is killing yourself cowardly

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okay im not one of those emo kids who seek attention so they threaten to kill themselves and also ik some of them actually have been through hell but i was looking through the comments on one of my favorite songs on youtube (last to know -three days grace) and i notice an argument about suicide being cowardly i just wanted to get you guys opinion on that my opinion is that its not cowardly the people who cause them to do it in the first place are cowards hiding behind someone and telling them whats wrong in their life so they can avoid their own problems

 
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I don’t think that a general statement like: “People who commit suicide are cowards,” is justified.
There are many situations that lead people to take their own life. And usually these people are in a very peculiar state of mind. Someone experiencing severe depression must not be judged like someone who is perfectly fine. It affects the decision making process and can lead you to do stuff you would normally never ever consider a viable option.
So no. I don’t think that all people who commit suicide are cowards.

 
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Killing yourself can sometimes be extremely brave depending on the context.

For example, on a recent good show called “Arrow”, the main character’s father kills himself and another man on a lifeboat because there isn’t enough food left for all three of them. Thus he gives his son, the only other passenger and the one most likely to survive, the best chance at life that he possibly can.

And there’s always throwing yourself on a grenade to protect your buddies.

But yeah, if you just kill yourself for personal reasons I’d say you’re cowardly in most cases. Notable exceptions are victims of severe trauma of all kinds, such as extreme violence or sexual abuse, and people who are looking forward to a slow/excruciating death otherwise.

 
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Retneug, those are all interesting, diverse, and reason that I pretty much greatly agree w/.

BUT, I want YOUR specific opinion (and other posters here….I guess) on something that is a few steps “down” from your last sentence (“Notable exceptions”).

While my only connection of it to the OP is that we might view strong drug (habitual?) use—as a method of “reducing the pain” of those reasons ya give and simply due to the overwhelming stresses of life—as being also a form of suicide because of the devastating effects of such (recreational?) drug usage….both legal and illegal.

Of course, I should mention that your “…slow/excruciating death otherwise.” often is accompanied w/ legally provided drugs…some of which are very strong and obviously administered in hopes that they ease the pain enough to help the person “pass on”. In this case….NOT really suicide, just common sense “ending” of a life no longer viable.

 
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one thing it is absolutely not is cowardly.

of instance: my step step great grandmother was old and in chronic pain, but not enough for euthanesia under our laws at the time, and she hungered herself to death. nobody thinks that cowardly.

however, if you jump off your daughters school building because you can’t handle the stress of not knowing if you will get that promotion or not…

perhaps it is possible for it to be the cowardly action. but generally, in itself it definitely is not.

 
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Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

Of course, one could mention that your “…slow/excruciating death otherwise.” often is accompanied w/ legally provided drugs.

They don’t always help. Chronic pain is still a major problem even with the best drugs at our disposal. Plus they dampen more brain processes than just pain. You could end your days laying in a stupor, not recognising anyone around you, because of the level you need to combat the pain. Not everyone finds that an acceptable end.

You also have other types of ending along the same lines. Pain meds won’t help an inoperable brain tumor. It will slowly grow and grow, consuming bunch after bunch of neurons, destroying your mind by inches. You’ll have to put up with this, parts of your identity, parts of your knowledge, parts of your personality, your very memories themselves slipping away. Slowly losing more and more control over your own body, until you cannot help but soil yourself, as you have no control over your sphincter, or your limbs no-longer obey your commands.

Eventually, the tumor will engulf the autonomic system, and you will die. However, this could be years down the line, and by that time you will have been reduced to little more than a vegetable. All your friends and family will remember of you when they think of you is that decline, and the vegetable you become rather than the person you once were.

For some people this is too much, and they prefer to die when their mind is still intact; when their friends can remember them for who they are. I don’t see any problem with allowing that, and don’t believe it is cowardly to choose to go out that way.

 
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No. It takes a lot of courage to be able to finish taking your own life without a gun or something that will do it in an instant (And that’s still terrifying enough.), and it takes horrible circumstances to make you do such a thing. Someone who can actually do it needs something very strong to drive them over the edge enough for them to be able to do it, or to be very strong in will.

 
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It depends on the situation.

 
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Originally posted by Rpoman2009:

It depends on the situation.

Please give us some examples of what ya mean.
Ya know, maybe the two opposite extremes?
 
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Originally posted by karmakoolkid:
Originally posted by Rpoman2009:

It depends on the situation.

Please give us some examples of what ya mean.
Ya know, maybe the two opposite extremes?

The cowardly way. If you are afraid to face the world or take responsibility for something you did then that’s cowardly. The uncowardly way would be if you killed yourself because of a tradition, you know like how sometimes Samurai kill their selves because it’s part of a tradition. (note that this doesn’t apply to suicide bombers.) Or if you have very valuable information in your head and someone who is trying to use that information to cause destruction was about to try and beat it out of you or use hypnosis if that even works.

 
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I had a little trouble following your post, Karma, but here are my thoughts on the matter:

No amount of drug use equates to suicide. At most you could argue that they enable a sort of “mental” suicide, in that the user might become so addicted and apathetic toward all else that they could be described as “dead to the world”.

But I don’t criticize such people. I know the pleasures of retreating insise one’s own mental landscape, with and without drugs, and to many kinds of people such behaviours could be considered more worthwhile than the “life” that is exposed to us through NA media.

But killing one’s self is a rejection of the known, and an unwillingness to accept the unknown. Viable reasons for killing yourself usually have to do with your “known” being too difficult to bear, sometimes to the point where it will continue to undermine the rest of your life.

But if you’re simply depressed for no particular reason, or you feel you have no friends, or your mom skipped your allowance this week, I’d say buck up. There are other options, and your situation could still improve even if it sometimes feels like it never will.

I see the suicide/cowardice relationship as being somewhat similar to battle tactics. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense
is retreat, because the opposing force (neck-down paralysis,
for example) will utterly dominate the battlefield of your life.

But, just like soldiers who commit heroic acts, those who
resist suicide even when others would have given up are
some of the most worthwhile people you would care to meet.

 
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Originally posted by Retneug:


I see the suicide/cowardice relationship as being somewhat similar to battle tactics. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense
is retreat, because the opposing force (neck-down paralysis,
for example) will utterly dominate the battlefield of your life.

Retneug, we have a lot of trouble at work, with individuals like that. Not quadraplegics so much, as there is still very little that can be done to successfully rehabilitate them back to the same quality of life they had before. But with paraplegics, where we can give them their life back if they’ll meet us halfway, it takes oft-times a hell of a lot of work to drag them kicking and screaming out of their depressive fugue, and the feeling that their life is over, towards the light of a new life.

Yes, you’ve lost capabilities, but you still can have quality of life, and regain much of what you have lost. It’s a fight to get over the hump, so to speak, and try to avoid the suicide route as much as possible. After all, when we’ve finished, they can even go back to doing dangerous jobs if they so please.

As an example, a patient who wound up with one of Ossur’s lower limbs, went back to active firefighter duty after losing his leg. His life was not nearly so ‘over’ as he at one point truly believed. Suicide is not an act of cowardice so much as it is an act of desperation. If you can overcome the desperation, and give them another choice, oft-times the desire to end it all, slowly fades away.

 
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Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

You don’t like looking at exception, do you?

Even then, it’s not exactly an “exception” for someone to off himself without being entirely selfish.

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

Calling someone in deep depression and agony a bastard is not right at all. It’s pretty horrible and cowardly on your part.

I cannot blame someone who chooses to commit suicide because of their depression or the pain they have. It’s only human for me to extend kindness and persuade that person to avoid taking that route.

 
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Originally posted by Darear:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

Calling someone in deep depression and agony a bastard is not right at all. It’s pretty horrible and cowardly on your part.

I cannot blame someone who chooses to commit suicide because of their depression or the pain they have. It’s only human for me to extend kindness and persuade that person to avoid taking that route.

I had two friends once HAD.
They were best friends with each other and one of them committed suicide after getting in a fight with his girl.
Its been five years and still his best friend cries when ever his name is mentioned and his girl has become very cold and like emotionless after wards and as of his parents, his father got a heart attack when he heard the news.
I’ll call him a selfish bastard and nothing more.

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by Darear:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

Calling someone in deep depression and agony a bastard is not right at all. It’s pretty horrible and cowardly on your part.

I cannot blame someone who chooses to commit suicide because of their depression or the pain they have. It’s only human for me to extend kindness and persuade that person to avoid taking that route.

I had two friends once HAD.
They were best friends with each other and one of them committed suicide after getting in a fight with his girl.
Its been five years and still his best friend cries when ever his name is mentioned and his girl has become very cold and like emotionless after wards and as of his parents, his father got a heart attack when he heard the news.
I’ll call him a selfish bastard and nothing more.

Whatever the circumstances may be, do you feel it’s right to call a person who committed suicide a selfish bastard? Will that really bring any good from a grim situation. Do not defame those who have died.

There are good people who have worked and sacrificed hard for others and fell into a state of depression and committed suicide.

 
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Originally posted by Darear:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by Darear:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Yes they are cowards and they are selfish bastards who only think of themselves.

Calling someone in deep depression and agony a bastard is not right at all. It’s pretty horrible and cowardly on your part.

I cannot blame someone who chooses to commit suicide because of their depression or the pain they have. It’s only human for me to extend kindness and persuade that person to avoid taking that route.

I had two friends once HAD.
They were best friends with each other and one of them committed suicide after getting in a fight with his girl.
Its been five years and still his best friend cries when ever his name is mentioned and his girl has become very cold and like emotionless after wards and as of his parents, his father got a heart attack when he heard the news.
I’ll call him a selfish bastard and nothing more.

Whatever the circumstances may be, do you feel it’s right to call a person who committed suicide a selfish bastard? Will that really bring any good from a grim situation. Do not defame those who have died.

There are good people who have worked and sacrificed hard for others and fell into a state of depression and committed suicide.

Without giving a shit about what will happen to their loved ones.

 
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Without giving a shit about what will happen to their loved ones.

Maybe the reverse is true. Their loved ones didn’t give a shit about what they were going through and so they committed suicide without first consulting any moral support.

 
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Sure, Vika, and finding the silver lining in such situations is imperative to continuing a life touched by extreme adversity. Paraplegia is one of those gray areas to me as far as suicide is concerned, in that I would expect a human being to overcome such a setback, but I would still understand and feel sympathy toward those who kill themselves as a result. To some, mobility is the core of their lifestyle; they can handle slowly losing their physical faculties, but to lose a great portion all at once is almost like dying in and of itself. I’m sure you’ve had those patients who just can’t settle for getting 80% of their quality of life back, and utterly succumb to depression or self-harm as a result. Again, I always hope that such people will recover and find another reason to live, but I cannot blame them for making a different choice.

To me, there is a very important distinction that makes me view most suicides as cowardly rather than desperate. To be cowardly suggests a certain knowledge of the options available to you, and still opting toward the most escapist alternative available to you, (in this case, killing yourself as opposed to accepting rehabilitation, or attempting to adapt to your new life yourself). Desperation suggests panic resulting from a lack of available options.

In the case of paraplegia, I believe your patients who feel they “can’t go on” are imposing this perceived lack of options upon themselves. A more positive person with a sedentary lifestyle, for example, is likely to be much less bothered by the whole scenario, and will be far more proactive in envisioning their life post-incident. A cynical athlete will find himself in the opposite position, closing the shutters on metaphorical rays of light that would be quite obvious to others, and are likely obvious even to himself deep down.

This is why I agree with the term “cowardice” in most circumstances; there are ALWAYS alternatives to killing yourself, and I would consider not recognizing them more of a personal delusion than a lack of imagination or guidance. They may be disoriented and afraid, but that doesn’t excuse condemning themselves to death unnecessarily; adverse situations like this are the very reasons why terms like “courage” and “cowardice” are coined, for a truly courageous person will press on no matter how hopeless things seem, and a coward will be found wanting.

Again, the exceptions I listed above portray suicide devoid of cowardice. There is no shame in dying to avoid living with constant pain; the emotional pain of not having all of your limbs be functional falls just below my baseline for suicide-worthy events, and quadriplegia falls just above it.

 
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Retneug, I totally see YOUR point on the availability-of-OPTIONS thing.

However, the “brain chemistry” of a depressed person functions in a way that isn’t able TO SEE those option. Also, even if a person is “aware of” there being options…is it still cowardice if they aren’t able to (somehow?) see them as having any real viability?

It seems to me that ya’re tagging the cowardice label onto ppl that ya assume are in a rational state of mind….but merely having a "really bad day//week//month//year. Yes, we often know the state of mental capability of (many?) some suicides. Or should I say that we know there IS something amiss. BUT, without real psychiatric care, just how much assessment of the…er, let me call it MENTAL STABILITY of the person are we going to reasonably have? Ergo, what kind of assessment are WE able to make about their “cowardice”?

I’m just not able to assign “cowardice” to a suicide that I know very little about.
Just as I wouldn’t assign “bravery” to a fool who blatantly disregarded common sense and sacrificed their life because they didn’t take the time to realistically assess the situation. Ya know…fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.

Bravery is, for me, reserved for ppl that FULLY UNDERSTAND the situation and manage to control their fear to the point that their action has the greatest possible positive outcome….including their surviving it as best as possible.

Ppl in huge pain, physical or mental (emotional), are very likely to not be able to think rationally. How can I judge their level//capacity of controlling their “fears”?

 
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Originally posted by Darear:

Calling someone in deep depression and agony a bastard is not right at all. It’s pretty horrible and cowardly on your part.

Wow; well done. For once, we agree.

 
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Those who failed in killing themselves should show more competence….

 
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Originally posted by Retneug:

I had a little trouble following your post, Karma, but here are my thoughts on the matter:

Yeah, I even edited it after I woke up some more.
But, I just didn’t have the time to expound on it to the point of better clarity.
NOW, I can (I hope) tack some onto YOUR post. lol
No amount of drug use equates to suicide.

That is, for me, highly debatable. I’m guessing ya missed how I was going for there being ONLY a difference in the amount of time variable of “sucking off a shotgun” and being a heavy heroin addict for several years…or other street drug that slowly eat away at your mind & body.

At most you could argue that they enable a sort of “mental” suicide, in that the user might become so addicted and apathetic toward all else that they could be described as “dead to the world”.

Yeah, but let’s toss in that utter depletion of the body I talked about. Seeing THAT in the mirror sure ain’t gonna “make ones day”, nor cause anyone sane to fall in love w/ them.
But I don’t criticize such people. I know the pleasures of retreating insise one’s own mental landscape, with and without drugs, and to many kinds of people such behaviours could be considered more worthwhile than the “life” that is exposed to us through NA media.

Shades of gray upon shades of gray. I know ppl that have DAILY a 6 pack of beer after work, at home. Is this some “coping method”? I don’t know. I say “whatever works”. If “substance use” is what helps someone manage to struggle on in life….who am I to judge?

I think we all have our coping methods we use to manage our “little foibles of life”.

 
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@karma: Part of the reason I included any exceptions in my argument at all is because I believe that there ARE things that can throw someone for a loop, to the point where they can’t deal or comprehend life after experiencing what they have.

You’re right, in that it will vary heavily based on situation; I could only include some rather ambiguous examples as far as exceptions are concerned, or I’d be rambling even more than I already am. :P I used “Trauma” loosely as a sort of catch-all term for any sort of event which would cause intense, lasting pain of any kind, as I feel anything that could be called trauma will unbalance a person just as you said, and thus they are incapable of cowardice by following through with their actions.

You’re also right about psychological evaluation being paramount to learning the mental state of a suicidal individual, but remember that this is a discussion about suicide. Even accepting psychological help in and of itself is an alternative to killing one’s self; you’re showing bravery and a willingness to overcome just through that small action, and all but the most messed-up individual is capable of, at the very least, conceiving of requesting psychological aid, though not necessarily requesting it in some cases, I will admit.

I would never judge a real-life case of suicide as cowardly without having all the facts of a person’s life, and even then it would be but a rough estimate. I have so far been judging theoretical suicides; for example, the cynical athlete who commits suicide due to his condition. In such examples I am assuming that this is the only major adversity in their life; mr. cynical athlete had a happy childhood, lots of friends, and is generally well-liked. In short, I am judging suicide on a motivation-to-motivation basis; not a person-to-person basis. People often have many more than one trauma in their lives, and it would be unfair to judge them cowards for committing suicide without taking as many of their experiences as possible into consideration.

I define bravery a little differently. I don’t think you need a complete understanding of the situation to be brave; so few brave people do. You just need to, as you say, follow through with the option that has the greatest positive impact for everyone involved despite any inconvenience to yourself. Being cowardly is choosing the option that conveniences you the most, and its severity ranges based on context and how many others you inconvenience with that decision, though it is only known as cowardice when you are preventing some harm to yourself, and as other human weaknesses when you gain from that convenience instead.

In the case of suicide, I see it largely as people accepting swift, fleeting harm in exchange for bypassing what they feel is the more dire harm of remaining alive. This outlook varies in its viability based on all kinds of factors, some of which I outlined previously.

Finally, I would say that if you’re able to pre-meditate the act of killing yourself, you are capable of acknowledging at least one alternative that involves you remaining alive. Psychological help, comfort food, confiding in your friends – whatever. Unless your reason(s) for wanting to die is truly harrowing, it’s cowardly to reject those options in favour of death, which is really the ultimate rejection.

People who suffer advanced mental illness that interferes with their cognition would also fall under the “exception” category.

EDIT:
@karma’s second post – Equating death and heroin is not debatable. Saying there are similarities between them, sure; but they are not the same. Even the most accomplished junkie in the world has at least a slim chance of recovery, but dead is dead. A drug user makes a choice, (granted, a very chemically-warped choice) to continue their behaviours every day, and can change those behaviours with sometimes inhuman levels of willpower or therapy. A suicide never gets that chance; they kill themselves and reject every choice they might’ve made had they remained alive.