Jean Mellano and Steve Tarpinian’s Story – There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story – Story #29

Personal Stories

Suicide Is Not A Selfish Act

by Jean Mellano

Today, for the first time since Steve died by his own hand in 2015, someone said directly to me: “Suicide is a selfish act.” I was not angry or insulted, but rather very sad that people still believe this to be true. If anything, in the mind of the one who takes their own life, it’s a selfless act. In Steve’s case, his writings and the discussions he had with me before he died, he indicated that he felt he was a burden to those who loved him. In his suffering mind, Steve felt we would all be better off without him.

Based on my experience with Steve, I believe his mind was so tortured and he was in so much mental pain, he was not thinking rationally when he took his own life. That is not what I would call selfish. Steve was the kindest, most giving and thoughtful man I have ever known, and he would never do anything to intentionally hurt anyone.

As human beings, it is difficult for us to relate to mental pain and empathize with what someone so afflicted is feeling. I believe this is one of the reasons suicide is so stigmatized and misunderstood. Most of us can easily understand physical pain since at some point or another in our lives we have experienced some form of it.

I suffered situational depression in the months after Steve died and believe it was in no way even close to what Steve must have felt suffering from clinical depression. The despair and hopelessness I felt were so tortuous I can’t even imagine what Steve was going through in his final days. A few weeks before he died, Steve told me he was so afraid. He could not (or would not) share with me what he was afraid of. Only now do I realize how much he must have been suffering.

I believe there are two possible reasons why some say suicide is a selfish act. The first may be an attempt to comfort the suicide loss survivor(s) in an effort to help shift the guilt burden (blame) to the one who died. The second reason may be that it is easier for them to say “suicide is a selfish act” rather than really try to process why someone would take their own life. Being a suicide loss survivor gives one much more perspective—I hope to use this perspective to educate others.

Hearing these words today was a good thing as it has strengthened my resolve to continue to inspire conversation about mental illness and suicide with the hopes of dispelling myths like “Suicide is selfish.”

When Steve, my soul mate of 33 years, took his own life on March 15, 2015, my world changed dramatically, and my life was turned upside down. I began to take solace in writing about Steve and found purpose in trying to bring more awareness to mental health by telling Steve’s story.

You Are Not Alone graphicShare your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery.

Copyright © 2018 NAMI. All Rights Reserved.

Steve Tarpinian passed away on March 15, 2015.  He was a beloved coach, swimmer, entrepreneur, friend and companion. His vision

established the landscape for triathlon on Long Island. However,  Steve’s true legacy is the lives that he positively impacted while on his journey.

Slipped Away is a memoir that exemplifies Steve’s journey and the lives that he touched along the way.  It includes tributes from his soul mate of 33 years, his colleagues, his students, the triathlon community, as well as his own writings.

The intention of this book is to have Steve’s depth of spirit and compassion live on, and continue to have a positive impact on the lives of others.   All of the net proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to, a Long Island based non-profit organization that supports veterans suffering from PTSD and depression.


Copyright © Slipped Away – A Memoir. All rights reserved.


Here are two links to read more about their lives

Jean and Steve Tarpinian

Thank you for sharing your story with us. 

You deserve much praise and honor.

Your story is your glory.

We celebrate you.  

RIP Steve

If you want to share your story on my blog and join us on our campaign “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story,” please check out the post titled, Please Help Me With My New Campaign – “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story” to learn the mission behind our campaign.

For suggestions and ideas about how to write your story and for directions on how to share your story on my blog, please visit the post titled A Revised Guide – How to Write and Share Your Story For “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.

Thank you in advance for participating and helping our cause of increasing awareness and educating about mental health and mental illness, reducing suicide and ending the stigma of mental illness.

We are on a mission to save lives.

We are on a mission

to improve the quality of people’s lives

who live with mental illness.

Thank you for being you.

Much love and hugs, Sue

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

~Maya Angelou

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | | All Rights reserved


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s