Myths about Suicide

In the wake of Robbin Williams suicide, it is important to understand suicide and why people commit suicide.  There are a number of misunderstandings about why people commit suicide.

The first misunderstanding is that they committed suicide because they are selfish and only thinking of themselves.  This can be further from the truth.  If anyone has known someone with depression, you know how debilitating it is, and what a dark place the depression can take you.  When someone is at the point of committing suicide, they are not even thinking about themselves and the importance of their life.  Often, they truly believe that no one cares about them and that they will never climb out of this dark hole of depression.  It is not that the person considering depression doesn’t care about the people around them, but that the depression has taken hold so strong that they believe the only option is suicide. 

The second misunderstanding is that attempting to commit suicide is for attention.  When someone is contemplating suicide, their depression has taken such a strong hold on them, that they have far surpassed the ideas of attention seeking. If anything, they want the opposite. If someone is talking about suicide in an attention seeking way, then good for them.  They may be seeking help. Better to make people aware of how one is feeling and get the help than risk the alternative outcome.

When someone is considering depression, some people do consider their family and friends.  This happens in either one of two ways. Either the person feels like they are being a hinderance to their family and friends and feels like if they end their life, then they won’t be a bother anymore.  Depression makes on feel completely and utterly isolated. This substantially adds to considering suicide.  The other situation that can occur is that the person considering suicide is not being selfish at all, but does consider their family and friends, and this may help them hold on one more day longer.  In the end, the depression completely takes control and the feelings of living with the depression worsen to the point that they can’t go on, regardless of their family and friends. 

Depression is not something that you can control. It is a mental illness, that is biologically based when it gets to the point of considering depression.  Having biological based depression is the same as having diabetes, cancer, or some other medical condition.  The only difference is that depression is a mental illness, not a physical illness.  This relates back to my earlier article called Taboo! about the differences between a mental illness and a physical illness. Just as you need medication to help aid a physical condition, so does someone with depression.  You don’t call someone that lost their battle with cancer selfish, so why with someone that lost their battle with depression? Both are illnesses that completely took over, albeit the modes of losing their lives are different.

Instead of looking at suicide as selfish, consider the enormity of their depression and how much they are hurting when deciding to make this life or death situation.

If you or someone you know is battling with the thought of suicide, call the national suicide hotline at 1800-273-TALK.

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, it is advised to seek professional help.


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