Suicide makes sense sometimes

Oh man, Robin Williams died. Did you hear? You probably heard. It’s hard not to.

I get it, and I think he made the best decision for him. Mark Twain once said “…the suicides seem to be the only sane people.”

Wait, what?

Louis CK can explain:

I’m not saying Robin Williams was ugly. The point I’m more interested in was the “There’s someone for everyone” bit.

“There are millions of people who are light-speed ugly, and no one kisses them on the lips even. No one touches their genitals. They just wash it and then they die. And if you’re feeling bad you can go find one, but naaaaah.”

Robin was married, so that’s not to say his sadness was brought from a lack of physical love. But for a lot of people it is. Regardless what the problem is, depression is one of those things everyone has an opinion about, except they’ve probably never been truly depressed. Sometimes smart people say smart things, but I’m a total loner on this issue, I’m sure. I think people who commit suicide are just making the best decision possible for them. Like deciding to get a tooth pulled because it’s $600 cheaper than fixing it.

I think it’s okay he died. People are upset that he’s dead not because he killed himself, but because they liked him. But not “liked him”, they “liked him.” They wanted to see the monkey dance some more. They wanted to see Mrs. Doubtfire 2. I’m guessing you probably didn’t give much thought to Robin Williams the day he died, until the news broke.

The same goes for otherwise unheard of no-name Joes that commit suicide. A few people will be unsettled by it for a few days, usually family or some such. But your boss won’t care because they’ll just replace you. Your friends will move on because they have other friends. And really, they weren’t very good friends to begin with were they? They never called, they never wanted to hang out.

So of course he committed suicide. We really have to stop being surprised that people want to die when they live in what amounts to near isolation.

Some might say they had no idea about a person being depressed, and that may be true, but I bet you know someone who struggles with it a lot. And what have you done? Hit “like” on a Facebook post?

“But what am I supposed to do?” you ask. Well, for one, you could just go be cool. Go hang out with them on Friday night. There’s not some book you have to follow. Just go chill out, even if you just sit next to each other in silence for a while.

Even being around or offering to being around people may not be enough. There are plenty of people who are depressed because they literally can not find anyone to share the kinds of experiences they desire with. Sure, we could all go play bingo at the nursing home, but eventually a person just wants to swim or bike or play a video game.

I like biking, James Bond, good sweet iced tea, video games, and swimming. I can think of about 2 people I know who also enjoy biking. I can think of 1 person I know who likes James Bond. Drinking tea seems like an odd way to spend a Friday night, but everyone else is out drinking alcohol and wondering where their headache came from anyway. And I never swim because where the heck is there a pool I can use that isn’t more expensive than my cable bill and not filled with 6 year olds? Sometimes there really are no options. This is probably why so many people spend their time drinking. And if you don’t like drinking, well, now what? Go see a show? Those cost money, and if you don’t have money, screw you, I guess, right?

You might think people who commit suicide are doing the wrong thing (as if they wanted to anyway). But what’s the difference between a person so distraught they can’t get out of bed vs. a person who has cancer and can’t get out of bed either?

For a lot of people your Mr. Obvious style statements aren’t helping, they’re just fanning a fire. So new rule: you don’t get to be shocked that the person you never loved, hung out with, helped, or even talked to much killed themselves. What would you have them do, just sit and wait until their heart gave out from being repeatedly broken?

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Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

20 thoughts on “Suicide makes sense sometimes”

  1. Justin,
    Thnx for this. I’m laying in bed crippled by depression. I’ve been this way for 2 years. Like you said, if someone struggled with cancer for 2 years, most people would say let them go. And be compassionate. I do have cancer- of my thoughts, emotions, and soul. a mutation of what is normal;isn’t that the definition of cancer? Meds don’t help, neither does therapy, diet, exercise. The only reason I’m still here is my sister, who made me promise to stay here (and keep suffering, I guess), even though I don’t see her but once or twice a year and talk to her about 2 times a month. She says she can’t live without me. Well, she IS living without me. It pisses me off. She’s holding me hostage for her emotional need, and not letting me go, which would be much more humane.

  2. Shit, I have major depression which is quite severe and also a serious anxiety disorder. I suffer everyday, every hour of everyday. For years. I want to die, but my wife doesn’t want me to. I am in a lot of pain and I seem to be getting nearer to suicide. If pain is bad enough, not even a wonderful wife can keep a man alive. I say right on to those who suffer intensely and for a long time when they take their lives.

  3. Makes sense to me … I’m not a total hermit. It’d be a story if I was gone, but would anyone truly care. I keep hanging on bc maybe I’ll make my life better … Maybe something good around the corner. But there never is.

  4. Wow…this us so fucking sad. I’m lonely, feeling like a complete looser, can’t seem to make any money, hating my life and I’m considering what the rest of you are… And then I think hey! Maybe I should get some fresh air, do something for ME, maybe appreciate that I appreciate myself for the things that I do and love. I am love. I am loved. Live for love . even if you think you are the only one who lives you! After reading all this depressing crap I’m going for a walk and I’m going to breath deep and by thankful I have a heart and lungs to do it! Thank you for clearing the clouds from my eyes… I am stronger because you all seem weaker than me. I guess I had to hit bottom to start moving to the top. Whew! Life is worth living even when it sucks.

  5. I watched an artilce on TV about Robin Williams life and death. I have always admired the man and his work. When I heard of his death I was shocked and very saddened. Even though I never knew the man personally, it made me wish I could have been there for him to talk him out of it. That was how I felt at the time, but after watching the episode about what that man went through, I probably would have made that same decision much sooner than he did. No one really knows what that person is going through in life, it is really is very sad. At least he is no longer suffering.

    I have read so many articles on suicide. My brother committed suicide and I have struggled internally for years to understand why he chose that path. To lose a loved one in such a way changed my life forever. I had no idea that my brother was in such a dark place, and looking back I have blamed myself for not being a better brother to him, not being there like I should have. I find it strange that the rest of family does not feel the same, they only felt anger for what he did. Not me, I want to understand WHY he did it. Because if I knew the why then maybe it could make me a better person. I still feel to this day that I have some blame in his death, the reason simply for not being more in touch than I was. I will never forgive myself for that.

    Today I do have a much better understanding as I have found myself in a very similar place. I have myself been deeply depressed on most days, and this is due to all the issues and pressures that have been going on in life. The realization that most everyone I know are narcissistic or at least selfish in some kind of way. Most lack empathy for others and only contact you when they want something. I have become someone who no longer trust people as a result of this. This has made me pull away socially and as result I find myself isolated from the world.

    If I were to take my own life, the reason would not be the way others have treated me though it would have a serious impact on that decision. There are other issues that would make suicide an option, pretty much like in Robin’s case.

    This is one of the better articles that I have read. I absolutely hate it when I read an article and the author has absolutely no clue of what they are talking about. Some people seem to think it is because of money. Maybe money means everything to them, but it doesn’t mean everything to everybody. Others blame a chemical imbalance and this maybe true, but there is more to it than just a chemical imbalance. Again, many have no clue.

    I couldn’t resist but to share my thoughts after reading this. You are one of the very few that seem to get it, and your last paragraph really sums it up well! Thank you for this article…..

  6. My wife hates me calls me shakey because I shake when she bullies me. Really do want to stop living. I’ve lost my way.

  7. I wish more people understood this kind of pain. I just told my parents recently if I was struggling with cancer they would say let go Dane. I have battled depression for years. I have no confidence in myself at all. 22 months ago I found the love of my life even though it wasn’t the ideal situation but would be soon. I felt better but only when I was with her or part of her life. I still had no confidence in myself, but felt better at times with her. I met this young woman when she was 17-18 years old. I was older, but the relationship was approved by her and her family. Someone reported us for selfish reasons and my life was destroyed. Her parents continued to support me and support us knowing our relationship was happy and successful. I was sent to jail even though her family and her wanted zero charges. She is 18 almost 19 years old now. I am now out of jail, but people continue to push charges. (Our ex’s, enemies, etc). We are unable to communicate even though her and her family requested communication because the authorities won’t stop an investigation. It’s unbelievable pain and confusion when the people involved want everything dropped and communication restored. My depression, OCD, anxiety, stress, and confusion is at an all time high. I pray things get better like both families wish, but life is so unfair and seems hopeless. When you are told how to live your life and given no choices you give up. Of course everyone says “it’ll get better” but it doesn’t. I thought my life was finally coming together only to be torn completely apart. I have one choice left in my life that no one else can make for me.

  8. Having avoidant personality disorder places me squareley outside of the suggested approach of reaching out and forming a bond in order to alleviate suicidal feelings.
    I have had so many negative interactions with humanity that suicide appeals to me only because it’s the most effective to escape from other people.

  9. Y’know, it’s a sin when people’re saying that what you want to pull off is the pinnacle of selfishness and with time does it truly become a strong annoyance. For years have I also battled depression and after falling prey to epilepsy in 2015 had it only worsened. I was given the typical speeches but when you’re having these episodic moments are they, to their ignorance, easily dismissed. With most people such as us, who the hell wants to hear that on a constant? You’re driven to a point where you want to unload on the person but you’re also seen as devilish or wrong for doing so but is it my problem? If you know what’ll be said could be no different, why give me the same song and dance? Like everyone else do I try even, and often is it seen as typical so in some situations is it, well, sensible. Also, while it’s in mind, are you often hit with the Jesus excuse and so on, as if he’s supposed to make a sudden move but even with those kind of contradictions. .where the hell was he before it all came to be?

    To me also is it appealing as the situation you’re a part of just isn’t worth seating yourself and even explaining point A to point B since like myself do I question the cause in doing so while also giving the effect so much more attention since, after all, does it feel more promising. So in my case I suppose it’s just waiting it out until that energy bar reaches zero. It’s just not for everyone, referring to seeing what can or even will be.

  10. Justin, who are you? I mean, really, WHO ARE YOU? I don’t know you but I “love” you. You’ve written what I’ve said and written elsewhere many, many, many times & only received hate for. Nothing left to say except, dude, you made my day today. Oh, and I really wish I knew you in real life. God I do. I’m a avid tea drinker & I’d even learn to bike if I knew someone as open-minded on this subject as you.

  11. Feeling dead on the inside is hell on earth. Expressing “it” in a forum like this is no picnic, either. I will lose my home and business at the end of May, 2018, and I’m just too old to start over again. I have felt suicidal at times in the past, but never as intensely as I’m experiencing it every day recently. There is only one person in my life that has me holding onto a shred of hope not to do it. In the background/ foreground, my entire family has turned their backs on me. So, I’m hanging on, but by a thread.

  12. There was not a single so-called friend that ever bothered to find out if I’m even still alive after I immigrated. Called a friend after years when I came back to the country, and he let his secretary call me to schedule an appointment. He didn’t even bother to call me himself. I let this guy live in my house for a year without ever asking rent. I was very very seriously injured when I was 20 years old, I had “friends”. They did not come to visit me in the 3 months it took to go back to classes. O.k there were two people, who only came once and when I cried, they did not bother to come again. I am now 46 and this injury is still making my life very very hard to live. I had a girlfriend in my twenties that I loved with all my heart and I still miss her. But I gave up on our relationship, basically because her lack of caring saddenned me so much that I had to walk away. Example: due to the injury I was admitted to hospital for cardiac problems. One particular evening when she came to visit me I had a cardiac arrest as she walked in to the high care unit. I remember seeing her and her sister walking in and then my heart going crazy. Anyway I was defibrillated and when I woke up an hour or two later she was no longer there. She later told me she and her sister decided to go to the movies after my cardiac arrest. I used to care very deeply about people, I even became a doctor because of my caring for people. But over the last 26 years I realised that I do not know a single person that actually cares about anybody else, unless there is something to gain. I worked in an ER in a very violent country for 3 years and I just couldn’t handle the terrible tragedies and cruelty of what humans do to others anymore. After my big love I had other girlfriends and always felt horrible when I broke up. They always cried and one even threatened to commit suicide. I felt so sad for them. So that made me decide that I will never ever break another girls heart. So when I met my wife I married her within six months. I wasn’t much attracted to her but I thought she was a caring person. Well when we came home after our honeymoon that night her screaming started – I was convinced if I’m only more caring she wil feel better. Early on in our marraige she even took my handgun out of my safe and said at the other side of the door: how do you load this gun? I immediately opened the door, took the gun out of her hands, locked it up and hid the safe’s key. But then she said she loved me and I believed her and even felt sorry for her. Also I promised to God Almighty to be with her till death do us part. In a nutshell I was at the core and essence of my being a deeply compassionate and loyal person. Well and then I started losing my mind because of her emotional abuse. I ended up being detained once due to things she told to other people. I tried to be better – it was all my fault right? Then when she told her family that I threatened to kill my own children, a blatant lie, I realized for the first time I was dealing with a person who will utterly destroy me. I realized after 10 years of marraige that I was emotionally abused. I stopped taking the massive doses of antidepressants “doctors” prescribed me. The withdrawal was brutal. I decided I will divorce her. That was 6 years ago. I have three boys, still young and I don’t think I will survive if I loose them because I love them with all my heart. I am also scared of what she is capable of doing to me if I ask for a divorce. I have a high salary but no savings. I pay her $5000 a month for groceries and she always goes over budget. She isolated me. She betrayed my trust and ruined me on all levels of my being. I do not trust a single person anymore, and don’t think I will ever have another friend in my life. I realize that the girlfriends I had that cried when I broke up wanted to manipulate me to stay in, because of my potential to give them a life where they would live in comfort, not having to work anymore. It had nothing to do with a broken heart. The girl I mentioned earlier was not caring, but I loved her deeply. She didn’t need my money either. Nor did she abuse me the way my wife does. My marraige shook my faith to its core. People in church do not care at all about me. I invite them to my house but they never return the favour. I now believe that I am just a piece of complex, aware biology, and that there is no God. If their was a God I’m not sure I would love him because of the suffering he allowed to happen to me. If there was a God I think humanity reflects his personality, which is largely self serving and cruel. If I die I will just stop existing, afterlife is a bullshit story designed to control people. I am getting closer to the big step to end it. I am not depressed. I just do not think living this life is wortwhile. I deeply regret bringing children into this cruel world filled with narcisistic people. My middle child is a very caring very sensitive child and already struggles because he cannot understand the cruelty of other children. It is because of him that I find it problematic to end it all, and even to divorce. I do not want to destroy this beautifull little person. But I cannot live this life anymore. Unbearable pain on so many levels.

  13. What a refreshing blog that isn’t about calling a suicide hotline. I have always been sad. It is either in my dna or it is my destiny from another life. I have always had sadness and melancholia about people that have moved on or passed on and ends to life cycles. It has gotten worst now that I am 59 but is now accompanied by hopelessness. I have always understood suicide. It happens when the pain and sadness of living outweighs the benefits of living. Fighting pain, whether it is physical or emotional is exhausting. I applaud those that have the guts to let go and move on to the next level of consciousness.

  14. I’ve been considering suicide for a while. I went to nursing school because I always wanted to and I was doing great, became class president, got good grades, everyone in class loved me and I was very outgoing and found myself. I didn’t make it which was sad but the experience made me really care about people and become alot more confident in myself. I worked out and quit smoking for a few months and got pretty buff to top it all off. I managed to get a job in loans at a bank, got myself a lexus and even got a girlfriend and life was going great. I decided to try nursing again because I switched to another department and I hated it and thought if I’m gonna be miserable at work I may as well make more so I tried again even though my heart wasn’t fully in it, I knew enough to pass. Nursing school is really tough on me with all the expectations and studying but I wanted to have a better life, it made me really anxious and I think it showed in my relationship. We barely saw each other because I was so busy and mostly had to text to maintain contact. I missed her and wished I could be with her but it was only 7 months of hell I thought. Eventually our relationship fell apart (i feel it was my fault because I tried to maintain things with texting and I read an article that texting to much can kill the vibe and I realized we were texting alot more since I was away at school) I fell into deep depression and where I was getting 80’s and 90’s I was barely getting by. I wanted to be with friends, go to the gym, do things I liked but I had to deal with the stresses of school and seeing my grades slip made me way more depressed because if I failed then I put myself here to loose everything for nothing. I lost alot of weight and became self conscious because I no longer had much muscle and girls stopped flirting and noticing me. I eventually had to withdraw because I couldn’t get out of bed for hours and had a few nervous breakdowns. I’m working in a kitchen as a dishwasher (I couldn’t work full time in school) only on weekends. I’m in debt, heartbroken, a failure, self conscious, haven’t really been playing guitar so I’m not as good, in debt, depressed, and I just don’t want to try anymore. I don’t know what to do, like I think of things to make life better but I just don’t feel that confidence anymore. I don’t have the girl I love, my physique, nothing. Life has become utter hell and I know others have it way worse than me but it’s literally everything I was afraid of has all happened at once. I grew up really poor and I swore I’d never let it happen again by the way but I couldn’t prevent it because I’m a failure, weak, and not man enough to make things happen and every time I look in the mirror i just hate what I see.

  15. This post perfectly articulates the kind of thoughts I’ve had about this subject for years. Thank you for writing it.

  16. I’ve wanted to die since I was 9 and now Im 47 . I’ve never done it because Im afraid of burning in Hell !
    On my 27th birthday I wanted to jump off building .All my life I’ve waited for life to get better but it doesnt ! I made the mistake of having a daughter when I was 22 .I dont have a family really dont have friends ! I had no choice but to become a stripper and was never good at anything else and its all I can do .I did a horrible job raising my daughter and she has a child . Im a loser 47 year old stripper who has to take care of everyone they all depend on depressed old me a dumb old stripper .Everyday of my life I wish for death Ive actually sat in church and prayed to God to give me cancer and take me. I look back on my life with regret and wished Id had the balls to take myself out when I was 9 instead of ending up where I am now and bringing a child into my Hell . Im sure I will end up homeless sleeping on the street 1 day maybe that will be when God finally takes me

  17. What has most amazed me about the study of and interventions to prevent suicide is how staunchly the “experts” ignore what those considering suicide have been telling them for decades: their lives are just too hard. Poverty, unemployment or underemployment, lack of social/emotional support, bullying and other forms of physical and emotional abuse, homelessness, abandonment by family and friends, education that’s offered as a possible way out of hell but that’s far too expensive for the poor, financial predation whether by sociopaths or callous institutions, a law enforcement system antagonistic towards and that preys on the poor to generate more state funds, a government that cares only about the wealthy and powerful–including government officials preoccupied with growing or retaining their own power, a legal system that’s far too expensive to buy protection from even when you have evidence others are violating your rights, an increasingly caustic environment (the poor are disproportionately subjected to air, water, ground, light, and noise pollution study after study shows to contribute cumulatively to disease but they have no power to do anything about it), and if you survive all of that the ultimate slap in the face: widespread cultural ageism that denies the very humanity of “the old.” CBT, DBT, psychopharmacologics… cannot solve these persistent problems. These and other therapies can help, but only if someone’s basic survival requirements and civil rights are secure in the first place.

    But the professionals refuse to grapple with these real problems’ effects on people’s will to live. Instead, they’d rather go on and on about the miracles of the therapies that make them, the professionals, money or win them publications and social status. And let’s not talk about the general public with their irritating, asinine platitudes or their downright malevolence for those in unremitting emotional pain. All the while, the suicide rates keep climbing and more and more people suffer from chronic clinical depression.

    I’ve lost faith in either the government or private industry (clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers…) to frankly address the root causes of severe depression that inclines so many to suicide. Some of them even admit they think it’s for the best the depressed (and poor) commit suicide so as not to drag down others. An acquaintance who’s a highly published professor of psychiatry at one of the leading medical schools on the US West Coast said this during a luncheon I attended a few years ago. But in public (including their websites), all these so-called experts, just like politicians, unctuously present the specious image of solicitude and diligence.

    There are literally HUNDREDS of websites like this one where people who’re at the precipice of suicide explain WHY they’re so close to committing suicide. We already know why very many people commit suicide. Either, culturally, we don’t want to do anything about it or can’t do anything about it. Because the coping mechanisms professional psychology is offering seem to me like throwing a bandaid at someone who enters a hospital emergency department with a gunshot wound to the gut. We might at least, then, offer people the dignity of medically competent, subsidized euthanasia instead of pretending to care while actively making life harder and more brutal for those who’re already down and out.

    And for those who do legitimately care, they ought to recognize that all their concern is unlikely to ameliorate the many suicide precipitants (and others) from above. The suicidal are the ones suffering. If you can’t guarantee them an end to their suffering, then let them leave. It’s vastly more humane than forcing them to linger in hell.

  18. Next time you as a non suicidale person feel that hurt inside imagine living with that day after day year after year and trying to make yourself belive it will go away
    talk about denile.
    When you feel so bad and all day your energy is spent pushing down feelings that wellup from nowhere and then find a reason to put it to
    to justify a tear . There are good days but they seem to be less and less.
    Anyway its nice to know somebody addresses this from our point of view

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