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My Thoughts on Suicide and the Ones Left Behind

Updated on March 8, 2012

Last night a friend of mine called me up. Her husband's cousin had committed suicide. I was immediately heart-broken. She did not know her husband's cousin very well. Only that he had been depressed for most of his life (like me) and never married (like me). I was sad for this man and tried to push the idea that this fate could be mine out of my head.

As I continued listening to my friend, I started to become a bit incessed. Suddenly, this cousin of her husband's was a selfish person, someone who didn't care about his family and how could he put his family through such hell. I reminded her of my depression and gently told her that depression is a disease. Like any other disease, outside influences can aggravate symptoms. This man was 48, lost his job, had no family of his own, lost his father and was about to move back in with his mother due to financial woes. He was already suffering from depression. The mental turmoil this man was put through is unimaginable.

I'm not advocating suicide or saying it's okay. On the contrary, suicide is a devastating and desperate act. The death of a person can affect more people that one can imagine. Nobody wants to die. Nobody has the right to pass harsh judgement either.

A Selfish Act? Hardly.

Sadly, mental illness is not taken seriously. People like to use the word crazy to dismiss another person or to shut them up. It is a negative word, a scary word, if you will. Nobody wants to be crazy. Because of this, many people who have mental illness will not seek help.

When you have a disease, you can't ignore it. It gets worse over time. Many people with cancer who get help can beat it. Those who don't get help will get worse and then it's too late. Mental illness is the same. Not everyone who gets help will get better, but it will improve your chances.

Calling a suicidal person selfish is not so much different than calling a terminally ill patient selfish. You wouldn't do that, because it isn't true.

Don't Blame Yourself

When someone we love dies, we torture ourselves with 'what ifs'. Don't do that to yourself. It isn't your fault. Your loved one did not want to see you in pain and did not blame you for the things that happened. In their distorted thinking, they may have believed that life would be better for all those around them if s/he were gone. Of course, it isn't true, it's the depression talking. Over time, these feelings become overwhelming. Don't listen to others who put down your loved one. They simply don't understand.

Sometimes I wonder if there is something that awaits us after we leave this world. I'm too much of a realist and have never been a spiritual person. Of course, I've heard many wonderful stories from people about dying and seeing that warm, bright light filled with love. Perhaps my friend and her husband's cousin is in a better place now. A place where there is no pain, no worries and no despair. Perhaps a place where he can finally find peace.

I dedicate this hub to him, the others who have left this world and all their loved ones.


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    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

      I am saddened of the event Amymarie, yet am happy you did use writing as your outlet for expression. It takes courage at times to share this type of issues with its surrounding dilemmas and attached emotions. Thank you for sharing while prayers go out.

    • The Suburban Poet profile image

      The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Hi amymarie. My college roommate and one-time best friend committed suicide back in 1993. His mother and grandfather had also committed suicide. I knew he had depression issues because he left college one year mid-sememster due to it. I met his mother at the time and she explained that he needed to rest. I was only 21 at the time and was a bit confused. I wondered how could this really smart and fun guy have problems? He was a great artist and very soulful. I found out later he was an insomniac. One thing also was that he seemed to take it very hard when a woman rejected. Harder than normal. He'd go into dark places for sure. It's interesting your comment about selfishness though because one summer he was visiting his mother and he went out for the evening. We he came home he found her dead by his own hand. He told me he was so mad at her because she knew he was going to be the one to find her. But we talked about it and I said it's like when someone murders someone. They are in a place that is not rational and they don't think about consequences or anything else. Then later he killed himself. I still think of him and have written a poem on here about him:

    • The Suburban Poet profile image

      The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Thank you for posting this by the way. It's weird how I woke up today and there you are and now I'm remembering my friend.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thank you Tsmog, I appreciate your comment and glad that you can undestand where I'm coming from.

      Suburban Poet, I'm so sorry about your college roommate. I had a HS friend that shot himself. It was right after we graduated. I never would have expected it either. He always seemed so happy. I later learned he was bipolar. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm going to read your poem now.

    • stclairjack profile image

      stclairjack 5 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

      you render me speachless in the best possible way.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thanks StClairJack. I always appreciate your comments.

    • Renee Abbott profile image

      Renee Abbott 5 years ago from Arizona

      Suicide is such a taboo subject, and in my opinion you presented your point of view well. I have never met anyone who has not contemplated doing so at least once in their life, and I have known a few who have.

      Mental illness and depression can eat a person alive, and the inner pain they go through is ruthless. I cannot judge a person who does, though my heart will be heavy for the ones left behind, as well as the one who died.

      Your voice, AmyMarie shares a ray of hope, for even through your own depression you can still articulate so well the meaning of grace.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      I feel sad for people who tend to commit this unlawful thing. we have no right to end our lives..and needless to say the repercussions left on people left behind.

      you have pointed out some useful points..Amy!

      voted up as useful/interesting.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is such a thoughtful and tender dialogue about a very tragic issue. Your sensitivity for all those involved is so touching. A former business colleague lost two close relatives this way, within just a few years of each other. Thanks for your beautiful and helpful thoughts. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • profile image

      Chrissy 5 years ago

      Thankyou for sharing your thoughts. My best friend has just committed suicide and I am struggling to manage a range of emotions. Even though I suffer from depressioon myself I can not seem to understand or deal with the tragedy of her loss.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thank you Renee, I hope I was able to shed some light on this. It's a difficult topic but I hope that it helps that I was able to write a bit about it. I appreciate your kind words.

      Hi Ruchira,

      It's hard to understand what goes on in a person's mind before they decide to take their own lives. I truly believe that when mental illness gets out of hand, the person is no longer thinking clearly. It's so tragic and so sad. I hope I can help people with my writing. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Hi Marcy, I'm so sorry and sad to hear about your collegue's loss. I can't even imagine losing two loved ones. One would be hard enough. I wish her the best. Thanks for writing.

      Hi Chrissy,

      I'm so deeply sorry to hear about your friend. I know it isn't easy but I hope you can get through this time. Are you in therapy or do you have someone to talk to? This is such a hard thing to go through and you will need all the support you can get. I wish you all the best. You can contact me if you would like. I'm not a doctor but it may help if you need to get some feelings out. Take care.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      This topic is a very delicate and difficult topic to talk about. We all react in many different ways; Some will see this act as a selfish one; others will feel pity, while others will just mourn. I think suicidal thoughts are the effect of different causes, and the act of wanting to commit suicide has different reasons. Thanks for the hub.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      That is so sad. It is a disease.. My cousin that did eventuality get married and it was a very strange relationship which they never had children. he was so depressed all his life. I found out later his dad had done some terrible things to him and he did end up commit suicide. It was so sad. I was devastated.. Life is so fragile anyway and when you are in that condition it is even more fragile.

      You hub is excellent.


    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      So well written. So sensitive and thoughtful. I am so impressed with this hub. I wrote a hub trying to get people to understand clinical depression. You're right! It's like telling people with cancer to just GET OVER IT! Depression hurts. It's hard to live with. I appreciate your compassion. Voted this hub up and everything but funny. Well done!

    • madmachio profile image

      Nathan K 5 years ago from Kansas

      Well done. I also had a cousin that committed suicide. It's sad and a bad loss.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Very well written and handled just right, thank you for sharing this very needed information.

    • SeekingMJ profile image

      SeekingMJ 5 years ago from Bryan, Texas

      Very well written. Being bi-polar, I have been in that dark place more times than I care to admit. My mother has attempted several times, but never succeeded. My son, who was addicted to prescription drugs at the time, tried to OD twice. Thankfully, he is now sober and for now the suicidal thoughts are gone, but I know from family history they will be back.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      amymarie.....This is heartbreaking and causes us to open our minds to the seriousness of mental health. While illness may be physical or mental, there has been, for far too long, unnecssary stigma attached to mental issues. Truth and facts be known, diseases and/or conditions effecting the brain are of utmost significance to the whole of a human being.

      I appreciate that you have brought this to the forefront and made your points so eloquently. UP ++

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Well written and powerful thoughts! Voted up for making me think!

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      You're welcome Anna. It's a very sensitive topic and I can see how some could label the act as selfish. It truly isn't a selfish act though. Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thank you Curiad. I appreciate your comments.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      I'm sorry for your loss Madmachio. It's such a tragedy and I hope your family was able to find some peace. Thank you for commenting.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Victoria Lynn,

      Thank you for your comments. It means so much and I appreciate your understanding as well. I think some people will never truly understand that depression is a real illness and needs to be treated like mine. I'm looking forward to reading your hub on depression. I hope our writing brings some awareness. Take care!

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Debbie,

      I'm truly sorry about your cousin. I can imagine how devastated you and your family must feel. Life really is fragile and more people should learn to be more compassionate. Thank you so much for sharing your story, for reading and for commenting. I hope your family can find some peace.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi SeekingMJ,

      I can relate to what you are saying. My brother is bipolar and we both suffer from suicidal thoughts from time to time. Unfortunately this sort of thing often runs in families. I wish you well and thank you for reading and sharing your story.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Fpherj48,

      Thanks for stopping by. I always look forward to your comments. It's true, the stigma around mental health has been around for too long and it's unfair. Hopefully more awareness can be brought to this issue and lives can be saved. I appreciate you reading and thank you for the kind comments.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thank you Twinstimes2. I appreciate you stopping by and taking time to comment.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is a very sensitive and balanced perspective on both the victims and the survivors. I agree with everything you've said here, and I congratulate you on handling a difficult subject in a straightforward and undestadable way.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • ramurray3 profile image

      ramurray3 5 years ago from New York City

      It is a very heartfelt subject and we need to try and help in anyway we can

    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      @ Ruchira. Calling suicide an "unlawful thing" is a bit much. Also, saying people have no right to end their lives is also silly. Sometimes people feel that is the only thing they actually have control over. You can't go around calling suicide "unlawful" and not a right. None of us can know what exactly is going on in a person at the exact moment when they take this step. "Right" or "wrong" should not be attributed to suicide. It is a tragedy for the one who committed it and the ones left behind, all of whom should be respected.

    • annaglomesh profile image

      annaglomesh 4 years ago from Australia

      Really good article. Where I am from ( Australia) we have a very high suicide rate, particularly amongst men. I worked in the funeral industry for 15 years and am a qualified embalmer ( having a break at moment) Although it was part of the job the rate of suicide never ceased to amaze me...all sorts of people..with the world at their feet. I heard all the stories - depression, desperation, spur of the moment decisions, carefully planned decisions, even some emotional paybacks ... saw a multitude of reasons why someone would take their own life. It is a sad and complex issue but I don't tend to go with the 'selfish' notion...we can't know what was going on in them.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 4 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Annaglomesh,

      I never knew that about Australia. It's interesting and sad that the suicide rate among men is so high.

      Working in the funeral industry for so many years couldn't be easy. I have a lot of respect for someone who can work in an environment where people are constantly grieving. I'm such a sensitive person and don't think I could do it. I imagine you get used to it over time.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

      Thank you for speaking to the "selfish" attitudes that many people that take their life have attributed to them. They clearly don't have any real understanding of depression.

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