I’m a Coward for Not Killing Myself?
I’ve written about suicide a lot and on those threads I hear it all the time: “I’m too much of a coward to kill myself,” or, “I wish I were braver so I could commit suicide.”
I understand these thoughts and I think they’re very common and normal. When you’re in unbearable pain, it feels like suicide is necessary. And if you’re not achieving a necessary thing, you feel like a failure. And because of the nature of suicide – because it is scary – people feel like the reason they are “failing” is because they are a coward.
This is not true, however. Cowardice has nothing to do with killing yourself or living. You are not a coward for not killing yourself.
Dying is Easy, Living is Hard
What people don’t remember is that dying is the easy part – it happens once and then it’s over – it’s living that is very hard. You are not a coward for choosing not to kill yourself, you are being brave. You are bravely facing down the darkness and the pain. This takes no small amount of strength. Even if you don’t feel strong – because I know how weak being suicidal makes you feel – really you are strong. Survival shows your strength.
Killing Yourself Is an Act of Cowardice
Now, some would say that killing yourself is actually the act of cowardice. Some would say that not standing up and facing life is a cowardly thing to do. Some would say that people who commit suicide actually take the easy way out.
Well, I’m not sure I would say those things. There is nothing easy about suicide on any side of the equation and people who attempt suicide certainly don’t need insults, like being called a coward, hurled at them when they already feel bad enough about their suicide attempt. I would say that suicide is an act of illness. Killing yourself is more a symptom of a disease than anything else.
Stand Up and Fight – You Are Not a Coward
And the thing is, by beating yourself up and calling yourself a coward for not killing yourself you are not doing yourself any favours. Beating yourself up is natural when you’re depressed but I encourage you to let this insult go as it’s simply not true. Suggesting that you are a coward for living is just a lie that the disease tells you. People are not brave when they run away from their problems, they are brave when they stand up and fight. And you are a fighter. I know this because you’re here, you’re alive and you’re reading this right now. Fight the pain. Fight the disease. Fight the bipolar. Fight the depression. Fight for your life.
So no, you are not a coward for not killing yourself. You are sort of a hero.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.