Suicide is selfish! There, I said it! But before getting angry with me, please allow me to explain.
24 years ago, suicide took the life of my dear brother. He was 21 years old, by all accounts he was in the prime of his life. He had the biggest smile, it was beautiful and cheeky. He was always in trouble, but he was such a warm person that you could never hold it against him. He was a fun loving young man who rode a motorbike, worked on farms, loved practical jokes, adventures and traveled. I can say without doubt that he was my hero. I cherished him and looked forward to each and every time he would come home to visit.
But behind his warm, personable, smiling, zany, and adventurous personality was lurking a sinister secret. He was suffering from depression – one day in June he took himself to a beautiful park and it was there that depression, which had been stalking him for so long, selfishly killed him and stole his light from us.
He was not selfish – in fact, my dear brother was a giving, warm, and loving person, he was kind, generous, thoughtful. Those beautiful traits are the opposite of selfish. But depression and suicide don’t care about the person they are affecting, they are self absorbed, cruel, overwhelming, painful. Yes indeed, suicide and depression are selfish.
This evil illness that was called depression lied to my brother over and over again. Coldly telling him to act in a way that was opposite to how he would have if he had been well.
While I have no way of knowing exactly what was going through his mind on that June morning, I am sure that he thought the most selfless thing he could do for those who he loved, those who loved him, was to end his life. I know this because I too have had this insidious illness tell me these same selfish lies, seeking to consume and destroy all the hope and joy inside of me for it’s own cruel desire.
Suicide takes the pain we feel ourselves and then passes it on to someone else. Suicide took my brothers pain and turned it against him, then selfishly took him from us and compounded that loss with the feelings of guilt that it likes to travel with.
I love my brother, and each day when I think of him a little piece of me breaks away. But each day I also thank him, because of his sacrifice, I have been able to struggle through the worst of the lies depression has told me and not let it win. I got to see first hand the way that suicide and depression use their hold on one person to infect others and that made me determined to hold on and not let them win.
My brother was not selfish. His actions were not those of a healthy person, he was not responsible for what happened to him, the sickness that consumed his mind was. Suicide was selfish, depression was selfish, they did not make HIM selfish – but they did break him to the point that he could only hear their lies.
If there was one thing I could say to him it would be “I am sorry that you could only believe the selfish lies that your mental illness told you, but I do not blame you. I love you and I am proud of who you were.”