Is suicide truly selfish?

I’ve never lost anyone to suicide, but I have considered it myself, and I know I’m not the only one.

The thing that holds me back is the thought of the people I leave behind. I am glad that I can hold on to an awareness that I’m loved enough by people that it would hurt them. So far at least.

The next protective layer, I suspect, is sheer fear of the unknown. I’ve had brushes with madness, and drugged darknesses that have wrapped me and held me so solidly, that a lasting impression has been made of ‘this is what death will be like, only it never ends’. I normally cry then.

Between fear and love, I am held alive. This is one of my weirder luckinesses. So terrified, but still held.

I don’t think I can talk about any experience but my own. I can’t speak for those that have brushed closer, or those that have shut the book completely, I can’t speak for anybody but myself.

But for me, I’ve seen a selfishness in my considerations. I’ve looked at the world, seen nothing for me, and thought about giving up on it. Luckily (from some perspectives), I’m not a gambler. I’ve always seen more chance in life than in death. I see more possibility here than I do over there.

And either way, we’ll end up there in the end, so we may as well have a look around here.

So my decision for life is just as selfish. Or self centred. I’m not just here because I thought it would hurt others (though that holds me back, like a seat belt), but because I’m curious enough to see how this hand plays out.

But of course, I’m blessed, I’m priveliged, I’m spoilt.

I don’t think suicide is selfish. I think it’s probably agonisingly painful, and will be the result of more pain than I could comprehend.

I do however, think its the wrong decision. Completely and utterly. For everyone. Always.

I don’t think I have a good answer why, but I hope with every bit of my heart and body and anything else that could theoretically be part of me, that anybody reading this who is thinking that way, can come up with that good answer when they need it.

If you get asked the question, or more likely, ask it of yourself, you’ve got to find a way to choose life. The other option, while coldly appealing, cannot really be an option. Please.

I don’t have any logic to it, apart from that the world is big and weird and interesting, and if you’ve ever connected with anyone ever, they will miss you, or feel responsible. If you don’t think anyone will miss you, you are wrong.

We are part of a web of weirdness and communication. Our lives connect together. That’s what living is.

Find an answer for yourself, make it yourself. Build life.

Because that’s all we’ve got.

Be the right selfish.

Illustration by Henry


About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Henry, Questions by LyricalFool. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Is suicide truly selfish?

  1. I am so pleased that this question was asked and that you’ve answered it so bravely. In my darkest hours I came across a phrase that helped me a lot: “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” – a quick google search for the source of that phrase reveals that not everyone is a fan of it but this discussion of it strikes me as helpful:

    I’ve often berated myself in very unkind terms for being “selfish”, “self-centred” or “self-absorbed” but I realised earlier this year that “self-less-ness” was really a more accurate description of my state of mind … it was my lack of self (a deep, dark, echoing, empty void within where my sense of self should be) that was causing me so much pain that suicide seemed like an answer that would finally bring me respite (luckily I could never bring myself to act on my suicidal feelings because of my fear of the impact my actions would have on those around me). One of the first things I noticed when I finally recovered from my (inconceivably lengthy) suicidal crisis was that I suddenly had a sense of self for the first time in living memory and, this might sound a bit strange, I could recognise myself when I looked in the mirror.

    A friend introduced me to the idea of “proper selfishness” (which I think comes from Charles Handy’s book ‘The Hungry Spirit’) which helped me think about selfishness positively … As someone who’s been *there* (or at least, very close to there) I’d like to like to humbly suggest that if someone is feeling suicidal then they need to become properly selfish and take every step they can to look after their fragile/non-existent sense of self – and that means holding onto hope while they seek help and carrying on seeking that help until their sense of self becomes visible to them again.

    Thanks again Al … I owe you another hug when we meet in August 🙂

  2. jahschmidt says:

    Suicide is a cultural taboo for us westeners, Japans attitude is different, and the eastern schools of thought would add it as a karmic problem to be solved in reincarnation. When I’ve been on the edge I go to Beachy Head and pay my respects to those that took the leap into the unknown and felt great empathy and sadness for their desperation and braveness. I then think of my kids and come home. Hasn’t happened often thankfully.
    Great post btw.

  3. Pingback: Signs it’s time to consider euthanasia | Unstruck

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