Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, so, I decided to write a blog post talking about suicide. Suicide is one of those things that talking about it is the best way to prevent it, but no one ever actually talks about it, because it’s such a taboo subject, even though we’re in 2013 and most of us have lost someone close to us to it. Maybe people still feel it’s contagious, that it’s something you can catch by talking about it. Or maybe it’s because it’s often associated to mental illness, which has its own social stigma linked to it. But the fact is, it’s not something groups of friends will just gather around and chat about.
But it’s important, you know? To talk about it, and especially to demystify it. There are so many misconceptions and so much ignorance when it comes to suicide, which is spread and leads to prejudice, and more not talking about it, and more people feeling like they have no other way out other than ending their own lives. That’s what I would like to do, talk about it a little, clear some things up. As most of you know, I’ve lost close people to suicide. I’ve had some personal experience with it. I’ve read a lot about it. Will you hear me out?
Let’s talk about the ‘Most Common Misconceptions’ concerning suicide, shall we?
Write love on your wrist for Suicide Prevention Day
People Who Kill Themselves Don’t Announce It.
False. Bull. Freaking. Shit. I’m sure that in some cases, sure, people don’t go around saying “I’m going to kill myself.” but this misconception leads to the effect of people thinking that people who talk about killing themselves aren’t actually going to do it. And I know this to be false, because both people close to me who killed themselves talked about it multiple times before doing it. And, with one of them, I know for a fact that people in her life thought she would only say it for attention, and she only attempted it before for attention, “because people who really want to kill themselves just do it”. In fact, people who want to die, who feel they’re lost and overwhelmed, often want help and support and care from those who love them. And, sometimes, these people just can’t see how much they’re needed. It’s not their fault, really. We’re talking about hundreds of years of history here, about misconceptions, about personal fear of having someone you love actually wishing to die. So, the person who is suicidal feels that talking about it and trying to hurt themselves is the way to call out to you. No one talks about suicide without actually having it in mind or just “for attention”. If that’s their way to call attention, in the very least, they have some kind of serious issues. If someone you love is talking about dying, saying they wish to die, LISTEN. Maybe they do want your attention, so, give it to them. It may hurt. It may be scary. But they need you. And, you know what? You probably need them, too.
People Who Commit Suicide Are Selfish Bastards
False. When someone kills themselves, especially someone who’s a public person, the first batch of comments will be something like: “How could they do this to their family and friends?” “How could they be so selfish?” Now, I ask you, have you ever had the chance of reading the thoughts of someone who’s committed suicide? I have. A whole journal full of them. The one constant in them was how this person was getting in the way of the people they loved. This is how the mind of most people who kill themselves work. And maybe this isn’t that much of a comfort for those left behind, but in their confused, lost mind, they truly believed their loved ones would be better off without them. And for those people here, especially those who have never been anywhere near that place of pure despair and nothing else, it’s hard to understand that, but for them, this is done out of love, a way of making life better for those who mean the world to them. When they feel worthless and unworthy and that their life has become a burden, for them, it truly feels like the world would be a better place without them. This is selflessness. Not selfishness. I know this is hard for most people to understand. Just give it a thought.
People Who Seem Happy And Make Other People Laugh Don’t Commit Suicide
False. You don’t have to walk around moping all day to be thinking about suicide. People often think that even though someone’s depressed or Bipolar or whatever, if they’re fun or funny or they *gasp* laugh and make other people laugh, that makes them instantly suicide risk free, because, obviously, if you’re laughing it means you don’t want to die, right? I know this may sound ridiculous, but I swear to you there are people who think that. Again, I think this probably has to do with denial that people they love may be going through such pain, but for some people, as long and you laugh and you’re living, you’re not thinking about dying, which is completely not true. How often do we hear about someone who committed suicide “Oh, they were always making people happy, I wish they could have been happy themselves.”? Way too often. That’s something to watch for. If someone, even jokingly or casually talks about dying, it doesn’t mean they don’t mean it.
Suicide is Preventable.
False. If you’ve lost someone to suicide, you’ve inevitably felt guilt up to some point. You’ve wondered: “Was there something I could have done to prevent it?” Your mind must have gone through every possible scenario of what ifs, why nots, and what elses. The truth is, suicide, although preventable, is not preventable by you, not really. When someone reaches the point when they want to take their own life, though they really do need the love and support of their family and friends, they can only be helped by themselves and by professionals. Noticing the signs someone is suicidal, though important, is something subtle and most people will probably miss it, even because we’re surrounded by stigmas and misconceptions and a whole lot of denial. You can’t change the mind of someone who’s suicidal simply by talking to them or telling them you love them or they’re worth it. It’d be lovely if it was that simple. When someone commits suicide, they come from a place of a lot of pain and darkness, that needs treatment, time and effort. Some people are impulsive and commit suicide on a whim, some people plan it for a long time. But that doesn’t mean you could have stopped them. Ultimately, it was their decision. You have to know that. You have to know you’ve loved your best. You have to know hiding is what they do. I mean it.
A Few Things I Want You To Know
- Today I’m doing things different here. I’m not asking a question or asking people to engage. I know suicide is an uncomfortable subject and most people don’t want to talk about it. It’s fine. What I’m asking is: SHARE THIS WITH A FRIEND. Maybe someone who lost someone to suicide. Maybe someone who may need comforting words. I don’t know. Just share.
- If you do want to talk about something, feel free to hit the comments. I’m open to suggestions, comments, if you want to share a story, if you want to say anything, I’m all ears.
- If you came here by Googling suicide and you’re in crisis, talk to someone. Reach out. There are people who are willing to listen. I promise. And if you feel you have no one, talk to me, I’m here.
- If you know someone who’s suicidal, who talks constantly about dying, about killing themselves, even as a joke, even if it feels uncomfortable to you, talk to them? Ask what’s up? Maybe they need someone :)
And, last, but not least, thank you for reading. This is important. So, so important. Love. Live. Reach.