Suicide is not selfish.
Nobody likes the word "selfish."
It's a word that means to have a lack of consideration for others, and to be concerned with one's own personal profit or pleasure. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all are selfish to a degree but none of us would ever want to be described as such.
When my brother committed suicide last November, there were several people who said to me that what he did was the most selfish thing a person could do. I think the intent of that statement wasn't to hurt me. But it did. The intent was probably to try and comfort me. To help me know that there was nothing that I could do to stop him. Because he was going to do it anyway. Because he was selfish.
I haven't ever replied back when these statements have been spoken ... but I've been taking all this time to develop a proper response.
On this Monday, the 11th day of August 2014, the day when I have learned (along with the rest of the world) of Robin William's untimely death through his apparent suicide, I'm ready to respond.
Here it is.
It's not about you. It's not about me.
It is and was about him.
After my brother's passing, I read a lot of research about suicide. Suicide is usually associated with severe depression. When a person is severely depressed, all they see and feel is a painful darkness that seemingly has no end. It hurts to numbness. And it's not that they are wanting to be inconsiderate but the only thing they can consider is this abyss. And it's not that they want to experience pleasure or profit. They simply want the pain and darkness to end. They don't want to hurt anyone. They want to stop hurting.
It's not about any of us.
For those who are reading this post and mistakenly thinking that I am per chance advocating suicide, I have a response.
Here it is.
How could anyone advocate such a thing?
So then what would I advocate for? I suppose something uniquely genuine for each and every severely depressed person. So that each person can find the thing that switches on the light in the darkness ... maybe the right doctor, or the right friend, or the right coach, or the right teacher, or the right kernal of corn beneath the refridgerator, or the right medications, or the right something else that happens with effectiveness so that the abyss could come to an end without life coming to an end on purpose.
My brother was not a saint for how he lived nor for how he died. Neither was Robin Williams.
Regardless, there is not a day that passes without my feeling the heartache of his passing. I miss him. I take comfort in knowing that he is at peace.
My heart goes out to the friends and family of Robin Williams during this tremendously difficult time. May he rest in peace. And may all the happy that he spread through his genius work be remembered with unending smiles.