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To think most people are unkind about suicide

(24 Posts)
runnermum1974 Fri 07-Mar-14 11:59:47

My friend recently attempted suicide and has done serious damage to themselves.

Peoples' reactions have been, in my view, very unhelpful. My friend who has been hurt was complaining that they were in physical pain because of their injuries - response from their own mother was "well it was self inflicted" as if to belittle the physical pain they are suffering.

It seems to me that the people who are unkind about suicide attempts, are also ignorant - they can not empathise that someone feeling so low as to hurt themselves are in serious pain and a dark place. They need compassion.

Those who say it is selfish, forget that all humans are selfish, including themselves.

Suicidal feelings are a symptom of depression. Why do people blame someone for symptoms of an illness?


LunchLadyWannabe Fri 07-Mar-14 12:02:08


I hate the facebook statuses about people who have committed suicide in a public place.

motherinferior Fri 07-Mar-14 12:05:24

Because of the effects on others. My mother's mother killed herself when my mother was two, and I have to say my mother's view of suicide has always, therefore, been that it is a profoundly selfish action.

I do know what it is like to be in a dark enough place that suicide seems a very sensible option for getting the pain to stop, though.

YANBU - we lost my lovely BIL to suicide last April and I was really shocked when someone told me how selfish he was. I just pointed out that obviously he was not thinking rationally when he did it and in his mind he was being very unselfish by what he was doing.

It's all very sad, made even worse when idiots make stupid comments.

Pootles2010 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:07:04

Yanbu. I know people who carp on about how selfish it is, knowing full well my bil killed himself angry.

I'd rather be selfish than a gobby twat.

winterhat Fri 07-Mar-14 12:08:29


I think the language doesn't help - you 'commit' suicide - because suicide used to be an offence - so you commit suicide, like you commit burglary or murder or whatever.

When my cousin committed suicide, my FIL (who was, I accept, trying to be supportive) said to me that it was a very selfish thing to do - and I have thought about this a lot over the years - mainly because I have suffered from depression since my mid teens, first considered suicide at age 14, and have done, on many occasions, since then.

When you are that depressed, you cannot think straight - you can't see the hurt and pain it would cause to the people left behind, and you can't see that there is any other option. You truly believe that the world would be a better place without you, no-one would miss you, and you would be better off too - I know, I have been there.

So no, YANBU in the slightest, runnermum - your friend needs the love and support and understanding of his family and friends. When he attempted suicide, he was not thinking rationally. Frankly, I would worry that such condemnatory attitudes from some people around him might well drive him to a second, more successful attempt.

Goldmandra Fri 07-Mar-14 12:08:52

Yes depression is a horrible illness and people who commit suicide are victims but don't forget that suicide also hurts family members deeply too. Don't judge people who are close in how they respond because they need compassion too.

However that is different from judging from a distance. TBH I don't think anyone has the right to judge people in this situation, either the actions of the person who has died or of those left behind. If you weren't in the middle of it, you are in no position to comment.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 07-Mar-14 12:09:34


Topseyt Fri 07-Mar-14 12:15:08

Nobody should judge anyone else. Unless you have either been depressed o had to deal with someone in the grip of such a depression then you really cannot have any idea what it is like.

I am totally with you, OP.

HoratiaDrelincourt Fri 07-Mar-14 12:16:50

<drops the phrase "death by mental illness" into the debate>

ohfourfoxache Fri 07-Mar-14 12:17:17

Yanbu at all

I've been very open about my mh problems, mainly because I don't want people to think "fucking hell she's an antisocial old bitch" so I've found hat it easier for example to just say that I'm in a dark place and I think it's easier for people to accept if I go to ground.

But a very good friend of mine, when six months previously I had nearly jumped in front of a train, just looked at me incredulously and asked how I could be so selfish. I kept calm and explained how I felt at the time and I think that, the more I explained and opened up, the more she understood. Deep down she still feels that suicide is selfish but perhaps not as much as she used to as she can now see both sides.

Labelling someone as selfish just because they are so desperate to be out of pain is plain ignorance. But it's only by talking about it that there will ever be the hope of that changing.

ohfourfoxache Fri 07-Mar-14 12:17:58

Horatia that is a beautifully succinct phrase thanks

runnermum1974 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:19:52

Of course it hurts the people around them. I was hurt too. But at the same time, the people around them do not have a physical injury to contend with. It is far worse for the suicidal person. If the suicidal person were helped, then it will help the people around them too. Domino effect and all that.

I agree it is about not thinking straight. The used to say something about <Joe blogs took their life when their balance if mind was disturbed>

IceBeing Fri 07-Mar-14 12:23:03

YANBU and from now onwards I will be avoiding ever saying "committed suicide" and instead say "died from a mental illness" or maybe "suffered a fatal mental illness"

ebwy Fri 07-Mar-14 12:24:34

when I've been suicidal, my brain has rationalised it all - family would hurt but be soooo much better off without me... friends hardly see me anyway...

it's not selfish, at the end. genuinely I held (and probably will again) the belief that everyone will be better off in the long term without me.

ohfourfoxache Fri 07-Mar-14 12:31:34

(((Hugs)))) ebwy - it's like a ticking bomb really, isn't it? You know it's going to happen but you don't know when or how bad it will be. All you can do is rely on your armour anti depressants to stop you from falling too heavily.

Of course that may just be me blush

But what really fucks me off is that there are debates re euthanasia/right to die etc. I wholeheartedly agree with them. But there is a lot more support for the pro euthanasia brigade than there is for people with a mental illness who feel that they cannot go on any longer. Just because one persons illness is mental rather than physical, why does one seem to get more sympathy than the other?

runnermum1974 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:37:23

Because mental illness is invisible.

Ignaz Fri 07-Mar-14 12:38:06

Fundamentally many people still believe that those with Mental Illnesses are just weak and should pull themselves together. They fail to understand that people don't really choose to be suicidal, that although they might bring about their own death they aren't choosing suicide - the illness gives them no choice but to do it.

People who say 'I thought about suicide but then I was strong and didn't do it' really haven't been as far down that black tunnel as they think.

runnermum1974 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:38:24

Because mental illness is invisible and humans sometimes need to see something physical to believe kind of thing. It is really sad.

MarianneEnjolras Fri 07-Mar-14 12:50:27

It's a lack of understanding, but it is hard to truly understand IMO.

When my mum attempted suicide I was a young teenager. I remember thinking, and saying out loud during an argument that she obviously didn't love me or she wouldn't want to leave me. She responded by simply saying "think that if you want", which infuriated me as it didn't seem like she was sorry at all.

Now I am a mum myself and I now understand that whatever it was that drove my mum to suicide must have been incredibly and terrifyingly powerful to have been able to override the love she had for her children.

Until I understood that, I didn't understand exactly what it was to have a mental illness.

manicinsomniac Fri 07-Mar-14 12:58:44

YANBU, people can be really horrible and unfeeling.

I would never judge somebody who had lost someone close to them for thinking it is selfish. That is their right to feel as they do. But to call a suicidal person selfish from afar is wrong.

The phrase 'death by mental illness' makes no more sense than 'death by physical illness' though. You could die of complications from anorexia, accidentally taking self harm too far, suicide, a ruptured stomach from bulimia, liver failure from alocholism or several other ways just as you can die from cancer, asthma, epilepsy, strokes and many other physical illnesses. Some physical illnesses have mental causes. We need the term suicide because 'death from mental illness' could mean anything.

whichdidyouchoose Fri 07-Mar-14 13:00:08

Ignaz, I used to share a flat (ie pay half her mortgage) with a nurse who told me that she thought that suicidal people should just be allowed to get on with it.

I have suffered from depression and at times I have thought I can't do that to my relatives but I have also felt quite differently

whichdidyouchoose Fri 07-Mar-14 13:04:23

I have read that sometimes people are so angry and no one realises how angry they are until they are dead and then I guess it's too late

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