Is Suicide Ever the Right Choice?

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-by Matt Leedham

The answer is no.

However, last night I was reminded of the frailty of the human psyche and the limitations of our own perspectives. An old friend of someone close to me took his own life yesterday.

I was immediately struck with compassion for the person telling me. Losing a friend like that must be traumatic and shocking.

Then my mind zipped over to thoughts of the deceased’s mother and young daughter…and all of the friends he left behind. Anger ensues as you ask yourself, “how could he do this to those around him?”

But then, after the dust settled and I reported the news to my wife, I couldn’t stop thinking about the state of mind of a person in so much pain that choosing suicide was, at the time, the best choice.

I got choked up thinking about the loneliness, the torment, and the depression. How terrible that must have been.

As someone that loves life passionately, it is really hard for me to fathom ending my own life. I can understand wanting to kill yourself, but I cannot process the pain and conviction of a person that goes through with it.

I have no other words for this.

I try to include a picture in every post, but couldn’t think of something that represents this topic. Instead, I’ll share something I found beautiful the other day. Just after sunrise, I was walking into a hotel in a business park near Dulles Airport, glanced up and saw this. For some reason I took a picture of it, and now I guess I know why.

It is reported that approximately 30,000 people commit suicide every year in the United States, while over 750,000 people attempt suicide. The most common cause of suicide is untreated depression.

If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately by calling a therapist or by dialing 1-800-SUICIDE.

10 thoughts on “Is Suicide Ever the Right Choice?

  1. Matt,

    This is such a sad story and your compassion is one of the things that I love most about you. I do want to offer you something else to consider. As you point out, none of us knows the mind of another. I would hope that most people should not kill themselves if they are depressed. There is always another option. I have heard that most suicide attempts are a plea for help. I hope that those who need that help will get it. Suicide does leave a deep and terrible impact on the survivors.

    However, my personal belief is that the answer to your question could be… "It depends." I know it is a personal belief, but I support assisted suicide for an individual who is in a hopelessly terminal situation and suffering. I watched my husband suffer a lot when he was dying. Ironically, he would not have chosen suicide. However, if he had, I would have held his hand and supported his decision… and I would have cried.

  2. Matt,

    This is such a sad story and your compassion is one of the things that I love most about you. I do want to offer you something else to consider. As you point out, none of us knows the mind of another. I would hope that most people should not kill themselves if they are depressed. There is always another option. I have heard that most suicide attempts are a plea for help. I hope that those who need that help will get it. Suicide does leave a deep and terrible impact on the survivors.

    However, my personal belief is that the answer to your question could be… "It depends." I know it is a personal belief, but I support assisted suicide for an individual who is in a hopelessly terminal situation and suffering. I watched my husband suffer a lot when he was dying. Ironically, he would not have chosen suicide. However, if he had, I would have held his hand and supported his decision… and I would have cried.

  3. Your feelings and opinions are always valid here, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. I have never been in your situation, so I cannot fully relate, but I do appreciate the gravity of the situation and your feelings on the matter.

    In this current moment…this little sliver of life that I am occupying…I just can't bring myself to be okay with someone ending their own life. Perhaps I'm just a naive, sentimental fool that believes everyone has something to offer others and in turn, something to live for.

    But clearly, it is your compassion that is standing out as the basis for your feelings and that is a beautiful thing. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet your husband – he sounds like a tremendous man.

  4. Your feelings and opinions are always valid here, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. I have never been in your situation, so I cannot fully relate, but I do appreciate the gravity of the situation and your feelings on the matter.

    In this current moment…this little sliver of life that I am occupying…I just can't bring myself to be okay with someone ending their own life. Perhaps I'm just a naive, sentimental fool that believes everyone has something to offer others and in turn, something to live for.

    But clearly, it is your compassion that is standing out as the basis for your feelings and that is a beautiful thing. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet your husband – he sounds like a tremendous man.

  5. Many times the initial reaction after someone commits suicide is one of anger. I try to remember the words a minister once said to me… "We should not be angry at the person who did this and we must try to remember that someone who would commit such an act must have been suffering from some sort of mental health issue. It may or may not have been diagnosed as such, but our natural basic instinct is for self preservation, so in order to take one's own life something must have gone wrong with those instincts." You may or may not agree with that comment, but it has helped me come to terms with why this type of thing happens.

  6. Many times the initial reaction after someone commits suicide is one of anger. I try to remember the words a minister once said to me… "We should not be angry at the person who did this and we must try to remember that someone who would commit such an act must have been suffering from some sort of mental health issue. It may or may not have been diagnosed as such, but our natural basic instinct is for self preservation, so in order to take one's own life something must have gone wrong with those instincts." You may or may not agree with that comment, but it has helped me come to terms with why this type of thing happens.

  7. Matt, I am so sorry to hear of your friend. That is so sad. I am baffled by why someone would take their own life. Depression should not be taken lightly. It is important to encorage others to get help if they need it.

    I don't mind sharing that I had battled with depression over 10 years ago and it never got that bad to even think of doing such a thing. I was encouraged to get help and did. I am a better person for it. There is nothing wrong in getting counseling.

    I will pray for this person's soul and their family who are feeling a terrible loss.

    There was this person who I am not that close with but he put a letter out on FB of all things he was ending his life. Thankfully with the help of others he was stopped. But this person has a cronic clinical problem that probably won't go away. And does not want to seek help. I don't know what a person does in that situation either.

    Keep sharing with others Matt talking it out with your wonderful wife and friends. You probably won't find reasoning of it all but it is a way to cope with just understanding there are some things that there are no answers for. We have to live so others can be inspired to live too.

    Love & Hugs to you.
    Patty Raffeld

  8. Matt, I am so sorry to hear of your friend. That is so sad. I am baffled by why someone would take their own life. Depression should not be taken lightly. It is important to encorage others to get help if they need it.

    I don't mind sharing that I had battled with depression over 10 years ago and it never got that bad to even think of doing such a thing. I was encouraged to get help and did. I am a better person for it. There is nothing wrong in getting counseling.

    I will pray for this person's soul and their family who are feeling a terrible loss.

    There was this person who I am not that close with but he put a letter out on FB of all things he was ending his life. Thankfully with the help of others he was stopped. But this person has a cronic clinical problem that probably won't go away. And does not want to seek help. I don't know what a person does in that situation either.

    Keep sharing with others Matt talking it out with your wonderful wife and friends. You probably won't find reasoning of it all but it is a way to cope with just understanding there are some things that there are no answers for. We have to live so others can be inspired to live too.

    Love & Hugs to you.
    Patty Raffeld

  9. Thank you both for your thoughtful comments. It is indeed a difficult subject to wrestle with.

    Patty, thank you for sharing your experience. Perhaps someone else out there will be hopeful of the prospect of progress knowing that there are options and so many people willing to help.

  10. Thank you both for your thoughtful comments. It is indeed a difficult subject to wrestle with.

    Patty, thank you for sharing your experience. Perhaps someone else out there will be hopeful of the prospect of progress knowing that there are options and so many people willing to help.

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