I started to write this as a comment after someone repeated something I’ve heard many times about suicide being selfish. Then I decided that it was really inconsiderate in regards to the situation about which she was writing.
Suicide has come up in several friends’ lives lately. I always feel a bit funny discussing it. I tried to kill myself in 1988. I very nearly succeeded. I hadn’t planned it—I went home from work with a headache and took all the pills in the house, starting with those I’m allergic to. I didn’t say goodbye to anybody. I didn’t threaten. It just—happened.
My first thought when I woke up in ICU days later was, “Damn, that was stupid.” I felt like shit, physically. Emotionally, I was still too depressed to really care much. My family and the few friends who even knew about it gave me a tremendous dumping of guilt, telling me how selfish I’d been. Boy was that helpful (not). From the way they talked, it was all about them. Because they cared about me, they believed that I had an obligation to stay alive.
I still disagree.
There’s only one case in which anyone has an actual obligation to live, as far as I’m concerned. If you have minor children, you have an obligation to stick around and rear them to adulthood. That’s it. Yes, I definitely *want* my life partner to live, and I’d be very hurt if he committed suicide. He’s not under any obligation to be with me, though. His only real obligation is to stick around until his youngest child is 18. And that’s it. Mine is to be around until Katie is 18, which will happen in 2008.
No, I’m not planning to off myself in 2008, or at any other time. I’m not suicidal at all. Now, I’m very glad that I did wake up in ICU way back when. I would have missed some of the most wonderful parts of my life if I had succeeded in killing myself. I hope I never get that depressed again. I hope that if I do get that depressed, someone like Sam will be able to intervene until I am more rational again. Is that his, or anybody else’s, job? Absolutely not. I’m an adult, and I am the only person responsible for me.
However, I find a lot of the talk about suicide to be full of extreme codependent bullshit, and I just needed to finally say it to get it out of my system.