Suicide is so complex that none of us could begin to understand another’s suffering and mindset that compels them to succeed in this act. I know from working with 100’s of people who struggle with these tendencies and assisting them in finding reasons to hang on that in that moment – they are convinced that the world and everyone that they love is better off without them.
You’re right, that is a form of selfishness.
But it is also an emmense sadness, an insidious negative self-narrative that often cannot be identified let alone counter-balanced, and it involves a compulsion in the mind that is strictly set apart from those who have never been on the brink – those who can not begin to put themselves in the others’ shoes.
I have been on that brink and have survived three attempts to take my own life. I have been in that darkness that floats in and says “I can’t deal; I’m better of dead; and they are all better off without me” countless times in my life from the earliest thoughts at 5 years old to the most recent close call in my 40’s after an excruciating divorce. My ideation and attempts were linked to the activation of the effects of early trauma, especially the negative self-narrative, although I cannot speak for anyone else.
My son’s friend and teammate shot himself with his father’s gun at 13 in his dad’s truck. My son asked me, “What would make Chris do that, Mom?” My best answer was and still is this: “We just don’t know exactly what it is that grips the mind in such a way that it overrides all of the built-in preservation inclinations of the human soul”. I find it hard to judge Chris as ‘selfish’.
And my experience is that there isn’t always a way for the individual to see that it’s “wrong” or for those of us outside of their minds to see it enough to help prevent it.
The truth is: most successful completions of suicide involve a person who shows no markers of being suicidal. That’s the deal – they don’t want anyone to suspect. Because if we do, we may succeed in stopping them.
Maybe they can’t reverse that thinking that’s going on. I know I had a hard time fighting it.
Maybe it’s just sad. Sad and complicated.
Thank you for starting the discussions, my friends, they need to be had. 🙏🏼💓
If you are suffering please reach out by calling U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988.
I’m so glad I did not succeed and that I did not miss this life – all of it.