No, Seriously, Suicide is Not Selfish

Unsurprisingly, lots of opinions, theories, and soapboxes have come out in the wake of Chris Cornell’s suicide.  When Robin Williams committed suicide, I wrote a long piece attempting to remove ignorant peoples’ heads from their asses, so I guess I should write again…

Suicide is not selfish

It must be nice to exist in a reality where you would “never dream of committing suicide.”  I would not know how that is.  It must be so peaceful and delightful to sit comfortably in your existence, judging people who struggle.  I have always understood that, if you do not have depression, bipolar, anxiety, etc., it is difficult to understand what it is like.  Your only comparison are moods – sadness, stressed, etc.  It is easy to assume that a bad day is comparable to depression, but in reality, it is wrong.  It is easy to say that you would never do “something so selfish”, but I have to ask, are you trying to say you plan on never dying?

Yes, if someone commits suicide, they chose to end their lives.  However, did they really? Unless you are living in that person’s mind and body, do you have any clue what they were going through that made them decide death was more preferable to life?  Sit with that for a moment.  There is a person sitting alone right now that fully believes that they would rather die than take another breath on this planet.  Would you sit next to them and say, “Wow, that’s really selfish of you?”  Is it not actually selfish of YOU to place your feelings on another person without any facts? Is it not selfish of YOU to expect this person to make your life more comfortable by just “dealing with it”?  Do you understand that most people who commit suicide are firmly convinced that everyone they love is better off without them? Do you have any idea the hell that is?

Depression makes your brain lie to you, so while maybe subjectively you say “They had everything they could possibly want” or whatever justification you want to spout, depression will whisper in your ear about every inadequacy, every mistake, and all the reasons why you are miserable, it is your fault, and everyone would be better off if you would just die.

More importantly, do you call cancer patients selfish if they die?

We have all seemingly agreed that depression, bipolar, etc. are diseases.  These diseases are known to cause suicidal ideation.  If you don’t know what depression feels like, let me try to describe it: every day you wake up and you need to do a triathlon wearing cement shorts and shoes.  Chris Cornell had to do that plus perform on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans, give interviews, etc.  I feel overwhelmed with pressure to make my kids breakfast, and you are calling this man who overcame so much, gave so much to so many, selfish?  The man had a disease, and he died.  His cause of death was suicide.  He was a son, husband, father, and human being, and you feel entitled to besmirch him because you don’t understand that diseases kill indiscriminately?

I don’t believe anyone has ever asked for a mental illness.  We all do the best we can with what we are given.  Going back to the cancer patient, let’s say they are in chronic pain, or their quality of life was non-existent, would you say it is selfish of them to want to die? Does the physical appearance of pain make it more or less selfish to die? Maybe I’m wrong, but to me, Chris Cornell succumbed to his diseases.  He committed suicide, and he had a mental illness that causes these feelings.  This is not a strong or not strong situation, because sometimes even the strongest man alive can be weak, and sometimes that weak moment is the only moment he couldn’t be weak.   I have put up with enough pain in my life to last me a few lifetimes, and I haven’t killed myself, and I have said “I am somehow alive, despite my best efforts”.  When I have wanted/tried to kill myself? All I heard with every breath and step was, “maybe slit your wrists…take these pills…everyone hates you…kill yourself…” I SEE images of my slit wrists in my mind sometimes.  Soooo, my brain’s intrusive thoughts that are un-bidden by me make me…selfish?

Again, I have no idea what “made him do it” and frankly, it is none of my or any other opinion giver’s business.  I don’t know the man.  His fame, stardom, and music give me literally NO entitlement to his life.  I am sad, and I wish this had not happened.  I am disgusted by the people that are sitting there on Twitter saying he is selfish.  Do you realize, with your little tweets of concern about his kids, that they could read you shitting on their dead father?  For all your concern about their well-being, you seem to have no issue calling a dead man names.

A person’s mental illness, like their life, is not run by committee.

No one has the right to judge anyone, you are not the expert on another person, and unless you were in Chris Cornell’s brain in those fatal last moments, you have no clue what he was thinking.  When I almost killed myself, I was firmly convinced that, if I killed myself, I would save my family from being murdered by evil demons.  I was in psychosis.  I was convinced people on the internet were coming to kill me.  See, I’m not dead, so I can tell you that story.  I was trying to choke myself with my hoodie strings, because I was being admitted to the mental hospital, but I was convinced if I did not kill myself, my family was going to die.  The only thing that stopped me was that my arms were not strong enough to get enough tension to override my body’s inclination to fight.

Would you call me psychotically thinking that my death would save my family…selfish?  What if he was having the same type of psychosis?  Report after report says he was not acting like himself.  Depression can cause psychosis.  Even if he wasn’t psychotic, no one has any goddamn clue why it happened.  I highly, highly doubt he sat down and said, “Man, screw my family, I’m doing this for ME!  I am number one, and I am gonna die!”

Mental illnesses affect the whole family, and when anyone dies for any reason, it is a loss for all.

It is more difficult in suicide, because you wonder why they would make that choice.  The reality is, he succumbed to his disease.  Sometimes, our minds can play deadly tricks on us, and sometimes not everyone is fortunate enough to get out alive when that happens.  People might be more forthcoming about getting help if jackasses wouldn’t run around diminishing what mental illness does to a human mind and body, and telling people who are genuinely suffering that they are selfish.  I am sure his family really appreciates your concern about his selfish act of dying.

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