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Topic Author
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Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 4:57 am

As many of you know I am a Police Officer. One of the least pleasant types of things we deal with is suicide. This past Monday I went to another one. This time it was a 45 year old woman who hung herself in her basement and was found by her husband. Now this is not the first nor I am sure the last suicide I will attend. This one was different in that I knew the woman and had known her for about ten years. I knew she had been suffering from depression and for whatever reason this past Monday was her last day here on earth among the land of the living.

As is often the case she left a note. This note said the usual things, " its not your fault, everything is yours now, I won't be a burden to you any longer etc, etc, etc."

After work a bunch of us were sitting around talking about the call and two schools of thought were predominant. The first was that people who commit suicide have reached the end and they can simply no longer continue to live in te pain that they feel. The second was that people who commit suicide are selfish individuals and everything has to revolve around them and that by killing themselves they guarantee that they will be the subject of much discussion.

Both trains of thought have merit as far as I am concerned but I am still unsure as to which camp I fall into.

I do know however that it is devastating to the surviving family members and they are always left with questions. The notes left behind never answer any questions they simply cause more to be asked and they are questions we will never have answers to because the one capable on providing those answers is dead.

The bottom line on suicide in my OPINION ( stress opinion ) is that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I look forward to your opinions and feedback on this delicate issue.

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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 6:30 am


Thre are a lot of psychiatrists out there who would agree with your bottom line. Depression and psychiatric illness does play a big part. I don't know the exact numbers, but I'd say over half to 2/3 are related to mental illness. Other reasons range from attempts at getting attention, to release from termial illness.

While selfishness may definately be an emotional or sociological explaination, there is usually something more fundimental underlying these feelings.

What is also true is the pain and devistation it causes to those family and friends who love them, and to which you accurately describe. There's a lot of truth to the saying that a suicide attempt is a cry for help.


The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 7:53 am

Well....I must say that I have no first hand experience with the topic at hand.

After giving it some thought, I would put myself in the camp that says it is the way to end the pain that the person is feeling.

I say this because I feel that in order to commit such an act, the person must be under significant stress that other influences such as drugs, alcohol, love or money could not cure. The "self-pity" camp is also a logical choice, however I feel that if it was to be split into percentages I would say that 90% are trying to end their pain.

The only circumstance whereby I would kill myself was if I was in severe uncurable pain due to a terminal disease....or if I was a quadrapeligic. Both are instances where I would be in pain....mental and/or physical.....thus my reasoning.

My opinion on someone who kills themselves without being in either of the categories that I have mentioned is one where I would say "'s too bad that XXX killed themselves." And I would get on with my life without giving it a second thought.

By the suicide is people get prosecuted for failed attempts ? Probably not I would assume.

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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 9:42 am

Interesting topic. I have some experiences at dealing with suicides - most recently just a few weeks back when the brother of my partner took his own life. Essentially the background is that they come from a broken family (parents divorced when they were 8-12 years old) and this had a long term effect, which they still feel. Both my partner and her brother had often stated that they would never put their own children through what they went through when they were young. The guy in question and his partner had a daughter late last year. All was going very well until recently when they started finding things difficult and arguments were frequent. After a couple of months, he must have decided that there was no future in the relationship, and he felt it better that he not be part of his daughter's life at all, instead of putting her through the pain & suffering of split parents. His daughter is only 6 months old now and would never remember him, so he took his own life. In this case, I don't think it falls into desparation or selfishness, but the ultimate sacrifice.

I know of another case where the person ended their life simply because they felt they could not add any value to life, ie they felt they could not contribute constructively to society. Maybe some people just don't like being a burden on others.

However in saying that I guess with all suicides there is some selfishness. What I mean is that someone invariably has to come along and clean up the mess afterwards - something the person committing suicide doesn't think about. I have spent several years in the Coastguard and have (fortunately only once) had to go looking for a body in the sea after someone jumped off a cliff and saw first hand the results of what three days in salt water and sea lice can do to a body. Something I'll never forget. However, guys like you have to deal with this sort of thing on an almost daily basis and 'I take my hat off to you'.

Topic Author
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 9:49 am

Attempting to kill oneself is not a criminal offence in Canada. It may allow the Police in Ontario anyway to exercise some authority under the Mental Health Act but not the criminal code. Aiding or abetting or counselling someone to commit suicide is another matter however.

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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 1:59 pm

Hi ,
I have gotten in touch with an old mate of mine from elementary school a few days ago, later found out that a classmate of mine in elementary school had commited suicide in his home by using his dad's gun. I was shocked about what I've heard. This guy had always been an outcast in the times i was in elementary school and i would expect that he was t he same in elementary school. Everyone said the reason he commited suicide was that he could take no more in the teasing of his classmates and decided to end his life.

I would say , the reason this guy commited suicide, was because he can take no more of all the craps coming into his life ( i've also heard that he had some family problems ) , but not only that , I think the main reason he did what he had to do was a form of a "punishment" to all the people putting crap into his life, by making them feel guilty for the rest of their lives, and by teaching them a lesson that this is what they will get as a result of "overteasing"...

Just an opinion...
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sun Jul 02, 2000 2:02 pm

Suicide its a sin ..
if God gave you life,God take it out
"For Us, Sky is not the limit.. Its Ground" / L-1011Alpha.
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Tue Jul 04, 2000 10:35 pm

very good topic.

I knew a girl and i don't talk to her anymore (she moved awat) due to a suicide.

Her mother topped herself. My 'friend' was the eldest 16 - with 3 younger siblings. 10 8 and 5.5. Everything was fine at home. Her mother was a housewife, and the father in middle management. The parents were the nicest people you could ever meet. My friend never spoke of any trouble at home when the subject was raised in conversation - only did i once hear her whinge - and that was when her father refused to buy her a bottle of alcohol for a party. (she and I are both underage)

About 8 weeks ago - she and her siblings went with her mother to a caravan park for their usual school holidays. Their father was to join them on the friday night for the long weekend.

For no particular reason the mother on the thursday night (after the children were asleep) decided to hang herself from the nearest suitable tree. She was found hanging by a fisherperson (fisherman) talking a short cut through the park in the wee hours.

No note nothing...

To me this is awful. She has a responsiblility to those kids. If you cant fufill that responsibility dont have children.

To me suicide solves nothing but showing how much attention you can get. Its always going to have an effect on someone somewhere somehow. What does it solve. I'm not a religious man, so i believe what we have now is as good as it comes, so make damn sure you make the most of it. Why loose the oppourtunity for a few more seconds, a few more hours.

Obviously my view on this doesnt extend to the terminally ill. In my book euthenasia is fine. If you can convince two doctors its the right way then sure. But this comes with careful concideration, and consulation with family members.'s passenger - simultaneously connecting and flying direct.
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Thu Jul 06, 2000 12:57 pm

IF you go quickly, you can buy the Rolling Stone issue with Christina Aguilara on the cover. Inside their is an article about whether gays should be allowed into the Boy Scouts. The most poignant statement was a gay man who had nowhere to go, and no one to turn to, so he went to a bridge, sat on the edge, cried, and contemplated his fate. Then he remebered what his teacher had told him: "Suicide is a permanent solution, to a temporary problem". I found this so true, as I have not had to deal with this trauma, of actually thinking about killing myself, I must say that I would never kill myself. I can't think of one reason why I would kill myself. I've learned no matter how bad things get, it can eventually only get better,SO LONG AS YOU TRY TO MAKE THEM BETTER.

I can imagine what goes through the head of someone who is about to commit suicide. I can only imagine the pain, suffering, and helplessness that they feel. I oppose suicide as an option, but then again, I hope I'm never put into the position fo considering suicide as an option.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:24 am

wow...personal topic! Well my parents divorced when i was 5 years old. It was a rought itme for me, i didnt understand it and i always thought what kids think when that happens, it was my fault. A few years later, my dad got re-married. My new step-mom turned out to be abusive and i would pretty much neglect us or beat us. It was awful. Everyday i was down there i would try to find a way out. Iyt got to the point where the only way out for me was to kill myself, granted, im only 9 years old...Well i decided to wait a little longer and my dad divorced her(thank God). Then in the 6th grade i went form tons of friends and rather liked in elementary school, to outcast and picked on, big difference. I became very depressed and again only saw suicide as a way out of what was a life i did not want to live. Well at this point i decided i was gonna give God a bigger chance, well look at me now, it worked. Im not saying turn to God while thinking about suicide. But I am saying, i see suicide as the only way out of pain a person sees, because that is what it was to me. Anyways, g/g now, bye
Why would God make us all so different, if He wanted us to be the same?
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Sat Jul 08, 2000 12:08 pm

It has been studied extensively, and the pervasive feeling among those who make serious suicide attempts, but survive, is a feeling of hopelessness. The act of suicide is not an intentionally selfish act, and I have often found those who espouse such an opinion to be the ones who are really selfish. When I refer to serious suicide attempts, I mean those who truly try to kill themselves (whether or not they succeed), whether with a gun, the right combination of pills, carbon monoxide poisoning,etc., not those who make repeated gestures with a handful of pills or some other half-hearted act that is clearly attention seeking. As a physician, I have seen many cases of both, and there is a difference. Those who commit suicide see no hope for any other release from their pain. The devastation of their loved ones cannot be compared with any other experience. The humane attitude is to recognize all these factors, and not make a simplistic, judgmental statement that suicide is merely an act of selfishness.
I'm not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.
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RE: Suicide.. Desperation Or Selfishness?

Mon Jul 10, 2000 8:37 am

I have had my own experiences with a person trying 2 commit suicide. Luckily she didn't, and i don't think she will again. But talking to a friend of hers, she was saying that looking back, she thought suicide was preoably one of the most selfish things she's attempted.


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