Is suicide selfish?

I just came across a Huffington Post article where the writer tries to make the argument that suicide is not selfish. He describes the strong negative emotions of depression.

Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression.

People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. It’s selfish to leave children, spouses and other family members behind, so they say. They’re not thinking about the survivors, or so they would have us believe. What they don’t know is that those very loved ones are the reason many people hang on for just one more day. They do think about the survivors, probably up until the very last moment in many cases. But the soul-crushing depression that envelops them leaves them feeling like there is no alternative. Like the only way to get out is to opt out. And that is a devastating thought to endure.

The emotions that precede a suicide vary with the individual involved. The tone of the article seem to indicate that the writer was close to someone who “committed suicide”, maybe his father. In my case, it was my son.

My son had his ups and downs, he was “not the brightest bulb” but he was given to impulse, wild emotional swings, unbalanced, and I often wonder how much of the more difficult times were due to the meds they gave him.

Katie Hurley, in the quoted paragraph above, uses the emotional state of the person so as to say it is not a selfish act, and in defense of this thinking correctly points out that most people who say it is a selfish act reference the survivors.

Katie misses the point of those who reference the survivors, if her point is to say it is irrelevant. In fact, she continues with a perspective that recognizes its relevance, and the selfishness of the act, by talking about what drives the act, the depression.

To say it another way, the person who dwells in the depression, in other words, is not thinking about anybody but themselves when they do the act.

Now, that is not to dismiss the complicated feelings that surround those acts.

And let me point out that my son was no more selfish, or even self-centered, in general, than anybody else. It’s true that he was not as good as most of us at sublimated this, but he had a positive soul in him. He often went about sharing a good time when he was with others (and sure, sometimes not —and would often encourage people with the best news of his life, asking the people around him if they knew Jesus.


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