I am a suicide survivor. By that, I do not mean that I have attempted - I have found that people mistakenly understand that term as such. I mean that someone close to me has killed themselves. Unfortunately I know three people who have - a friend's brother, a best friend’s mom, and one of my own brothers. The pain of experiencing such a loss is unlike any other pain, and it is easy, while in the midst of that pain, to fall into thinking that suicide is selfish.
To survivors, it can be hard to understand how someone could not think of those who love them before they take their own life. To those who have been fortunate enough not to experience this tragedy, I reckon it’s pretty easy to think that the one taking their own life is thinking only of themselves. To be fair, I’m sure there have been some selfish suicides in the past. I don’t actually know who would fit this category, but I’ll grant that it could happen. However, the majority are not.
I know there are those who take their own life after an event which served as a catalyst, but more often than not, even when there is an event present, there are still additional underlying issues. So many have mental illnesses, or are otherwise not in their “right mind”. To them, all they are focusing on is a way to stop the pain. I also maintain that they do think of others - they honestly believe that taking themselves out of their loved ones’ lives is doing them a favor.
I’m not by any means saying that since suicide is not selfish that it is acceptable. It is a tragedy no one should have to face, in any way. However, to say that we know precisely what that person was thinking, feeling, and intending is arrogant. Furthermore, to state such an opinion does nothing to give support to survivors of suicide. For my own part, reading the post I mentioned before only made me grieve more, even nearly ten years later. It made me second guess memories of my brother, and tempted me to think less than highly of him. While I’m not one to put on rose-colored glasses and pretend my brother was perfect, I’d much rather remember the good qualities about him. I don’t think I’m being too presumptuous when I say that others would prefer the same.
All this to say, please think before you declare suicide is nothing but selfish. Those who have committed suicide can’t hear you anyway, and those who are considering attempting need help and healing, not more pain.