January 10, 2009

Answering Questions from Suicide.org

First of all, a belated apology to anyone who has arrived here from The-F-Word.org. I have no idea why I am linked there. This blog has very little to do with self-image and eating disorders.

A few nights ago, I was reading some older posts on The View From Hell. One post was a response to Suicide.org's contributor Kevin Caruso on his opinion that suicide can never be morally justified (page here). The Curator answers these questions excellently, but I thought I'd give them a go with my own opinions.

Suicide.org is not a unwholesome website; there's actually some useful information on there. Some of the "articles," though, are written in this awful tone as if the reader is three years old and only has a vague idea of what suicide is.

Do you have the right to devastate your family?

Yes I do. Plenty of young people devastate their families by marrying drug addicts, moving across the country, dropping out of school, and dying by causes other than suicide, for example. They are within their rights to do as they please, and I am no different than they.

Do you have the right to cause intense, almost unbearable pain for all of the loved ones that you leave behind?

See answer to above question.

Do you have the right to take away any possibility that you would get better?

One of the main reasons people have for committing suicide (yes, I use that and I don't find it offensive) is that they need to escape pain and see no other options. The idea is that if you're dead, you cease to exist, and don't feel anything at all. Death effectively terminates any chance of it getting worse too.

Do you have the right to take away all of the wonderful things in life that you have yet to experience?

Depression wouldn't be so unbearable if things could still be wonderful, would it? Again, I have a right to do as I choose. For example, my favorite food is chocolate ice cream. In my opinion, eating it can be described as a pleasing experience. However, no one can stop me if I decide to dump it down the drain, depriving myself of the pleasure of enjoying it.

Do you have the right to take an action that is a permanent solution to a temporary problem?

Who's to say that these feelings will be temporary? And if they are temporary, I'm not ever going to find out that I could've ended differently if I'm dead.

Do you have the right to cause irreversible brain damage to yourself if your suicide is not completed?

Ideally, the suicide will be completed, but as we all know, the world is not perfect. Obviously, I don't care enough for my body as it is to hang myself/shBoldoot myself/slit open my wrists. The brain is a clump of grey matter.

Do you have the right to cause yourself to become disfigured if your suicide is not completed?

People have a right to do this:


Need I say more?

Do you have the right to cause yourself permanent paralysis if your suicide is not completed?
As far as I am concerned, if I for some reason wanted to, I could destroy my spinal cord. But then again, I don't want to. If I were to attempt suicide, I'd rather it be successful.

Do you have the right to end your life instead of focusing on ending your pain? (It is the pain that you want to end, not your life.)
Sometimes, all other available methods of coping with and trying to end pain have been tried unsuccessfully. Suicide ends pain, but it has the ugly side effect of ending life as well. And how do you know what I want to end anyway?

Do you have the right to not receive treatment for the mental illness that you probably have -- the treatment that will make you better?

"Mental illness" are just words. The pain is very real. Let's say I have been in treatment and it hasn't done anything for me, which has been known to happen. This pretty much nullifies the question.

I would also like to answer every question on this page with the same answer: I could, but I wouldn't want to unless I feel that this person, for whatever reason, deserves or he/she/society would benefit from it.


  1. I don't think anyone has the *right* to hurt the people around them. In fact, I think they have a *responsibility* not to. Yes, you have a right to make your own choices, but you have a responsibility to make sure your choices don't hurt other people.

    *puts hammer down*

  2. Do you have the right to take away any possibility that you would get better? YOur answer to this question is why I think suicide is ok, the idea that your dead so things cannot get worse for many people is more comforting than the idea that staying alive could alow things to get better but is equally likely to continue to get worse. Anyway thats what I think, Hannah X

  3. I believe I understand the gist of your comments, but I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding the word "right." As human rights are now understood, a person has the right to life. The right to life includes, then, the right to end that life as the person sees fit.

    This right is complicated, however, in that a human being does NOT have the right to harm another human being.

    Because there are obviously situations where these two rights can come into conflict, a human being must then make a choice. Most moral systems advise a "lesser of two evils" approach of conscience when it comes to the intersection of the right to life and the right to harm.

    It seems to me that you want to be objective about suicide. First, understand that as a depressive, you are not objective about suicide. (Neither am I, I'm a depressive suicide survivor). But if you're going to make the attempt, then you have to look at each question against these two fundamental rights.

    Do you have the right to devastate (HARM) your family?

    Do you have the right to cause unbearable pain (HARM) to those you leave behind?

    While I also disagree with Caruso's rhetoric, I understand where it comes from. Take a breath, and ask yourself. Because suicide is not the great equalizer. It is, in fact, one more thing that continues the cycle of violence and depression in families. Suicide begets suicide. Who stops it? Will it be you?

  4. @Michelle

    I also understand Caruso's rhetoric; the "suicide causes even more pain/pontenial suicides" arguement is one of the intial arguements that kept me from committing suicide.

  5. I'm hating this F&Q as it did a very foolish argument on a very serious subject. Argumentum ad populum. It's ok because it's popular/everyone does it/ other people do it. BULLSHIT. If that was the case, nobody should obey road rules.

  6. Europeans have fewer car crashes than Americans do. They also have no speed limits.

    Are you arguing that no one should be allowed to go against the wishes of loved ones?

  7. I honestly don't think that you have the first idea of what you are talking about. I understand that you are feeling pain about your friend, and I understand that you are having problems yourself coping with her death. People do not commit suicide to 'escape the pain' or they think that ther eis no other way out. That is not true. I think that suicide is a cowards way with dealing with things they are too weak to handle. There are logical, more helpful, more rational ways to deal with how you are feeling than cutting a hole in your wrist and hoping that you die from it, or taking too many pills, or drinking that bleach you store under your sink. Cutting has become a trend these days, a Fashion Statment. I think that you should seriously just forget your argument right now because you seriouslty have no idea what you are talking about. This is coming from me, a person who has hurt herself, a person who has attempted suicide through pills and razors. This is coming from a person who sees this, and hears about this every day. No person has the right to inflict pain on another person, and everyone is entitled to the right to be happy. Medication is not all it is cracked up tp be, nor is it the next big accessory to any person's day. But, it is helpful. I am on a medication that has helped me for a long time, so I can be a person to vouch for it. There is no reason to deny or feel resentful or scared of a medication that can help you. Check out To Write Love on Her Arms and see what I am talking about. And, the brain is NOT a big clump of grey matter. It is water and tissue, and has every means necessary to mess with the chemicals in your body to create feelings of sadness, and depression, and anxiety. Sometimes treatment does not work for you, but you could work in the treatment. I have been to a counselor and it didn't work, talking to friends or family didn't work. I created something myself that helped me. One, I talked to my doctor. Two, he put me on the medication I am on. Three, I went to go see another councelor just to talk, but not to talk about my problems (light conversation). Four, I got a puppy. This gave me someone to live for, and someone to love me for me, and not judge me. Five, I threw away my razor. Keeping that just brought back bad feelings. Six, I figured out through all of my progress the triggers in my life that set me off. I hate being at home, I hate spending more time than I need to with my mother, arguments, crowds, boredom. Make the treatment work for you. Suicide doesn't end pain, it creates more. I don't care if you want to arue with me, and I don't care what you say to or about me. But, I know how you feel, and I don't lie about that. I have lost loved ones, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've been ripped to pieces, and I have ripped myself to pieces, thinking I deserved it. Now, I am spending my life trying to change it. And I don't care if you say this is BS. And I typed this entire thing without cursing once. That is a good thing for me because I really wanted to say a few things to you at first, a few, very angry things to you...But, I dind't. I hope that you are ok, and I am sorry about your friend. I am not offering pity in the slightest, because no one wants pity.