Musings On The Ethics Of Suicide

Do we have the right to purposely self-destruct? In my opinion we do. Therefore you probably wouldn’t want me on a suicide call-in-line. My belief, however, comes with some caveats, which I’ll explain later on.

With last week’s focus on suicide prevention, I noticed many postings on the subject. Some were personal dealings with depression and how the writer would prefer not being on   Planet Earth. Yep, I can relate to that. Others took a philosophical approach, questioning
the right and wrong of suicide. Some wondered how it would feel to wake up after
an unsuccessful attempt, after spending days in the ICU, possibly in a coma.
Would there be remorse for another major fuck-up, guilt for putting a loved one
through hell? Or, after your trip to the precipice, would you have seen the
light and be glad to be alive?

In my house is the book, Final Exit. I didn’t buy it; my husband did and I never questioned why. He isn’t depressed so I suspect he bought it in case he gets a painful, terminal illness and wants a quick way out. I’m just guessing, but I’m glad the book is here. As for the
caveats, I mentioned, my main one is I’d call 911 if a loved one were involved.
It may be hypocritical, but I don’t care; I’m selfish.

Where I find murky territory is my feelings when someone has a mental illness. I have
been hospitalized for depression and threatening suicide. I doubt that will
happen again because I believe I would just do the deed. But what if someone is
psychotic and suicidal? That changes my perspective because I don’t believe that
individual is in complete control of his or her mind, thoughts, and behavior. I
would also get help for children because they have not reached maturity and
therefore their brains are not functioning at full potential capacity.

In past centuries, some cultures viewed suicide as admirable. There are still some
places in the world today that take that view. I look at it from a place of
suffering. There are states in the U.S. where medically-assisted suicide is
practiced if a person is terminally ill, in other words the so-called
death-with-dignity law. I am a proponent of it since the idea of suffering makes
me think of a dentist drilling the pulpy cavities of my teeth without Novocaine.
I am no hero. I do not like pain and would not volunteer for anything if the
possibility of agony were involved. But emotional pain is every bit as
torturous as physical.

I have read that suicide is a bad solution to a temporary problem. But what if
the problem cannot be fixed? There are individuals who despite all attempts,
feel as if they are dragging a backpack filled with boulders across their

Years ago I worked in a hospital. We had a patient who was an alcoholic and near
death, but pulled back from the brink “thanks” to the hard work of a particular
doctor. When Mr. Patient awoke he was not grateful to Dr. M.D. for saving his life. At the time I didn’t understand. Now I do.


About waywardweed

I am a consumer and parent of two sons, one with a mental illness and the other a third-year law student.
This entry was posted in Mental Illness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Musings On The Ethics Of Suicide

  1. Justine-Paula Robilliard says:

    I can understand much of what you are saying, I too was in hospital for over 120 days for suicide and such, in 2 countries.. Am I better, not in the least.. I am hoping that someone gets fed up enough and has me hauled and locked in a nuthouse.. but that will not happen, it is way too expensive to keep the nuts locked up.. let them roam free!!!

    I wish I could go to my psychiatrist and explain my situation, and if I am calm, and my reasons sound, then she should be able to prescribe a course of lethal medications that I take whilst at home.

    I should be allowed to take my own life, if I was younger and maybe less intelligent, I would have joined the army and gone on a suicide mission..

    My life sucks, I suck, and there is not a single person that gives a crap… I am less important than an iPad2 or iPhone4…

  2. Justine-Paula Robilliard says:

    Who said suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem is nuts.. My life will never be any better than it was in 2009, it has only steadily declined, and keeping me alive is really a crime!!

    I can see that there is no future for me… I want to die with dignity… suicide is the only option but is undignified.. if you think suicide is not an option, get off your effing high horse and help me!!

  3. waywardweed says:

    Hi Justine,
    I have been thinking about you. I sent you an email recently with information re a clubhouse in Capetown. Did you get it? I realize Capetown is out of your area but thought the director may know of one that is closer. I have found clubhouses, if properly run, helpful. I also find getting out of my house helps even when it has nothing to do with mental health. Being alone when you are at your worst is not good for you. Go to the mall, the library, something. If there is no support group in your area, perhaps you can start one. While I wrote that people have a right to take their lives, I am not saying that I encourage it. Please get in touch with the person in Capetown and let me know.
    Hugs from America

  4. Justine-Paula Robilliard says:

    I did email the director, but since I am 1000 miles away from Cape Town, why would she want to help…. I need really to be locked in a nuthouse… but that is not going to happen…


  5. I agree with you…emotional pain can feel every bit as torturous as physical. I know. I gave birth naturally twice. I would rather do that again twenty times over than experience the emotional pain I have been through in the past year.

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