Suicide: ‘Completed’ vs. ‘Committed’

This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot in recent years, and I’m sure you’ve been asking it too.

As the conversation about mental health grows within American society, we’re learning that we feel differently when it comes to the way we discuss suicide.

Some say it’s terrible to use the phrase “committed suicide” and prefer “completed suicide” instead. Some don’t see what the big deal about using “committed” instead of “completed” is. Some could care less how you present the subject.

As someone who’s been public about her own suicidal ideation struggles, I’m going to offer a few of my own thoughts: Firstly, I’d never want to use a term that forces someone to believe suicide is in fact a crime. I don’t believe that it is. To me, suicide is a last resort to escape extreme anguish and you consider it when you think the world is better off for you going through with it. I do also, however, define and use the word “committed” differently in general.

When I use the word “committed,” it’s usually a connotation of “commitment.” Think about marriage for a second; we call it a “commitment” because (in a perfect world) we take it seriously and understand that we’re choosing to honor our significant other. It’s a choice to stay determined in our love for that person. It’s not a jail sentence (I hope).

Therefore, when I use “committed,” I’m thinking about the determination that someone put behind that act. I’m not necessarily immediately thinking about a person doing anything illegal.

So, to me, suicide takes “commitment,” and that’s why sometimes I’ll say “committed suicide” – unless it really bothers whoever I’m having a conversation about it with.

I’ve learned that we don’t all use and view those terms and sentences the same way – so I’m curious, is it okay to use “committed suicide” or should we be doing more when we tell that story in 2019?

What do you think?

2 responses to “Suicide: ‘Completed’ vs. ‘Committed’”

  1. I struggle with what phrase to use myself. Some people would like to use “attempted” and as someone who has done this several times when I was younger and drinking heavily I feel like they want to put “and failed” after it. I’m a little sensitive sometimes at the rudeness of others who see my scars and actually comment on them. I live with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Conversion Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. I’m also an alcoholic who has been in remission for 9 1/2 years. I think I’ve earned the right to phrase things how I want as long as my intent isn’t to hurt anyone. Thanks for your post!

    1. You’re a trooper!

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