I’ve often been faced with declarations that frown upon people calling those that committed or are prone to committing suicide selfish. In this article, I will give you my view and some of my reasons for them.
WARNING: This article contains talk of self-harm, suicide, etc.
Why should I have a say in the matter?
Well, my dear readers, I have been on both ends of that terribly painful situation. I have lost someone to such an act, and I have been on the brink of death myself – several times. I don’t claim to know all aspects of everyone’s pains, but I dare say I know a lot about the pain of having lost a loved one, as well as the pain I was feeling while in the said situation on a personal level.
While my position in the matter is gained through my own life experience, I would not dare invalidate someone who doesn’t go through the mental strains I do on a daily basis. Why should their opinion and feelings be any less than mine, just because they happen to have a more balanced mind, and perhaps they have difficulty understanding why anyone would do such a thing? All of us, especially those touched by such acts, have a say in it in the end.
So, is it selfish?
Yes. Absolutely it is selfish. There is nothing wrong in calling it that, as it just so happens that it is true. When it comes to suicide, in my experience, it has always been about the person doing it, and nobody else.
Let me explain.
There are times when we mentally unstable people have our realities twisted to the point that it merely resembles the actual state of affairs, and so, are spiraled into a painful, dark hole. That hole likes nothing more than to keep us there, as prisoners. This hole also so happens to be our own mind playing its games on us and keeping us in its tight chains of terror.
Maybe we don’t have the means to snap out of it. Maybe we have experienced something triggering and freeze in place from the raw emotional torment, which is what happens to me in those moments. Maybe some of us have given up on all hope, and just don’t see why they should bother fighting it anymore.
Whatever the reason is for this miserable state, the thoughts in it are wildly the same every time (at least for me):
- Make the pain stop.
- I am worthless.
- Nobody cares.
- It’s better if I’m gone.
- In this one moment, I have control.
Make the pain stop
I do not wish that anyone, not even the ones who have hurt me, ever have to go through this pain. It is debilitating and maddening, and it will drive anyone crazy no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you’re a sound, logical person. In that pain, there is nothing else.
These days I am more able to handle it when it comes, but back in the past, I was prone to self-harm, even being extremely reckless and suicidal. I would do anything to stop the pain, and for that, I now carry the marks on my body until it is time for me to really go.
The pain is blinding, deafening, and it freezes my body into a convulsion of terror. My face is twisted from terror, and the only voices that come out are cries of pure agony and the occasional “Make it stop, please, make it stop” and “Somebody, help me”. A sorrier sight can hardly be imagined than a person being forced to watch the horrid things they fear the most, the most traumatizing things, while there is nothing you can do to help them.
It is no wonder then, that I among others, wanted to end that pain at all costs.
Worthlessness and Abandonment
While the pain is my number one reason to start doing crazy things, it comes with the heavy feeling of being absolutely, undeniably alone. As a borderline, I have a tendency to get panicky and defensive when I’m perceiving abandonment, be it emotional or physical, even if it is not the reality of my current struggle.
I have gone through some severe episodes that were kind of under control until I perceived I was being abandoned. That perception threw me off the edge and sent me into a rage of self-harm, the thoughts in my head rapidly turning towards the ‘’fact’’ that I was so worthless I wouldn’t even be helped when I’m in such pain. I would just be left alone to die slowly and in misery.
The mind truly is a wonderful weapon in the wrong hands. And when it is in the hands of little miss borderline… It is hard to take it back from her. The internal voices that we all have turn towards being evil and mean, they are there to make you hurt even more. And what makes it tricky is that this is your own head, your own thoughts. In essence, you are drowning your own voice by yourself, and that is something I’m still learning to tone down.
Nowadays I can already be present in my pain most of the time, without letting it consume me fully. I still get frozen by the pain and terror but at least I can now be there to tell myself that bashing my head into the wall is not acceptable. I call that a major victory!
I shouldn’t exist
When you are in that pain, feeling worthless, and there is seemingly no end to it there’s nothing to do but give up. For me, after the storm, there was this cold, dark understanding that the world did not need me to move on (which it doesn’t, though that doesn’t mean I’m not valuable as a creature that has been bestowed life), that the world didn’t care about me. It was a pure understanding of how little I matter in the grand scheme of things.
With this came also the realization that my concurrent fits and episodes, my self-harming, my failures and lack of discipline, everything I had done to this point brought nobody anything other than burdens. And so, logically in that moment of numb coldness, I often deemed it would be better for everyone if I just go away. Permanently.
Without me they wouldn’t have to feel so burdened, none of the hardships I brought on to them would’ve been experienced, and they wouldn’t need to worry anymore. They’d be free of me.
This line of thinking is extremely broken, though I feel that it is very common among those of us that struggle with suicidal tendencies. And while it may seem a noble cause to not want to cause more problems for people anymore, this thinking is still very much self-centered – it’s not like I was giving any say to the actual people I thought I would hinder, as it turns out, most people would rather have me live and be in their lives even if I am a bit problematic.
This choice is mine
One of the biggest delusions humanity seems to be under is that their lives are theirs to take. This was highlighted for me in my attempts at suicide, as I often thought everything in my life was not in my control but this one thing, whether I live or die, certainly was. This one thing was mine, and mine alone.
As the marvelous chameleon, the people pleaser, I have not made many decisions on my own for the decades of my life. And when people feel robbed, or actually are robbed, of this privilege, they become bitter and resentful. But for me and many others, there was not much choice in the matter – either we fall in line and do as we are told, or we get abandoned. I can’t even begin to tell you how strong the fear of losing my loved ones is.
But then, one day, when I was sitting on that high, rough stone wall, thinking about how it would feel, I got a call. Or maybe it was a message. Either way, it was my mother. She had no idea about where I was, or what I was doing. No reason to worry. And I started crying.
The selfishness of suicide
All of the reasons I listed above are reasons why I struggle with self-harming and was on the brink of suicide in the past. Every single one of them is selfish. It is all about me, my pain, my world, my body, my truth, and my perception. There is nothing I can do or say that wouldn’t make it so.
As someone that has been on both ends, and as someone who can muster an ounce of understanding for her lost friend, I can still tell you that there is nothing wrong in calling out the selfishness of such an act. It is merely the truth of it.
I wanted to write this article after I noticed a tweet on my timeline sneering at people who would call out people like me as selfish like it was the biggest crime to commit against someone who is already in enormous amounts of pain. It was horrendous how little empathy/sympathy the people in that thread had for those that have to deal with the aftermath.
Every person’s feelings are valid. Every person’s fears and pains are valid. Every person has the right to voice their feelings be it anger or whatever else. And this is true no matter what kind of pain you in your own world are in.
Trust me, you would not want to be at the receiving end of such an interaction. You may have it hard, but never forget that others have it hard as well. Especially those who love you, who struggle with coming to terms with the fact that there is very little they can do the help you in the end.
You will keep having your episodes. You will keep lashing out. You will keep having your twisted perceptions and thoughts. Nobody in this world can tell you what to think, only you can decide that. And you will be hurt, alone, offended, angry, and resentful. And your head will be filled with terrible thoughts.
And you will be looked at with eyes of misunderstanding, anger, or hurt. Hurt you may have even caused the person. You will be asked if you don’t feel you’re being selfish. You’ll be asked how you could do such a thing. And you might kick and scream in your justification. You might lash out harder, and tell the person all about your pain and suffering. But in the end, it is all in your own hands.
I accept my selfishness
There is no justification for threatening or taking a life. Not someone else’s. Not your own. Our lives are not ours to end, and we need to remember that.
I’m glad my husband cared enough to be angry and call me out on my selfishness.
No matter how painful it may get, remember:
There is always someone who will be affected by your selfish acts.