why is suicide bad?

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by gills, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. gills

    gills dead

    ok, i phrased that badly. potential goodness is uncertain, as is potential continued suffering; current suffering is certain, as is nothingness. i have no real evidence that potential goodness is more likely than potential continued suffering, and again there is no point at which someone has suffered "enough", they have to keep holding out because they MIGHT get better, no matter how much it hurts them, because that's what's expected. i don't mean to make this thread about myself but i did wait 5 years, and then 10, and have seen nothing but steady decrease.

    why is life, in general, better than death? even if someone chooses not to die, all life and existance is temporary and ultimately has no meaning, so why is living regardless of potential goodness the "right" choice?
  2. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    ideally everyone would also have access to perfect physical health care too, but that is super not the case so im sorta confused about your first point? people get abused and neglected and made worse by the physical (and mental) health care system all the time and it's horrible but... idk im confused

    i am kind of conflicted because i do really believe in body autonomy, and i think that people should be able to choose things for themselves even if society says it's bad. but. i feel that suicide is different, even though i am honestly having trouble articulating exactly why. i need to think on it more, definitely.
    • Like x 1
  3. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Right and wrong life decisions can only be decided by one's personal metrics, of course. Statistically, though, if you were to look at all suicide attempt survivors I'm fairly sure that a vast majority would tell you later in life that staying alive was the right choice. Given this, it's probabilistic that if you continue to stay alive, this will be your perspective as well.

    Either way, making big life decisions while your brain is looking at the scales through the obscuring veil of a mood disorder is a bad idea even if you're looking at justifications in the form of cosmic existentialism. How about this; wait until you're no longer suffering from mental illness that influences your judgement, re-evaluate whether life is worth living then, and make your decision at that point. Mood disorders are an impairment, and if friends don't let friends drive drunk then they certainly don't let them kill themselves while depressed. It's just not a good move to make.
    • Like x 3
  4. gills

    gills dead

    you said with good mental healthcare people often improve; ime good mental healthcare is hard to find and hard to access.

    suicide is different because it's societally unaccepted, presented as always wrong, and generally accepted to be bad without question.

    how many people are going to say "i tried to kill myself and years later i still wish i'd succeeded", though? not many, because such a statement could be seen as encouraging suicide and would likely be met with huge backlash.

    "wait until you stop being mentally ill" is sometimes literally not a possible thing, though. it doesn't go away for everyone. declaring them unfit to make decisions and insisting that they stay alive in the hopes it will eventually change before they die of natural causes seems brutally unfair to me. it's not comparable to drinking because drinking is 1) a conscious choice, 2) there is a guarantee the effects of drinking will go away.
    • Like x 1
  5. Xitaqa

    Xitaqa Secretly awesome

    I'd say it's because "survive somehow" is hardwired into our brains evolutionarily. If the brain isn't reaching that conclusion, it isn't running properly by definition, and therefore can't be trusted to make the decision without external input.

    And i can't conceive of a circumstance where the external input would reasonably agree that death is the answer except in cases where death is inevitable and the cause if inevitable death is also causing inescapable suffering. Terminal illness may qualify bc the illness itself is killing the person. Mental illness can only kill by causing the person to take or neglect actions in order to cause death by other means.

    You use the example of waiting five years and then ten and still seeing no improvement. To use myself as an example, I first experienced suicidal ideation at the age of 10; 15 years later I was 25 and just learning how to recover from half the things I had let fall apart in my life due to my illness. I still had a lot of things that were about to collapse, and thus more recovery and repair.

    I'm still here and still making my life better, although I'm still running into other problems that hurt me. I'm also still neglecting proper treatment for my depression, so I'm not nearly in as good a place as I could be if I tried. But I'm still experiencing goodness that I didn't expect to ten years ago, I'm probably better off than I have ever been. My biggest problem is that I'm too occluded to fully experience how much better things are, and that is a side effect of neglecting treatment.

    I'm a really crappy example I guess, but I still recognize that I'm better off being alive and contains to improve things.
    • Like x 2
  6. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    my point was that in the case of good medical care mental illness gets better, but terminally ill people still die. that's a signifiant difference to me. i didn't mean to say that it's easy to access good care, or that everyone or even most people recieve good care, because that's very very often not true.

    your second sentence confuses me
    • Like x 2
  7. gills

    gills dead

    all death is inevitable. why is death bad? death is nothingness, so imo it cannot be bad.

    if mental illness does not physically degrade your body and kill you,but causes you to suffer and overwrites your brain to cause you to want to die, i feel like that is an illness causing you to die, if treatment is ineffective.

    second sentence referring to you saying you feel differently about suicide wrt bodily autonomy; i believe we're conditioned to view it that way.
  8. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    @gills i see! i was confused because i wasn't sure if it was a thing you personally thought or a thing you believe to be conditioned in us. thanks for clarifying, and i agree
  9. gills

    gills dead

    hm. i think, suicide is dictated as wrong by personal and societal moral codes, but as the only resulting damage is grief, also a consequence of natural death, i can't think it's objectively wrong.....hm.
    • Like x 1
  10. Mercury

    Mercury Well-Known Member

    In my personal experience of being suicidal on and off for roughly fifteen years, no matter how bad I felt in the moment I'm glad there was something to stop me or distract me, or in the later times, knowing that what I wanted was for the suffering to stop, not my actual self. I didn't have mental health care for the majority of that, but nonetheless there was still hope for improving my material circumstances - and in my more lucid periods, I understood that and reached for that.

    I think you're suffering a lot of confirmation bias re: stating that mental health care is awful more often than not. I'm also worried you're trying to talk yourself into something unfortunate. How are you doing?
    • Like x 2
  11. gills

    gills dead

    how does one distinguish between lucid and not lucid? i think the assumption is "wants to live = lucid, wants to die = not lucid", because that's drilled into us, but sometimes death seems like the more logical choice....not for everyone, obviously, but for some?

    confirmation bias is possible, i'm sure....i've had both good and bad mental health care when i had access to treatment. i know that treatment is often very hard to obtain and many mental health services can be ineffective; example, i am aware that suicide hotlines may help some people, but i've never known them to help anyone with long-term mental health problems or people with things other than mood disorders (not that mood disorders aren't significant because they are, they are just different from pds or other disorders.) of course i am open to new info on this, if anyone has found those hotlines to be helpful.

    personally i'm fine, i'm very calm, i'm just wondering about some things.
  12. Mercury

    Mercury Well-Known Member

    Okay, that's good. I just worry about people, you know?

    Lucid vs not lucid - wanting to die implies something has gone drastically wrong somewhere. Sometimes it's blatant what is wrong, such as in a terminal illness where the person is in a lot of pain. It's not distorted that they're in a lot of pain and that their death is imminent, so their thinking probably isn't distorted. Probably. I think that uncertainty is part of what has people in general dragging their feet so badly on the problem of how to give a dying person the appropriate level of care and comfort (although there are definitely other - and possibly bigger - factors too.)

    But for your more usual and more complicated cases, it's important to look at all factors, like the person's material circumstances and if their thinking seems to be (or blatantly is) distorted in other areas. Myself as an example again - my initial suicidal ideations were based on the thinking that I was worthless, should have never been born, and wasn't a real person. These were all provably wrong, but from the depths of the pit I was in I couldn't see or understand that. My suffering was real, but I was definitely not lucid about my self-perception, or what was causing my suffering (which was an unfortunate convergence of emerging brainbad, gender dysphoria that I didn't know was a thing, and a really toxic friend group).

    In another case when I had suicidal ideation again, it was because of my circumstances; I was desperate to get out of an abusive relationship. My suffering was real, as was my understanding of what was causing it, but my thinking about how to stop that suffering was very much not lucid.

    I hope that makes sense, I'm sick and writing is hard.
    • Like x 1
  13. ectoBiologist

    ectoBiologist I'm a wise guy

    I think people think suicide is "bad" because it's a tragic death that people see as "preventable." Beyond that, I guess another reason would be along the lines of "why is murder bad?" since it is in a sense murder? ::shrugs:: Just my two-cents.
  14. Emma

    Emma Your resident resident

    Euthanasia is decriminalised in the Netherlands under specific circumstances. One of the tests you need to pass is the test of 'hopeless and unbearable suffering'. For a terminal illness, this test can be passed more easily, because there are generally some sort of quantifiable numbers that can be pointed to. Like, 'this person is this amount of pain, and has this amount of months to live, and there is no treatment possible any more'. That's easy.
    You can absolutely request euthanasia for mental illness in the Netherlands. The problem is that it's a lot harder to prove the hopeless and unbearable suffering, and that it takes a loooooooong time to prove that there's no more treatments.

    Dutch law says they're not different. As long as you can convince two independent doctors that you pass the hopeless and unbearable suffering test, you can have euthanasia for mental illness as well. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_the_Netherlands)

    But in this I think euthanasia as per Dutch law is different than just 'ordinary suicide'. Euthanasia in this context requires people to really think about how if they really want to die. It takes a while for the entire process to be complete.

    I think the problem with suicide is that it's a decision that can be taken in the heat of the moment so to speak. Things that can seem unbearable today, may very well be different in the morning. Or even half an hour from now.
    • Like x 5
  15. Jaaaade

    Jaaaade magnoliajades, here!

    I have heard of people who expressed seeking medical assistance in dying, 100% by choice. I want to say some people managed to get this assistance too, it's just extremely uncommon for obvious reasons. A large majority of people have a hard time believing that someone would have that desire, to be ready for death while feeling completely content with that thought. (I haven't double-checked my facts here, so don't take my word too heavily).

    I know that wouldn't be the same exact thing as suicide (or...would it?). And I'm also not saying anyone wanting to die should end their life (definitely not), but I'm just bringing up something I once learned about that this thread reminded me of.

    I don't encourage suicide, nor do I like hearing people close to me talk about wanting to die, and I'm personally terrified of death myself because i'm agnostic and see it as such huge unknown that it... frightens me? but that's just my perspective. I've seen others on this thread say it would feel like absolute nothingness, but to me it's more like... the biggest mystery ever. and most of the time I don't like thinking of it for those reasons.

    In my best and worst mental states, I keep living because life is temporary. Like, I may as well keep going just to see how far I can go before I die, because at that point, life most likely won't happen to me again. Although I dread coming to a day late in my life where I'm suffering so horribly that I would rather put an end to my misery anyway. I understand if a whole lot of people alive on earth right now are feeling that way. Most people probably don't encourage it because of it leading to losing their loved ones.

    Sorry for dumping personal viewpoints. u_u And I don't think it answered your question much. but this topic intrigued me. Glad to hear you're ok though.
  16. Xitaqa

    Xitaqa Secretly awesome

    I'm sticking with the idea that suicidal desire is by definition illucid, bc that's not a conclusion the hardware us supposed to be able to reach.

    A terminally ill person can be right that it's the right decision (illucid thoughts may be able to reach correct conclusions), but I'm comfortable with the idea that someone else needs to confirm this, to check the math as it were.

    I'm not so sure about a non-terminal illness - I suppose an illness or injury that creates hopeless suffering with no possible treatment could qualify, even if it won't actually kill the person. But I think the third party confirmation is still necessary to verify the conditions.
    • Like x 1
  17. Lib

    Lib Well-Known Member

    Makes a lot of sense - this is a lot of what I think about when I try to think about the topic. It's always important to look at the surroundings.

    Like, the other week I woke up with absolutely debilitating pelvic pain, the kind that completely shut my brain down until the only thing I could think was 'IwanttodieIwanttodieIwanttodie'. And in this case, that was time-limited, because I had access to decent painkillers, and I only had to wait twenty minutes or so until they kicked in and I could think again. So it was perhaps a valid thing to feel suicidal about in the time while it was happening, but acting on it would have been premature, since it was a time-limited thing.

    If my chronic pain got to that level, though, and there was nothing whatsoever I could do about it, that might be a more reasonable point to consider that maybe suicide was the best option I had at that point - especially if my choices were to die slowly from institutional neglect or die less slowly from suicide. (But, as @Xitaqa said above, it's important to have someone you can trust, if possible, to go 'okay, but you could still try this, I will help argue with doctors so that you can get it' - or to witness you in 'yeah, you really have tried everything you can, I'm so fucking sorry'.)

    And I do think having other people is important for things like @Mercury's example here - often people will hear 'I'm suicidal' and panic and reassure the person that everything is okay and they are fine, but it's important to listen for things which might be a reasonable reason to be Super Distressed about, but that can be solved - and then tell the suicidal person that and maybe even help them solve it, because they probably wouldn't be suicidal if they thought that they could solve the problem with less drastic means.

    So I think the big thing there is people panicking less, and not having the kneejerk reaction of 'everything is fine!!!!' - it's totally understandable, because many people are scared of death when they first deal with it, but it doesn't help people solve the very real problems they may be having, and in fact can often just invalidate them further and scare them away from talking.
    • Like x 3
  18. pixels

    pixels hiatus / only back to vent

    that's not the only resulting damage. there is a phenomenon called suicide contagion, whereby one person commits suicide and sets off a chain reaction of suicide/attempts, whether grief-related, copycat-related, or personal health-related.

    i think part of why this conversation is a strange one to have is that it strikes everyone as odd that the question is being asked in the first place. i generally don't see or think this question unless i am in a state predisposed to be navel-gazing about my own mortality. so here's my (ringing hollow) "r u ok friedn" for the day, because honestly, i really feel you here, especially on the waiting thing. waiting to be happy sucks and i am right there with you in the trenches.

    asking the question as worded in this particular manner also somewhat reminds me of the rhetorical device "but why do you hate x tho" where "you hate x" is assumed by the speaker, but not implied by the actor--it seems like you're assuming that suicide is bad (or neutral, or good) and looking for concrete points to argue against so you can say that it is good (or non-neutral or bad). this may be my particular conflict-averse brainbugs picking up nuance that wasn't intended, though.

    another part of why this question is strange is that it's intrinsically tied to another question which is a different personal experience for everyone, that being: are you afraid of dying and death? i'm terrified of dying, but also predisposed to suicidal ideation, so that's going to color whether i think of suicide as good/bad/neutral.

    this conversation may also be informed by cultural mores, as you've been pointing out. in some cultures it was (and is) considered socially acceptable to commit suicide after having committed a grievous societal wrong. in some cultures suicide was (and maybe still is) criminalized in all cases. in some religions, suicide is a way of superseding the divine will and disqualifies the dead from entering a place of enlightenment-after-death. in some religions, ritual mass suicide is encouraged around things like doomsday events.

    ultimately, i think it comes down to a thing seebs said once: why do we continue living when our lives contain so much suffering, why do we try helping people when there is so much evil in the world, why? "because it's the only game in town." it's the only thing we know about, in this consciousness, here and now. we may have had past lives, we may have future lives ahead of us, there may be life before birth and after death and it all depends on what you believe--but what we know is, you're here, right now, living this life, and it's the only game in town.

    i'm also reminded of a thing: "if' you're desperate enough to kill yourself, you're desperate enough to try literally anything else." there's a reason phrases like political suicide and career suicide exist--because drastic changes in your life can kind of result in your new life being totally disconnected from your old life, with a demotion in status. but you're also not dead, and drastic changes like that are at least a change from the suffering of right now. usually drastic life changes like that will also improve mental health as well because there's a chance to restructure your life in a way that makes you happier, or at least better functioning.
    • Like x 12
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