after a number of months searching I came to a place of realising that certain aspects in my life, especially an out of control sexual desire, needed correcting before I could receive the peace I longed for, eventually I turned from this, what happened in the days that followed were unbelievable from a natural point of view, I had an amazing supernatural encounter where my spirit was delivered to a place of permanent safety from the torment. that was 38 years ago, we live in a world where evil wants to destroy us, in many ways we are very weak when it comes to dealing with it. I only wish more people couldfind what I have found. Its been a long and sometimes very hard road since that day, I’ve survived two benign brain tumour operations since that day 38 years ago, I have 3 wonderful married adult children with 5 beautiful grandchildren and have a lovely and loyal wife who has been better to me than I probably deserve ! But I’m happier now than I have ever been, I get mad sometimes about heaps of ( hopefully the right ) things but I don’t get depressed, life is amazing and wonderful.

  66. Yesterday, when I was reading all the comments, something happened to me, not sure what it was, maybe a trigger, I just don’t know, but suddenly something started happening to me, and it did not feel good, I recognized those feelings before though. It felt like something was happening in my brain, hard to describe, the movement of it, perhaps the start of like a vortex trying to pull me down into the darkness? Also, my “gut” feeling area, which is on the surface of my stomach area was hurting really bad, which through the years I figured out that when it hurts like that, I was just given a major alarm for me to do something quick to fix this. I had to get off your page immediately, and started finding other things to think about, things that would comfort me, thinking about my children and why I love them, and when I was doing that, I felt my brain slowly heading back to feeling better, and my stomach pain going away also. It did take about 20 minutes before it was gone. I am fine now, and I can also read the newer comments. I am wondering if anyone else had anything happen to them also, I am thinking it was probably a trigger for me, no idea what it was though.

    • A psychotherapist many years ago told me that when a sudden impulse for suicide seriously arise, the critical time pass is 20 minutes. If a person can hold on that long without hurting themselves or get help before the 20 minutes is up, they will usually live and be okay.

      If you are alone when that urge comes, her advice was to call an ambulance and clearly state that you are about to hurt yourself and need help immediately, or drive yourself to the Emergency Room and state the same thing if it is 20 minutes or less away. That 20 minutes is critical.

  67. A truly gifted, talented and gentle soul who created music that brought healing, happiness, and comfort to millions all over the world, has left us. This is incredibley tragic. Those who have never personally suffered from addiction, alcoholism, depression or any other mental illness must realize outspoken ignorance, judgments and callous words and attitudes can hurt tremendously. The pain caused can literally push someone over the edge to self destruct! As a society there has to be change. I have a heavy heart right now and need to get these feelings out, I ask all of you to please find compassion and understanding for those who suffer. Don’t judge anyone. Depression isn’t a choice but stigma and ignorance is. Rest In Peace brother. -Silent tears hold the loudest pain.If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please seek help and contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)R.I.P. Chester Bennington #LinkinPark

  68. While I commend you for writing this article to address this important topic, I have to disagree with with some of your stances. The definition of selfish is “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself without the regard for others”. Therefore, by definition, suicide is indeed a selfish act. However, you have associated and implied the meaning of the word selfish with other negative connotations such as, coward or weak, which is not what I mean when I say that it is “selfish”.

    As a believer in God, I view this life, my life, as a gift. Life is not always easy (and yes, I acknowledge there are real mental illnesses that need to be considered and addressed), but this life, my life is a gift given to me from God, and to just take it away on my own terms is a selfish act to myself and the others around me, but even greater, towards God himself.

    Please do not misunderstand. I am not insulting the dead. I have compassion for their hearts and what they must’ve been feeling or gone through to even bring them to that point. However, it is not just them (the ones that commit suicide) that are weak or cowards, we ALL are…we all fall short and that is why we need Him. Believe me, there are times in my life when I wanted to give up, and I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own, and once I realized that, I placed my hope in God and prayed and asked for his help. He did what no human, not even myself could do for me. God saved me..not because I go to church on Sunday or because I check all of the boxes to be a good “Christian”, but because I finally saw how insufficient I was just in myself alone, and I whole-heartedly accepted and believed what He sacrificed for me…and for you. There is no judgement from my end, only love…it is not my place… that is between you and God.

    Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

    My heart breaks for those who committed suicide or those who may be contemplating it, and their families/friends. If that is you, I hope that you will come to know and realize that there is hope and a love more abundant, joyful and beautiful than we will ever know ourselves, in Christ. And I pray that you will seek Him in those moments.
    You are not alone. You may feel like it, but God is there reaching out his hand, just waiting for you to reach back and hold onto His.

    *I just returned from a 2-week life-changing missions trip to Uganda. If you care to read some of my reflections:

    • As much as you claim you don’t want to Brooke, you’re insulting people with this sermon. Mental illness is illness just as Cancer and heart disease. You don’t preach to people who succumb to those things and you shouldn’t do that here. It’s really that simple.

      • John – I am not sure why or how I am insulting people by sharing my personal faith that God loves us and sharing what I’ve personally experienced by seeking God in my life, or “preaching” as you called it. It is what saved me in my life. And if it helped me, is there not a possibility that it can help others? So why I ask, is that an insult? If someone stumbled upon a medication that would help to cure cancer, should they not share that?

        And yes I agree, mental illness is a disease like cancer and heart disease, as you say. If a cancer-diagnosed person decides to take their own life (when there are clearly other options), I still stand behind what I say. Whether it is a physical disease such as cancer or a mental one such as depression, it is my personal belief that the choice to act by taking one’s own life as a solution or a way out is not “the answer”.

        I am not a stranger to darkness and I have had my own personal battles with depression. I have family members who struggle with mental illness as well. I genuinely have compassion and sympathy for those struggling with mental illnesses and/or depression. My heart breaks for those people who chose that route and for their loved ones, and those that struggle with this today.

        Let’s be clear – I am not saying that mental illness itself is bad or selfish. I am saying that (the choice) to (act on that) take one’s own life on one’s own terms (suicide) is selfish and isn’t “the answer”, and that THERE IS HOPE. Whether one seeks help and treatment through medical/counseling, engaging in a support group, self-help or seeking God as I did…suicide is not the solution and I stand behind that. Compassion and justification are two completely different things.

    • Wow, Brooke. You’ve basically said all the most cruel things Christians have ever said to me. I wrote a very long comment, should you wish to look for it, and I will not repeat all the points here.

      Basically, you’ve told all of us with mental illness that if we had better faith we wouldn’t have mental illness which is not only erroneous theology, it also doesn’t reflect modern science.

      We don’t choose to have mental illness. It is something inflicted upon us.

      • Gloriamarie,

        My apologies if I was not clear in explaining my position properly. I absolutely do not think or believe that people would not have mental illness if they had better faith. The point I was trying to make (but clearly failed) is that I believe there is hope in the darkness through God, and I have personally experienced that in my own life. I am not a stranger to darkness and I have had my own personal battles with depression. I have family members who struggle with mental illness as well. I genuinely have compassion and sympathy for those struggling with mental illnesses and/or depression. My heart breaks for those people who chose that route and for their loved ones, and those that struggle with this today.

        After reading the article my intention was not to put down people that have mental illnesses but it was to refute the claim that suicide is not a selfish act, because that is what I disagree with.

        You are absolutely right when you say that we don’t choose to have a mental illness…and it definitely is not wrong. There are varying degrees and a multitude of different mental illnesses, but not all people with mental illness attempt or commit suicide and it is still an active choice that one chooses to do at the end of the day. There absolutely are probably be very real and valid reasons for explaining the choice to do that, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right or best solution in my opinion. Trying to understand or having compassion and sympathy for suicide victims (which I do) is different than saying that suicide is okay or right.

        Let’s be clear – I am not saying that mental illness itself is bad or selfish. I am saying that (the choice) to (act on that) take one’s own life on one’s own terms (suicide) is selfish (look at my previous comment at what I mean by selfish). Suicide isn’t “the answer”, and THERE IS HOPE. Whether one seeks help and treatment through medical/counseling, engaging in a support group, self-help or seeking God as I did…suicide is not the solution and I stand behind that. I come from a place of love and compassion. And I’m not trying to point my finger or shame those that have attempted suicide or been successful, it’s completely understandable…but that doesn’t make it right. One can be completely justified in their reasoning, but that is separate from whether it is right or wrong, or good or bad.

        Compassion and justification are two completely different things.

    • Brooke,
      My cousin had a psychiatrist, a Christian counselor from the church she’d been a part of since her birth (and a pillar of all her adult life), and a large Christian family who loved, helped, and prayed for her, and she still stepped in front of a train. Her father, her aunt (my mother), and other relatives also committed suicide, despite their and our prayers. After the funerals, the survivors avoided church and grocery shopped at dawn in hopes of not having to hear what you said one more time. Christians can suffer from mental illness like anyone else; the Bible tells us that rain falls on the just and the unjust.

      I’m sure you understand that having read your thoughts on this topic that I wouldn’t be interested in them on Uganda or any other.

  69. I wouldn’t call him weak or selfish. Nor desperate or hopeless or any kind of insult you just used. Suicide is not used by anyone to end his own life for a reason that is triggered by himself. In fact – it’s referred as a salvation. Why do you think? I personally don’t think anyone would be able to go to such a dark place, filled with despair without anyone’s help. It’s almost impossible. People react to each other and are influenced by each other. A sole person would never wish for his own demise as he wouldn’t have a reason to. I’m not pointing fingers or blaming people, but that’s basically what must happen for someone to commit suicide.

    John, you said “Some people make it and some people don’t—and the former aren’t any wiser or stronger or better, just very fortunate”. I would like you to point what you mean as ‘fortunate’ in this sentence as I did not understood it right away. From my point of view that would be referred as ‘fortunate to have someone to actually care.’ It wouldn’t be offensive to say it that way as many people neglect how unfortunate and weak others are (no matter where they stand). One would say that a singer/actor/athlete/dancer/competitor/etc. would never be sad as he/she sings and has fans and is popular and a family and etc. but we are what we are – humans.

    Either way, some/any/loads of people that claim to know that feeling should really get what I mean. For the rest – it’s not one or two things that force a person to think for such an end, but most of the time – it’s the way you see yourself in people’s eyes that make you ‘rendered’ as I would say.

    This is all my personal view on what Chester Bennington did so feel free to ignore it. I am but one of many and I would never force my mindset on anyone.

  70. It’s not selfish or weak but it needs to be shunned. It is never okay to kill yourself there is no excuse it does way too much damage . Far too many ppl are getting away with murder.

    • Shunned becomes shame and shame for reaching out is not what we need. We need a reason to stay. We didn’t go to this dark place, we were either already there or it came to us. We didn’t ask for this fight, but it has come upon us. I’ve text people that were thinking of ending their lives. I have no idea why or what is going on in their lives. Maybe, in their shoes, I would kill myself too. All I know is that someone is out there that needs a reason to stay, just as I did a decade ago.

  71. ask yourself why youre suicidal? if you have loving family, a job, moneys, food, home and all that then you cant be sad or depressed or suicidal. you just seek attention. only people who were hurt can be suicidal. there are hungry childs in africa (and they want to survive) yet i never heard about suicides there.

    • This response is not helpful. It’s the problem, Ann.

      I don’t think you’d tell someone if they have loving family, a job, moneys, food, home and all that then they can’t have cancer.

      Please do better.

      • So true. I believe people that have never been in this fight can’t understand what it is like. Some of these people believe anti-depressant medication is a “cure”. We will assure you guys that it is not. I guess that is why I like Linkin Park. Chester sang what I feel, especially the song “In the End” because I lived every word of that song.

    • ann, since you seem to think people with mental illness choose, please allow me to inform you that you are wrong.

      I don’t know how any person can be alive in 2017 and fail to understand that mental illness is an illness and the emphasis is on illness.

      Unless, of course, you believe people choose to have cancer, diabetes, emphysema, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hernias, etc etc. If you believe that, then I am sorry for the poor quality education you received.

    • Ann. Pavlovitz is correct. Robin Williams had all those things and scads more—and it made no difference. Depression that leads to suicide is not a moral failure. It is a disease, and it is no respecter of persons and what they own.

  72. I’ve read mixed comments on here – maybe for some people it is “selfish,” as some commenters have claimed from their own personal experience with suicide attempts. However, I believe often it is not. (And always – please make a different choice). Like the author, I have never struggled with addiction, but I have watched a son struggle desperately with it – I had no idea the hell. My daughter did not struggle with addiction either, but she did face depression and anxiety, longterm companions with which I am very familiar. She was a brilliant, beautiful, talented young woman with many friends, a family who loved her, and a fiance who adored her. She had so much to live for. She died on May 10th. The worst day of my life. She was always taking care of everyone – a kind, sweet, loving, caring girl, who worried far more about everyone else during her 21 short years than she ever did about herself. Her loss has been devastating and makes no sense – but then suicide never does. I finally wrote my own blog post to answer all the genuine questions, as well as the judgmental parlor sitters. But it was not as frank as this. This needs to be said – loud and clear. Thank you. We need more awareness, more empathy, more compassion, more kindness, more love. My daughter would have been the first person to love and help someone else in this situation. Sometimes I think the most sensitive people are the most susceptible to depression. A cloak of darkness can feel very heavy over angel wings.

  73. Maybe we call it selfish in order to express our mourning and pain from losing or possibly losing someone we love. We often mask our feelings with anger so blaming the act of suicide as a deliberate choice against us is a natural response from people who aren’t able to be real with themselves and their pain. I wonder if labeling suicide as selfish also embalms people with guilt, bringing a greater hopelessness creating a greater delusion of no way out? So in actuality if we are of the ones who label suicide as selfish actually the selfish ones since we shame those who are struggling because we don’t actually want to admit or deal with hard and painful realities of other people’s lives?

    Also, I appreciated towards the end of the article that the author mentioned “personal demons”. I think it’s about time that we actually acknowledge that there is a demonic reality and the purpose of demons are to kill us by any means possible. Maybe we can stop acting so selfish and instead act out of compassion and really try to live as Jesus taught and bring hope to the hopeless and fight for Jesus to rule over darkness in others minds and hearts.

  74. I work as a dmhp. I see each suicide being different. It can be a self determined act. It can be an impulsive, oh @#$% I really don’t want this- too late of an act, or it can be a selfish act. Even Chris Cornell said in an interview that depression is one of the most selfish illnesses out there because it isolates you from friends, family, and eventually, if not mitigated, can separate you from yourself. Before people take the step of VOLITIONAL suicide, they usually are mourning in silence months before of future losses, kids, spouse, work buddies, whatever. Loss of volitional control-suicide, is different and may have played a role with Chris’s completion. Chester on the other hand, had volitional control when he completed. He had a viable method, intent, planning. The exact criteria that a person needs for me to detain them to a psych hospital to save them.

  75. Thank you, Pastor. May his family and loved ones come to some peace in the aftermath of this tragedy, and may his loving memory live on through his music and relationships.

    I agree with you, in my experience as a clinician, by the time the latter stages of suicidality are reached, selfishness is NOT a good adjective to describe the psychology of that individual. In my way of seeing things, it seems more analogous to that of a hospice patient in the process of a slow, inexorable and excruciating death with no hope of reprieve BUT dying. Roy Baumeister’s 1990 article “Suicide as escape from self” from Psychological Review* is an excellent description of the dark path taken by the suicidal mind if anyone is interested. It really changed my thinking on the subject and awakened a new level of compassion for people in the throes of suicidality.


  76. Here’s a different perspective for people to think about. Many people feel comfortable bringing the word “selfish” into the conversation referring to people who die by suicide. If they are selfish for dying of a legitimate illness, couldn’t we also say those left behind are selfish if they can’t find compassion for the person who was sick? If we say “Person X was selfish because he killed himself and didn’t think about his family who needed him.” couldn’t we also say “That Family was selfish because they would rather he live through unimaginable mental torment just so he could be there for “them” and make “them” happy.?”

    I don’t know about you, but I could never ask somebody I loved to put themselves through hell just for my own sake. I would rather their pain was over, even if it meant I had to carry some of it for a while. (And I HAVE lost family to suicide, more than once) Let’s face it, we are all equal in the face of illness and death and heartache. If we’re going to haul out that horrible “selfish” word, the least we can do is apply it equally.

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  78. First, I think a distinction should be made between those who are indeed “victims” and those who are “choosers” of suicide.
    Death is Death and all of us will experience it at some point. It doesn’t distinguish between one person throwing himself in front of a bullet to save a child in a wheelchair wrapped in an American flag with a kitty on his lap or someone who just had one too many bad Mondays.
    Speaking ill of someone who died from suicide is no different than doing so of someone who died in any other form. It says more about the speaker than about the dead person. People just should mind their own business.
    Likewise, one also should not have special sympathy for the suicidal.
    Some of us can in fact, without any form of depression, or weakness, see that in most cases, life is better if short. And most spiritual practices even appear to encourage detachment from physical existence. Hell, even science, with its new trends in quantum physics and theories about life being a simulation and whatnot seem to be pointing in a direction that maybe, just maybe, our existence as homo sapiens sapiens is not something that should be taken too seriously.
    Just a thought. “Victims” sounds wrong. Some people meet their death with a smile in their face.

  79. Thank you for this article! I have never heard such truth before and written so well and lovingly. My grandmother committed suicide in the 30’s and my father did just two years a go, due to an illness much like what Robin Williams had. My mother also did when she had cancer and didn’t want to suffer any more. My life has been filled with suicide but I actually thought they were the bravest people I know. Even my grandmother. What a hard thing to do. Such a permanent decision. They felt they didn’t have a choice or they didn’t want to suffer any more, whether it was depression or a physical reason. I never ever thought they were selfish or cowards. . I was very , very sad but I truly understood. Thank you again for the wonderful insight.

  80. I agree wholeheartedly…Besides, depression, mental illness, & addiction, I would also add torture & abuse to your list. When I was only 11-12 years old I took a handful of depressants to try to kill myself; when that didn’t work, I took the rest of a bottle of them. I was neither mentally ill nor addicted…Depressed? Well, perhaps not clinically so but growing up as the youngest & only girl in a family of misogynist male voyeurs, mental, physical, &/or sex abusers…Well, that would make anyone “depressed”. As would growing up in a wealthy community, a town whose actual mascot was (though I suppose appropriately so) “The Devil”, and which was also one of the most corrupt, callusive, & abusive places in this nation. A community who even threatend many of its own teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, employees, etc…in order to hide & keep their many abuses & corruptions. So tell me, Was a little innocent kid being selfish to want to end her horrifying nightmare of waking up every single day to horrific bullying, physical abuse, & trauma (which also caused 100’s of seizures, constant UTI’s, & worse), and terrified to even take baths, undress, or go to sleep at night because of who/what she would have to wake up to…And those she told either would not believe her, refused to help her, were threatened not intervene, involved, or hiding their own sins….Anyone who thinks someone is selfish or a coward for wanting to somehow escape that kind of torture & pain, is either greatly deceived or else a liar & a deceiver themselves. People in that much pain need our help-not our condemnation.

    “Susie Survivor”….

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  82. Suicide is selfish. I thank God every day that it is. When I was suicidal I wasn’t crying for attention. I was hiding it in the depths of my misery so the world wouldn’t know. What they also don’t know is that when it came down to it, I couldn’t kill myself because I had been taught it is selfish. I knew it would hurt so many others and destroy lives around me. Teach your kids that it is selfish and maybe in the dark times they will find light in you.

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  84. Sorry for the Loss , But OUR only Hope is Jesus and Eternal Life after the Hardships of this World.
    Man Creates Hardship
    Jesus Gives Hope, Relief, Future, Peace , tranquility Know this that He will always provide a way of escape for all who want, ask, seek, really cry out to him.

    The Bible says:
    1. Jesus Christ is the “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). He has absolute dominion over all of creation. Everyone is subject to Him (Ephesians 1:20-23, Revelation 1:5).
    2. “The government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Every person and leader is subject to Jesus’ authority.
    3. Everything we do is judged by God. Each of us will give an account of our lives to Jesus on the Judgment Day, so it is important to follow Him today (2 Corinthians 5:10, Psalm 2).
    4. We are stewards of what God has given us. Imagine the day when you see Jesus and hear Him say, “Well done” to what you did for Him in your life (Matthew 25:21).
    Our heart’s desire is to see the USA great again, which is to have people nationwide obey Jesus Christ as King. The Bible says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

    So, declare out loud: I have no King But King Jesus!

    > Learn More

    Thank you for being part of this historic group.

    I care for you and I am praying for you to live each day with Jesus as your King.

    No King But King Jesus,

  85. It’s the same old story of people having zero compassion for something they’ve never experienced. Every now and then you see someone who actually went through an attempt and recovered, only to get self-righteous about it. It’s like… didn’t you learn compassion from your own suffering?

    Mental health challenges are difficult enough. I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with fame and renown on top of it.

    There’s a pattern though. Most of the famous people who kill themselves were long term drug users who had excessive lifestyles in some way or another. Some were self-medicating with the drugs, others had their problems cause by the drugs. And the industry makes it easy to procure these substances.

    Especially when it comes to heroin, it’s a long term slippery slope. People have control over their use for years and then suddenly they decline precipitously.

    I personally can’t read the comments sections on most of these stories. The trolling is too crazy.

  86. I feel like crying every time I read about someone committing suicide. What if you are kind, unselfish, strong and caring most of your life in spite of battling all kinds of problems and yet you die in that way ? People will think bad of you after that, call you selfish and weak. They don’t understand that even the strongest can be brought down by life and the most unselfish destroyed by it. No one knows what their breaking point may be….it can happen to me, my son, anyone. Please don’t judge a person who commits suicide…it could be you, God forbid.

  87. I understand that the way some people say it is selfish lacks empathy and compassion to the person. This needs to be worked on in our society as well. However, we also do not do justice by saying that suicide is not weak and selfish. It absolutely is so. It may not be the cause but the person is in a position of weakness – weak mind, spirit, body and more and in that moment can only see their fit in this world. To deny is even less empowering to the individual and aids in removing tbe focus on where it should be to help, adds layers and reasons to create more pain and hate for the world they are in. Stop it please.

    • To add to it, we don’t eradicate anything by placing the blame elsewhere and finding an excuse for it. It takes away any possibility of real healing. The power is in our hands in every moment. When it is obscured, is the problem. It could become obscured for many reasons. Perhaps teaching society, and every individual, tools from Kindergarten on to help handle all the emotions of being human (some meditation classes have been very successful) it will help. Yes some is chemical imbalance and need medical help. I’d dare to guess how well pills hope many who get them but I won’t go there.
      They help some. Others need a different help. They need to learn to empower themselves, love themselves, handle emotions. We all do. We do an injustice in explaining things away if it takes away from our own empowerment.

  88. I’m sympathetic to people who are hurting inside. There’s a huge gap in understanding why this is on the rise, but I can’t and won’t subscribe to people who commit suicide to be referred to as “Suicide Victims”. It’s the “victim mentality” that society breeds and feeds to these decisions. I’m not a victim of thing I cause myself, neither are you, so let’s start with step one and work to eliminate this “victim mindset” that seems to permeate through these blogs and articles.

  89. As a licensed therapist: Having angry feelings because a person you care about committed suicide is okay. Even having angry feelings towards them.
    As an advocate: Publicly saying that the person was “weak” or “crazy” is not.
    As a person: I will say as a person that has chronic pain and faced more than my share of fails it is hard when a person that I see with all the privileges I think I could ever want choses to end their life. I *do* get mad:
    “If you can’t do it on your worst day, how can I?” my ID/teen brain says. But, we don’t really know what was happening. It’s just proof that mental/spiritual health goes far beyond the surface and our culture has far to go before everyone sees that.

    • No. Blaming others definitely is not ok. Yes, we should tell them we love them and express ourselves. We are all on our own journey here, with our own stuff, doing and loving ourselves and others the best we can. The blame is indeed on the person committing suicide. They are just not able to feel powerful and enabled in that moment in any way other than getting out.

      • As others have clearly stated, when the disease takes hold, the love of others is not what they can comprehend through the pain. So yes, do not blame others for not loving enough. But I would also say not to blame the person committing suicide. If you are a person who isn’t satisfied until blame is placed, blame the disease and then do whatever you can to support research and treatment methods and those affected.

      • Why are we placing blame? What we need is compassion and education so that we can change a person’s trajectory not looking to place blame after the fact. Peace and Love,

        • There is a difference in how blame is being defined here.
          Blame does not imply the person is a bad person. To not recognize that each person is responsible for themselves lessens their self empowerment. It will not help anyone to heal if we try to explain away and disassociate. The person who wants to commit suicide has that choice in their hands. Theirs alone. We have to look preventative as much as the act and post.

  90. This article is beautiful. My beloved aunt committed suicide, something I would have never dreamed she’d do when I was growing up. She was such a devoted wife, mother, friend and Catholic – a person who spread happiness and sunshine when she entered any room. Depression took all of that from her and from us, and the vibrant woman we knew disappeared. This is a real, chemical, physical imbalance, and no amount of love from others or belief in Christ or “extra faith” is going to fix it if those things don’t translate into someone getting actual help for a real disease.
    As to the “selfish” arguments – I had a close friend attempt suicide a few years ago. Thankfully she failed the attempt (hooray for failing at some things!) and a few months later we went to lunch. I asked her very frankly whether she’d thought about what her death would do to those of us who loved her, if she’d thought about us at all, and if that influenced her decision. She said she’d thought about all of us, and had felt at the time that if we’d understood her state of mind and how truly awful she felt, how black everything was, we’d have been ok with her decision to end it. Just something to consider, for those busy judging.

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