Is suicide really such a bad idea?

  June 18th, 2009 by americandownunder

I’ve had anxiety and depression most of my life, on and off since I was around 10; and more and more frequently since my twenties (I’m almost 40 now). Right now it’s not the worst. But I would like to be dead.

Like I said, I’m not in the depths right now – but it’s been four years since I’ve really had much pleasure in my life.  I can keep going – I’m productive, I’m pursuing things I used to love, and new things I might love now. I have a home, I have friends, I’m doing okay financially. But I am not even close to happy.  And in a way, that’s worse than when the pain was more agonizing.

I just question why I should keep going. Why should I stay alive? I mean that question genuinely. Best I can figure, the reasons other people come up with is because things might get better; because life is of value; and because I’d cause other people pain if I died.

Well, things might get better. That’s true, of course. But they might not. They haven’t for years. Sure, I’m in much less pain; but it actually feels worse that the things I love don’t give me pleasure any more.  And plenty of people don’t feel better.

Yeah, I could keep trying new medications, and maybe I’d find one that’d help. Or maybe not. I’ve been trying different medications for around 7 years now; some help more than others, though ironically I was never suicidal before I started taking them, and it’s definitely the case that some of the medications have made me more suicidal than I was before. What if I just don’t want to try or take any more pills? Does that make me weak, or a coward?

I’ve been in therapy for 15 years or so; with four different therapists. Has it helped? I don’t know. I know a lot more about myself. But I’m significantly less happy than I was before I started. Why should I keep going?

Many people say life is always of value: that I have a role to play no matter how small; that I am unique. But so what? Why can’t my role be over? I don’t really believe in God.  But if I did, I’d think that God doesn’t make mistakes, and if God doesn’t make mistakes, then my desire to kill myself isn’t a mistake, and killing myself can’t be a mistake either.

Life doesn’t seem to me to be valuable in and of itself. Isn’t the point of it to be happy? Of course no one is happy all the time. But if someone is unhappy most of the time, isn’t it the generous and compassionate thing to put them out of their misery?

Causing other people pain: that seems like the best argument to me. I don’t want to cause others pain, particularly my folks. (I actually wish my parents were dead, because if they were, I wouldn’t feel any need to stay alive myself.) I keep reading on here that suicide is selfish. But why isn’t it selfish on the part of other people to want me to stay alive? Isn’t that other people wanting me to stay in pain so they don’t have to be? Why isn’t their argument that things might get better a way of justifying their own selfish desire to keep me around?

Sometimes I read that suicide is a bad idea because people who’ve tried to kill themselves often are glad afterwards they didn’t die. But that seems like a bad argument to me. A major predictor of a suicide attempt is a previous suicide attempt. So a lot of people who don’t die after an attempt still want to, enough that they keep trying. Who’s to say they’re wrong? Why can’t we make this choice, for ourselves, to put an end to a life that just isn’t what we want and hope and wish it to be?

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