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I Used to Say 'Suicide Is Selfish.' Now, I Know Better.

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“Suicide is selfish.”

A phrase – no longer than three words – that I’ve heard countless times. Too many times to count, really. It’s used carelessly, by those who either don’t know better.

“Suicide is selfish.”

Three words I’ve uttered myself, albeit a very long time ago. Before I knew better. Before I understood what depression really meant, and just how far you could fall down a rabbit hole, filled with absolute certainty that nothing would be right again. Before I knew depression could consume you, entirely, with the force of a black hole, to the point you actually hope the Queen of Hearts takes your heart. Or, your head. It doesn’t matter what she takes, not really, because you’re that far gone.

“Suicide is selfish.”

Three words so many people have a tendency to offer if you ever share the cold, harsh reality: that you no longer have any desire to live. And, more importantly, you’ve been in Wonderland for so long now you feel “crazier” than the Mad Hatter, but you also have no idea how to live. What those people don’t understand is that, when the darkness takes you like that, suicide does not feel selfish. It feels the opposite. In my darkest days, the days where I’ve either tried or seriously contemplated trying, I’ve genuinely thought the world  would be a far better place without me. I’ve genuinely believed that, even if some people were upset by my choice and untimely demise, they’d quickly realize I’d made the right decision. That the decision I’d made was best for everyone.

“Suicide is selfish.”

Is it though? Whenever I’ve contemplated actually taking my life – or tried – I’ve thought about making sure everything is organized and in place. That no one has to deal with any messes or nasty surprises. Suicide, I’ve learned, may be a lot of things, but it is not selfish. Not once have I thought truly and entirely about myself. Sure, I’m no liar – I dream of being Aurora and sleeping for a hundred years, thinking of nothing and no one. I dream of waking to true love’s kiss, and the evil curse, the spread of darkness, is finally broken and I’m finally free. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of what it’d be like to be free of the never-ending pain. (Just so it’s clear, in case anyone starts worrying, this is actually the best I’ve felt in years. I feel as though I’ve woken from some trance and I’m finally out of the woods – at least for now.) However, I mostly think about how everyone else would benefit from being free of me and my burden. I think about how much “happier” everyone would be. I genuinely assume most people wouldn’t miss me.

So please, stop saying suicide is selfish. Shaming someone who feels the pain of the entire world doesn’t work: it just makes them feel like more of a failure. And that’s seriously not want someone contemplating suicide needs.

Follow this journey on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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

Originally published: September 11, 2016
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