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You Can’t Call Suicide “Selfish” Because It Isn’t A Choice

you can't call suicide selfish because it isn't a choice

People now understand that caring for our mental health is just as vital as caring for our physical health, perhaps even more so than in the past. Although significant progress has been made, there is still much more work to be done to eliminate the stigmas that contribute to unneeded shame and ignorance of mental illness.

While progress has been made in understanding that emotional challenges are not a reflection of a person’s character or a sign of weakness, many people still assume that mental illness is the result of poor judgments. Consider the belief that engaging in suicide behaviour might be a personal “decision” held by certain people. After that, the unjust presumption that “suicide is a selfish choice” is frequently made.

How Can Suicide Not Be Deemed Selfish

Given the great loss and sorrow experienced by those who are left behind?” one would rightly question.

First and foremost, we frequently underestimate the number of circumstances that might contribute to an event as complex and ultimate as suicide. In most cases, those who suffer from the kind of mental suffering associated with suicide do not wish to die; instead, they wish to put an end to the intolerable emotional pain that they are experiencing. However, in many cases, the resources necessary to hold on are not available to them. Individuals who suffer with suicidal thoughts typically have a difficult time thinking in a flexible way, and their capacity to see an end to misery and a life worth living is severely harmed as a result of this.

Second, viewing suicide as a choice encourages the misconception that persons who participate in suicidal conduct are self-centered and entitled to their lives. Merriam-Webster defines selfishness as “the pursuit or concentration on one’s own gain, pleasure, or well-being without regard for the interests or well-being of others.” Suicide does not bring about pleasure, advantage, or well enough for the person who does it. People who commit suicide frequently feel like a burden to their families and friends, or they are experiencing extreme emotional pain that exceeds their ability to function in daily life. Making others feel guilty is usually the last thing on their minds when they are doing anything wrong.

Third, choosing a choice normally involves making a decision based on a number of different factors or preferences. Unfortunately, the incapacity to make reasonable, existence decisions is a distinguishing characteristic of suicidal thinking. Intense emotional suffering, hopelessness, and a restricted, negative perspective of the future all interfere with the ability to make balanced decisions in difficult situations. A person may assume they are making the greatest decision possible given their options, but this is not necessarily true when considering all of the alternatives. What makes this even more difficult is the possibility that such options will not be available until the crisis has been handled.

There are various more circumstances that influence whether or not a suicide happens, and only a few of these have anything to do with the individual’s choice:

  • Having access to very lethal means, such as firearms, during a crisis is essential.
  • The availability and understanding of crisis services can cause action to be postponed – Personal and social relationships have an impact on whether or not someone gets the opportunity to find hope and healing.

Why Is It Important To Reframe Suicide As Something Other Than A “Choice?” Why Does It Matter?

So, Because folks who are feeling suicidal want our understanding that they do not wish to be in a state of intolerable suffering. They would normally prefer to be alive and to be living without that pain, and presenting their condition and behaviours as a choice just adds to the weight they already bear by making them feel that they have no option.

Empathizing with someone who believes that death is a better alternative than life in a given moment requires a great deal of skill. The ability to stop from passing judgement, appreciate that suicide is not a personal weakness or someone’s “fault,” and recognise that suicide is usually a product of mental health and environmental elements that we do not completely understand are all necessary.

The ability to address such extreme grief with compassion and curiosity can be difficult for us to muster the strength. We would prefer rely on easy explanations such as “if we had just done that,” “if the parents had done a better job,” or “if he or she hadn’t been bullied,” rather than complex ones such as Suicide is almost usually more complicated than that, but because answers are tough and the sorrow and loss last for many years, we strive for clarity whenever possible.

The stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness make it less likely that persons who may benefit from mental health care will receive it. Because of this, far too many individuals blame themselves for feeling unhappy or as if life is no longer worth living; as a result, they find it difficult to live full and meaningful lives.

We must lessen, rather than raise, the burden placed on those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. The ability to break down stigma is essential for starting talks, receiving aid, and overcoming obstacles in one’s life. Let us make a commitment to treating persons experiencing emotional distress in the same way we would treat someone suffering from a physical injury – with care, compassion, and a plan for recovery.

If your child is having suicide thoughts, take good care of him or her and do not leave him or her alone until you consult with a mental health specialist about it. Inform them that you will be working together to get through this. Visit our website, Suicide Watch and Wellness Foundation, for additional information.

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