Suicide, a topic that’s messy and one no one wants to talk about. So, let’s talk about it! Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and by looking at Facebook comments on articles dealing with this day, I see a majority of people still don’t understand. Here’s three of many misconceptions people have about suicide, and I’ll attempt to refute them.
1. Suicide is selfish
Simply, it’s not. I’ve heard suicide described as a heart attack in the brain. When people start having suicidal thoughts, it’s like a bullet train and hard to stop. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however. I cannot stress that enough. The person has a sick brain and they’re not thinking about the ramifications. And, here’s something to think about: many people who have survived suicide attempts say it was solely because of their family and friends that they held on so long.
2. Suicide is cowardly
It takes a great deal of strength to die, regardless of who you are. This comment usually comes from people who have never been in a place where their mind is literally telling them lies. Saying suicide is cowardly is like saying outrunning a moving train while the train tracks have walls built up around them and you have nowhere to go, is cowerdly. No. “But Tim. Why would there be walls built around train tracks?” Exaltly my point. There wouldn’t be. People who die by suicide have perceptions of things and situations that aren’t really real or true. That’s the nature of depression and anxiety. None of it is their fault. It’s a disease. And it can be deadly, just like cancer.
3. People who “commit” suicide go to hell.
Speaking as as a person of faith, I just see no basis for this statement whatsoever. In fact, I actually don’t believe it to be a sin at all. When someone dies of cancer, no one is going to say that their cancer was a sin. It was a disease that needed treatment. Same with depression. I’ve heard it said that suicide is the terminal stage of depression. It’s the stage where your brain literally turns on you against your will. I’m beating a dead horse here, but again, your mind can become sick just like the rest of your body. It does not, I repeat does not, signify a moral failing on your part.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1 (800) 273-8255