An Open Letter: 'Don't Brand Suicide As Selfish'

Thursday, 6 February 2014

I write this to the tweet-ers, the facebook-ers, the 'Sorry I'm late some arsehole threw himself in front of my tube'-ers.
At least twice a week my journey to work is delayed because somebody has committed suicide on the train tracks.
Instead of swearing into the air, posting an expletive filled tweet, angry at the prospect of clocking in late- I feel cold, I feel empty- I feel compassionate.
I, apparently, unlike the majority of those who join me on this journey, am a human being. I feel these things not because I am a good person, but because I am A PERSON.

Time and time again I watch my timeline flood with inconsiderate users who express their utter discontent at the idea someone could be so selfish as to end their life right at the same time they're heading off to work.

Whilst it would make this letter all the shorter, it would do little justice for me simply to state the obvious- THE WORLD DOES NOT ONLY REVOLVE AROUND YOU.
When plagued with mental illness, when you feel so past the point of despair, your perception of selfishness is not limited to the commuters whose journey you've delayed, but the space you once occupied on their train when you were alive, the shoulders of those you brushed past, the sullen eye contact you'd bashfully catch.
You don't feel worthy of the space that contains you, you feel as though each breath is stolen from the people whose lives you enter even if only for a brief second.
It chills me when suicide is looked at as selfish, when really, those who sadly take their own lives, often feel as though that is the most selfless act they can commit.

Perhaps it had been a feeling that had been brooding for weeks upon months, a burning brash heat that sweat across their suited body, pushing and niggling their inner workings- "What if I jumped today?"
Until one day the curiosity showed its head, the burden, the guilt, the unholy weighted feeling that had lay heavy upon their shoulders that they were living without a purpose, that they were living in a caged and mottled existence, all became too much.
Mental illness is all consuming, regardless of the scale or length those who experience it are effected by it. It can be terrifying and lonely, a paradoxical mix of feeling so trapped within your own mind it's almost outer body

It is so outrageously morbid and unforgiving to suggest your 15 minute longer commute is quite so possibly tragic and tormenting that you could think somebody who is so brutally unhappy and scared and alone is selfish for giving you some extra reading time on the train.
Instead of being so self absorbed, so ignorant and callous, use that tweet, that delayed half an hour, to think of their family, to think of the destruction that is about to unfold before a loved on or an old school friend.
The last breathing moments of a human beings life spent so intoxicated by chemical persuasions of the brain that they've persecuted themselves to a violent undeserving end.

Be grateful that today you looked at the arriving train with a look of contempt because it was late, not because it was too slow to throw yourself in front of.


  1. Really insightful and honest blog post! It is often that people forget that people are going through battles everyday xx

  2. We often neglect to think about suicide in this way. It's a shame some people reserve the right to count those who consider themselves "unworthy of living" as selfish. Wonderfully written with an honesty perspective.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. Quite often people who commit suicide feel like they have been such a burden on others lives that they feel ending their life will bring some relief. That isn't selfish, it is sad to think about the torment that person lives their life with. Something that many people will never understand or have to even think about.
    Bravo for saying it, it is scary how many DONT think this way. But then again, that explains alot of human behaviour doesn't it?

  4. This is such a good blog post! Trying to think of what their families must be feeling and how we are all grateful to be alive today. love the last sentence xxx

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  6. This was a very detailed and honest post of how we should grateful that we are still here and how the victims families are feeling. This was a very good blog post. Wise words! Wise words! xx

  7. You have hit the nail on the head here Charly!


  8. You couldnt have said it better Charly

  9. I loved this, it's such an honest post, more people should think about what's going on around them and not just their commute to work or how late they'll be, people should open their eyes and see thin issues that are being overlooked.

  10. Thank you, Charly. Love your words x

  11. Yes, people should think about what they say! When the father of my best friend took his life tho, I saw it as an selfish act. He got away from his pain, but I don't think you can find something more painful than to loose one of your parents. Or your husband for that matter. How do you cope with something like that? I think he left his family with a lot more pain than he ever felt. Suicide is such a difficult topic. It's horrible, I have no words, it just makes me sick.

  12. Thank-you Charly, I loved this. It's a really great post and good choice of words. xx

  13. Could not have said it better. Eye opener, Charly.

  14. Thank you for writing this, thank you.

  15. I'm glad someone has finally written about this. Thank you for writing this and phrasing it so beautifully

  16. As a person who lost a friend to suicide when we were both thirteen, I deeply appreciate your words. It encapsulates everything I feel about the matter perfectly. It's therapeutic, really. Thank you :)



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