How Suicide Is Not Selfish But Part of Illness

June 24, 2018

 

It bothers me when I hear someone say suicide is selfish, how selfish of that person is to end their life, end their suffering. Everyone's personal reason for suicide is their own, just like how everyone's chronic illness is different. Suicide is not the answer but it is also not always selfish. 

 

Am I selfish because my brain is faulty? So are my joints thanks to my autoimmune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis which exhilarates my mental health issues. Not to mention can effect the brain among other organs such as my lungs, skin and heart. The brain is a powerful organ too. Depression is a symptom of both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It also can be part of living with osteoarthritis, another form of arthritis I live with. My body has a bunch of stuff wrong with it, which you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me, it's part of invisible chronic illness. 

 

Depression can make you inactive, which is not good for the joints, body or mind. Inactivity is apparently the new smoking. 

 

When Robin Williams committed suicide I felt hurt, a favorite part of my childhood had just died. My coworker called him selfish. I understood his pain though, I knew it was anything but selfish. It was a deep pit of suffering which you can't control, you don't want it and it can't just turn off by suggestion. It makes you do things you later question and regret. 

 

Read Article: Robin William's Death: What is Lewy Body Dementia

 

I understood why he contemplated suicide after a major disease diagnosis and how that disease made him so depressed to where he took his own life. Mine did the same thing to me though it was a different illness. Suicide is part of illness, not attention or being selfish. 

 

My hormones after the birth of my son, years of untreated depression and not yet diagnosed arthritis, years of bullying and my life catching up on me caused me to attempt at taking my own life. I could not control my thoughts or actions, I knew I was in desperate need of help though. I felt like my mind was lost. I was lost. 

When I was right smack in my own nervous break down from two major life altering arthritis diagnosis  I contemplated taking my own life daily. I didn't want to die but I also didn't want to live a life of pain and fatigue. Death itself scared me. The escape is what I wanted. I knew I had to face my mental health issues face on and it wasn't going to be easy or quick. Now I had physical illness to face. 

 

Would you call someone who's going through heavy duty pharmaceutical drugs that may or may not cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors selfish? I am sure you've seen the infomercials for drugs now. 

 

I've had to stop a number of pharmaceuticals to treat my RA because may or may not cause suicidal thoughts and even actions. One drug I was told was the mildest, safe to get pregnant on I now have to say I am allergic to because I found myself emailing my rheumatologist at 3 am saying it was giving me suicidal thoughts and actions, my skin was also really itchy. I was only on that drug for 3 weeks.

 

Sometimes I find the pain of my mental illness far more painful than my three forms of arthritis.

 

Would you call someone who died of cancer selfish? Who are you to judge the effect a disease has upon someone? They had a long battle with cancer, may they rest in peace now. 

 

What about those that have had a lifelong battle with mental illness? The worst things to happen as a result of mental illness is death, whether it be someone else or their own lives. Mental Illness can cause either. 

Is that to say someone who doesn't live with a chronic illness such as arthritis shouldn't be depressed or suicidal?

 

No.

 

I knew depression and thoughts of suicide long before I knew arthritis. They've plagued me since I was a teenager. I didn't ask for them and they scared me. I feared death, I knew I was young and had a lot of life ahead of me. But my mind kept telling me I would never be anything, no one would love me and I was worthless. 

 

Before being diagnosed with arthritis, if I spoke about my mental health I was being dramatic but I was suffering inside. Part of that is because people will judge me more for my mental illness than what's happening in the rest of my body. Stigmas hurt many diseases. 

 

 What about all the low self esteem issues that have been emotionally beaten into my head from previous adverse childhood experiences? I can't control what was said or done to me that effected my brain, just like you can't change or control all disease or injury to the rest of the body. The body needs many different types of specialized therapy, nothing to be ashamed of. 

 

There is also a massive pressure today to succeed, be number one, be the best when we should just focus on being our best selves, not number one. Self acceptance is important to recovery and happiness. 

 

You have the choice to stay.

 

You can make a difference in your life.

 

Is it going to be easy? No. Is it going to happen over night? In a few weeks? A month? Probably not. There's something very rewarding knowing you overcame though, it will show you there is another tomorrow and your inner strength. That day might be another bad day but you just got past this one, the next day might be a good one. 

 

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