It’s something that none of us really, truly understand. For so long it has been something that has been taboo, a subject that no one would really ever bring up and we often speak of it in hushed tones as though someone amongst us might catch it. With social media so much a part of our everyday lives now more than ever you would think that suicide would be one of the subjects we could start to talk about openly. It has been, but not in the way that has been effective enough to relieve itself of this sense that suicide is shameful – a way that has really opened up discussions on suicide, prevention, depression, mental health etc.
Mental health is not a joke. There is a broad spectrum on which we could all place ourselves. It can sometimes require medication to manage, hospitalisation, regular therapy sessions or even something such as making a change in your life like quitting your job.
It is complex. It is broad. And it is not a joke.
Suicide is serious. The level of devastation, destruction and pain it can cause to the person who has committed suicide, fights everyday against committing suicide and/or the friends and family who are left behind by it is something that cannot be communicated from one person to another. We are yet to find any one way that makes it fully understandable to anyone. And talking about it is still clouded in shame and secrecy no matter how much we try to advocate for it. Prevention is so important. Which is why talking about it is so important. Talking, advocating, helping each other. These are all things that can open up more avenues for discussion when it comes to mental health issues. Social media can be a helpful tool when it comes to this, reaching a much broader audience, connecting us all with one another, whatever our experience with mental health issues.
You know what suicide is not? Something for you, or anyone else, to post about on your social media page just because.
I saw on someone’s page something that was truly galling to me. The poster had seen someone on a bridge on her way into work, either about to, or definitely wanting to kill themselves.
For her it was “so sad”. To that I say, was it? Was it so ‘sad’ for you to see the most anguished moments of that person’s life, their literal despair and pain in their entire being, that you felt so unbelievably sad you posted it on your social media page? What in the blue hell is wrong with you? Are you that starved for attention that you would use someone else’s pain to get yourself some sympathy? In fact, what did you hope to get out of this? Was it sympathy you wanted?
You know what a post like that is like? It’s like a tabloid printing a story on a celebrity that highlights their most painful moments to the rest of the world. That’s what your post did. It opened up that poor soul’s pain to all of your Facebook friends. That’s moronic and heartless.
What did you do about what you saw today? What did you learn from it? What did it make you want to do? Did you even feel anything for that poor, lost soul who can’t see anything beyond their own pain? Can you not look past your own idiocy and display even a small measure of human decency by not posting about it? What is wrong with you? In fact, how dare you? If that had been your own child would you want some idiot doing the same thing you did today?
An experience like this should make a person think both about themselves and beyond themselves. It should make you think about how truly fortunate you are that you don’t have to fight against everything in your head day and day out. And it should probably also make you feel that you are also a seriously unfortunate human being for having no feeling in your own heart and literally no common sense whatsoever.
Maybe I’m being too sensitive about this. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone to struggle with suicidal thoughts. I do know what it’s like to have an immediate family member tell you they just don’t want to be here anymore, that they feel as though everyone will be better off if they were dead, that they’re losing the battle and are just simply too tired to fight themselves anymore, to even get out of bed every morning.
Do you know what that is like? I bet you don’t. I bet you have no idea of the pain, the horror, the abject fear it causes to hear something like that more than once from someone you love and who you couldn’t imagine ever being without. I am afraid. I am so very afraid to wake up each day because today might be the day I get a phone call that could obliterate me. You don’t understand the magnitude of what you saw today. To you, it’s a bit of gossip. ‘Sad’ gossip. To someone else it’s literal devastation. To someone else it’s the choice between life and death.
You don’t get it and I feel sorry for you.
Suicide isn’t gossip. And if you have nothing helpful, kind or pro-active to say about it, especially on social media, keep your mouth shut and your social pages logged off. Someone could see your stupid comment and it could affect them more than you could ever realise.