“Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it passes it to someone else”
It seems that this quote pops up all around the media and within the mental health community.
Last year, a photo with this exact saying went viral, and it plastered the mental health community.
And I’ll be honest in saying that part of me agrees; because I lived through it.
When I was 18, my father passed away due to a successful suicide attempt.
I know that it was his last choice. He did all he could to live but it didn’t work, he was never the type to give up without a fight.
I’ll never be mad at his choice because, in truth, I completely understand it.
I battled suicidal thoughts throughout my teen years and even today, they can still try to creep up on me.
But while my father’s pain did end, I found a whole new level of pain that I didn’t know existed.
I lost a love that I cherished; I lost the first man I loved.
It drained me of all the hope I had for the future. How could the little girl this man raised find her path, without the very man who held her hand?.
I died the moment that my dad took his last breath.
I was so desperate to stay beside my dad, that my consciousness made the choice to end its own life. I was a shell.
I had in fact taken an element of pain from my father’s pain. I consumed what had eaten him from the inside out.
It got so bad that I even attempted taking my own life a month after my fathers funeral.
So, while I agree with the quote, that suicide does leave us feeling almost the same pain the victim did. I don’t think we should be using it to attempt to prevent suicide.
I don’t believe that you should ever tell a person that their pain will end, but it will be given to someone they love.
The thing is, the quote completely takes away from the pain a suicidal person is feeling and forces them to think about everyone but themselves.
And the truth is, the only person that should matter in the exact moment of a suicide crisis, is the person contemplating it (unless others are also at risk of course).
There is no denying that suicide can result in a domino effect of mental illness and further suicides, but this is NOT what a person needs to hear when they want to die. Actually, it’s not what anyone needs to hear – ever.
In a way, it’s guilt tripping and further invalidates a person for being suicidal. It’s like saying a person doesn’t have the right to be in pain because it’s causing pain for others.
What about talking about what caused the pain in the first place?
What about finding the triggers and henceforth the best ways to save their life?
In brutal honesty, there is a level of selfishness to make a person’s suicidal ideation about anyone but them – it’s not about us.
The phrase does come from a good place, many say it from the fear of losing someone they love. It’s understandable to feel exactly that way.
I don’t think the quote is designed to attack people, it’s more of an inadvertent negative effect that has developed – and that I’ve noticed from being a person who has lost a loved one to suicide and who has also attempted suicide.
I think the best thing to do when trying to support a friend, loved one or raise awareness of mental health is to just offer a shoulder to listen.
Talk about real facts and continue to understand and adapt to finding the best ways to tackle the mental health crisis. Effective support is completely in our use of language.
Try not to give unsolicited advice, a listening ear is more valuable.
After all, asking: “are you ok“, when you mean it, is a perfectly effective way to help someone in need. Just remember that it’s okay to ask more than once.