Yes, you read that title right. And no, I didn’t write it as such for an attention grabber. I wrote that because I honestly believe it and feel like it needs to be said after so many suicides covered by the media and reactions from others over the past few years.
You are allowed to feel like your loved one was selfish for committing suicide. You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be upset with them. You are allowed to indignantly swear this was the worst thing they’ve ever done to you.
Suicide may not be the selfish choice to those who attempt or commit it but it sure as heck feels selfish when you’re on the outside.
I want to highlight something here. I know there will be a lot of people who read this and say I’m heartless. I don’t understand the pain a person feels before trying to kill themselves. Truth is, I understand it better than most know. I left college nearly five years ago after hitting a rock bottom with my mental health and becoming suicidal. I know that in the moment of pain, a person who is struggling and considering suicide is rarely considering it because they want to hurt others or because they are bad people.
Even with being there, even after that rock bottom though, the day I heard a close family friend committed suicide, my words to my husband? “How could he do this to his family?”
I know, logically, psychologically, and personally speaking that suicide is not a selfish act.
But when one is in mourning, they are not thinking logically. Mourning for any death comes in stages and waves and suicide is not exempt to those phases because you know the causes and feelings behind that.
More importantly, I’m sick of people telling others how to react to the death of a loved one. I’m not here to advocate that suicide is selfish because I believe(and know) that at the core it usually is not. But I will say-demanding those in mourning react how you wish they react is selfish. No one who is mourning a loved one is thinking “I may offend someone who once considered suicide as the answer, they are crappy humans and I want to offend them.” They just aren’t. They are simply mourning and trying to go through that grief in their own way, in their own time, at their own pace.
I know, when you are there or have been, it’s hard to see others around you thinking suicide is this terrible choice someone makes without a care in the world. I know how it doesn’t even feel like a choice.
When a person is grieving though, is not the time to try and educate them on mental health. At that point, you need to step back and allow them to feel what they need to feel until they are ready to approach it in another way.
Feeling like your loved one’s suicide was selfish is okay. You mourn how you need to mourn.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, the national suicide hotline in the US is 1 (800) 273-8255 and an online resource where you can message with people is http://hopeline.com/. You are not alone.