The Mighty Logo

What I'm Tired of Hearing People Say About Those Who Die by Suicide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

I felt the need to address some things I have been hearing lately when it comes to suicide and the emotions surrounding it.

About 10 to 15 minutes away from where I live, on a very common stretch of highway that we all know of and use frequently, a 56-year-old man jumped from the overpass and took his own life a couple days ago. As soon as I heard this information, I felt an immense amount of heartbreak inside. When I say this, I get asked the same question by many people: “Did you know him or something?” And of course, I respond with, “No, not at all…”

This response leaves them with the questioning and confused look, wondering why my heart would break for someone I didn’t even know… especially someone that took their own life that I didn’t know. This is what I have to say to each and everyone of those people:

It breaks my heart for a couple reasons. First, simply because it’s always sad when someone has passed away, whether I knew them or not. Life gone is a sad thing and it’s sad for the family of the person gone. Second, it breaks my heart because of why that life is no longer here. Suicide. It hurts my heart to know there are so many people out in this world who feel suicide is their only option. That there are people out there who feel so alone, they feel they can no longer continue. It makes me sad that I cannot be there with each and every one of those people who feel this way so that I can be their “person” in their time of need. It saddens me because I have also been in their shoes at one time or another, contemplating, attempting, then talking to my “person” who pulled me out of it, if even for a quick moment, so that I could reevaluate things. I have many “people” who have talked me down throughout my life and I couldn’t be anymore grateful for those people. The funny thing is, some of them had no idea what was about to happen before they walked into the room and began conversing with me.

We should all feel some sort of sympathy for those who have come to their wits end and are no longer here with us. Mental health is stigmatized as people who are “crazy” in one way or another, and that’s not fair to label it as such. This is why so many people don’t come to the surface asking for help when they need it the most. They are so afraid of being judged and looked at as a “crazy” person when, in fact, they are one of many many people in the same boat. I’m beyond tired of hearing people say those who take their own lives deserve no sympathy and are selfish because this is the furthest thing from the truth. They do deserve the sympathy and they are anything but selfish. Depression is hard to understand if you’ve never been there. The people who say those who take their own lives are selfish are the ones who have never been there before. Depression isn’t just someone who’s sad over a break up. There often isn’t a reasonable explanation. It’s not always about a certain event. You don’t always know why you’re depressed. All you know is that you are and you wish like hell it would just go away. But it doesn’t just go away. Sometimes that depression gets mixed with anxiety and panic attacks and it feels like it’s just too much to handle.

This is when we need our “person.” People take their own lives because they feel like everyone around them would be better off without having to deal with the burden of them still being here. They are actually trying to not be selfish… they don’t want anyone to have to “deal with” being around someone who has mental health issues. They just want the anxiety to stop. They want to be out of their own heads finally. They want it all just to stop… but they know this isn’t going to happen based on wishes.

This is why I’m writing this today, to let everyone who’s going through these things know that they aren’t alone! I have had depression for many years. I have high anxiety and severe panic attacks mixed in with many other diagnosis. After a search for a great psychologist, I have finally found one that I truly love and enjoy and connect with. I recommend her to everyone I know… because I’ve decided not to be afraid of being judged anymore. I’ve decided that I need to get the word out about mental health and acceptance because it’s so very important in helping people to cope. You don’t have to pity anyone. But when you’re talking about something you really know nothing about.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: December 5, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home