To call someone a coward for taking their own life is cruel. To tell someone they should just kill themselves is cruel To not consider the internal suffering someone has and then call them selfish for taking their own life is cruel.
Though the loss hurts deeply, one must consider how much pain this person was going through to lead them to the point where the only way out of it would be to take his or her own life.
I once had a plan. I was going to take an entire bottle of pills and fall asleep, never to wake up again. I kept thinking about this plan. I started to seriously consider going through with it a while ago, and decided to call a suicide hotline instead. I spent about an hour talking to this stranger about what I was going through—my depression, my recent head injury and how I didn’t feel like myself anymore, my constant headache, my apathy toward things I used to love… He talked to me long enough that I realized what a bad idea suicide was.
But, despite knowing that, the thought will still run through my brain at random.
It doesn’t have to be triggered by anything. Sometimes, I’ll just be sitting in traffic and I’ll think: “People would have it so much easier if I wasn’t alive.” The fact that I want to kill myself has nothing to do with feeling sad for myself. No, it’s the absence of any feeling towards myself at all. I don’t care what happens to me. Because I don’t matter. Not in my mind.
I think about how much easier people would have it, and then I think about how they would miss me when I’m gone. That usually stops me. Usually. This other day when I called the hotline—nothing was working. I was going to go through with it. As I sit here and write this, I have to ask myself: what was it that made me call?
I suppose a part of me had some genuine curiosity about what someone says to you on the suicide hotline. And, while I wasn’t in the frame of mind to retain information, I do remember thinking that they needed better hold music.
Having dealt with suicidal ideation on more than one occasion, I can empathize with those who go through with it. Hopelessness and that loss of control are powerful and draining. You can put on a front of being a carefree and happy person, but that one part of you that feels nothing doesn’t go away. People think you’re fine when you have your good days. They think you’re over it. But the reality is that you aren’t over it at all. It lurks. It is the slimy mass of self-hate that is latched onto your back, burdening you and draining you at the same time.
And when you hear people say things like: “this person was a coward” or “this person was selfish” when suicide is discussed, it simply helps to validate those feelings you have about yourself. That you are a coward. That you are selfish. And it leads to having those thoughts again—that the world would be better off with one less selfish coward.
Suicide is not about your feelings. Naturally, you will feel grief and so many conflicting emotions about it, but you were not the one who felt so lost that the only way to stop feeling like nothing at all was to kill yourself.