It's Time to Stop Calling Suicide Selfish

TAGS: suicide hotlines, hotlines, clinical depression, contemplating suicide, understanding suicide, anxiety, national suicide prevention line, mental health, depression, resources, death, suicide, Skip Hill

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My topic may not seem directly related to bodybuilding, and it isn’t, but it is still important, and it DOES relate to bodybuilding because people in bodybuilding deal with depression, despair, and hopelessness, just like the rest of the world.

I have noticed a lot of talk about suicide on social media lately, and the majority of people are posting about how there are so many other ways to deal with depression and that there is no good reason for suicide, and a lot of people even go so far as to call it “cowardly” or “selfish.” I’m not sure that most people are very empathetic to what someone who is suicidal is really going through. Most of the responses, though on the surface, sound empathetic, are really quite dismissive. I’m not saying I completely understand it, either, but when I’m the compassionate one who has to say maybe people should be a little more understanding, that should say something.


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There are some people in this world who are truly hopeless. I doubt anyone just all of a sudden decides that suicide is the answer. It would seem to me that suicide ends up being an act of despair after a very lengthy amount of time trying to make their situation better, or a long time of really pondering how they are going to make a change and deal with their feelings, instead of killing themselves.

I think it’s pretty easy for people who haven’t dealt with much despair and the feeling of hopelessness to not only NOT understand, but to make it sound like there are so many other viable options. Are there really? Or are you just trying to be positive? Living longer if that life is nothing but despair is not for you to decide if it’s is good for that person or not.

There are also those whose efforts to deal with depression are so good that when they finally do kill themselves, everyone is shocked because that person “seemed to have a charmed life.” None of us know what any of us are truly dealing with. Hell, you could have people in your own home that are suicidal and not have a clue, but if they do die by suicide, we all talk about how we could have done something or should have done something, and that we should have seen the signs – even when that person went out of their way to make sure that others didn’t see the signs while they were dealing with their shit. This goes for men in particular, and if I am not mistaken, the percentage of men who die by suicide is considerably higher than women.

I have worked in juvenile detention and residential treatment and the “rule” – whether discussed or not – was that those who talk about suicide typically are depressed, but they don’t want to kill themselves or they would just act on it. Those who act on it and are successful are the ones that truly have had enough and felt they had nothing else to live for.

To say that someone is selfish and not thinking about the people their actions would impact is basically an admission that you don’t understand how someone feels in a suicidal position. I would bet that most people are tormented by what impact it would have on others, but they are so hopeless that they are convinced (and it is true when you think about it) everyone will deal with it and move on. Will it be easy? No. However, they will deal with it, and they will move on. The person who is suicidal has come to the conclusion that they are no longer willing to deal with their situation and that this is the ONLY way out; death is better than continuing on.

I do understand that kids who are suicidal hit us in the feels because they may not have the ability to cope like adults typically do. I am not talking about kids here; I am talking about adults.


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I would also like to point out that the things that a lot of people deal with before killing themselves are sometimes pretty fucking traumatic. Losing a child is pretty fucking bad. Coming back from war and having to live with the things you have done and questioning those things for the rest of your life is pretty fucking traumatic. How about being given a diagnosis that is terminal? These people, if they are able, can talk about their depression and possibly suicidal thoughts, and people will usually empathize.

If you are seen as successful and living a “blessed” life and have those same thoughts, not many people are going to be terribly empathetic, I don’t think. This leads those same people to not wanting to discuss their feelings with anyone for fear that they will be thought of more or less as, “What the hell do you have to be depressed about?” Even if they aren’t treated that way, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people would FEEL this way.

Most people would say that I have a charmed life, and for the most part, I can’t disagree. I have been dealt a pretty good hand and have been incredibly fortunate to not have had to deal with the loss of a child, a parent, my spouse, a devastating or nasty divorce (yet), infidelity, losing everything I have worked hard for, etc. I will admit that as much as I don’t think I would be suicidal if any of those things happened to me, I can’t say that I wouldn’t be, either. Everyone deals and copes with things differently, and some people simply feel they cannot go on. You don’t know what others are dealing with – including me, your friends, your kids, etc. I don’t think many people say after someone dies by suicide, “Yeah, I thought this might happen.”

This life and this world is a very stressful place, and I know I have said numerous times that if the plane I’m on goes down, I’ve had a good run. I don’t WANT to die, but I feel like I wouldn’t be screaming for the last few minutes of my life, begging a “God” for more time.

Could my reaction be different when the time comes? It could, but you can’t say it would with any certainty, and though I cannot either, most people that are afraid to die will readily admit it. I am not afraid to die, and that is coming from someone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife.

Now, please do not misconstrue my words to mean that I don’t care if I live or die because that is not what I am saying. My only real “fear” that I am aware of in relation to dying is I don’t want to deteriorate to nothing due to a disease. I hope that when my time comes, it is quick and painless and that up until it was my time, I had a great quality of life.

I explain my feelings around death because I think there is some sense of understanding on my part for those who die by suicide because those people have come to grips with dying. They have thought about it long and hard and have accepted it. Those who are offering other options and saying things like, “Suicide isn’t the way out” are people who almost certainly fear death. And on a side note, why would you fear death as a person of faith? Isn’t the afterlife the end-goal, anyway?


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I don’t want to see anyone die. I also don’t want to see people living in despair and massive depression, either. All I’m saying is that I think I understand more than most, and I also think that a lot of the way we respond to people who have these thoughts, is shitty, dismissive, and insensitive.

That’s my take – an OPINION. I know how it’s hard to listen to someone’s opinion when you don’t agree, but I’m asking for dialogue – not a fucking argument. I’ve had plenty of those lately. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


If you or a loved one is at risk for suicide, reach out to these resources.  All hotlines listed below are available 24/7 and are confidential unless otherwise noted. In case of an emergency, call your local authorities.

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