I was reading an article about mental health, psychological breakdowns and death resulting because of them in young adults this morning when I came across this quote:
“We usually focus on suicide because it’s a traumatic, painful event for loved ones”
As someone who’s been eternally suicidal for as long as I can recall, it’s time we stopped acting like the only ones affected by suicide are the ones left behind. It’s also time we stopped calling suicide selfish. Why is self care not considered selfish? Because it doesn’t ‘harm’ the ones around you? So, going to therapy isn’t considered selfish because you’re bettering yourself but suicide is, despite it’s often see as the only option left? That’s ridiculous. Everything is universally selfish, when broken down into semantics. Anything one does for ones self is technically selfish. Anything one does for ones self over those around them is technically selfish. Maybe the people we should be focusing on aren’t the ones left behind, but the people who’re killing themselves. Maybe then we’d see some change.
We pretend to. Mainstream media pretends to focus on people with mental health problems. Then, when it comes down to brass tacks, we refused to treat those same people with any modicum of respect or give them any sort of treatment at all. We don’t even talk about it, often times. Yet we like to believe we’re here to help, that we’re here to care. And let’s not even get into the entire “I’m here for you so I look like a good person but won’t actually help you when you need it” persona people have or the faux positive platitudes they throw at you when you’re feeling down. The “Everything will be okay” campaign. For who? The person who wants to be dead, or the person saying it because they don’t feel as bad as the person they’re telling it to, so they can actually believe it? The people who generally say things like “It gets better” are people who’ve never faced psychological adversity. Who’ve never fought with their own brain for the benefit of their own survival. I’m not going to deny that there’s people out there who have, and who do say these things because they themselves have gotten better, just as I’m not going to deny that suicide effects those around the person who’s killed themselves. I’m just tired of suicide focusing on the people left behind.
Why are there dozens upon dozens of resources for people who’ve been affected by something but no resources for the people who’ve died from it? Every time there’s a shooting somewhere, they bring in grief counselors. Every time someone kills themselves, the remaining loved ones are talked to about how they feel. Maybe if we focused more on the people who’re killing themselves, they wouldn’t kill themselves in the first place and we’d save ourselves a whole mess of trouble. We need to be better at helping people. At helping people who really need help. We’ll talk endlessly about how to help survivors but won’t talk about how to help those who’re on the verge of killing themselves. Take it from someone who’s wanted to die for as long as she can recall, this needs to change. I’m also curious as to why we call the people who commit suicide ‘victims’, because to me, a victim is someone who’s an unwilling recipient of something happening to them, like murder. People can claim “Well, these people aren’t really interested in killing themselves! They’re sick!” but now you’re denying them how they feel, and that just isn’t right. Now, just so I don’t seem like a completely heartless bitch, let’s talk about the survivors.
The people who’re left behind by the people who kill themselves. The “loved ones”, as they’re so often referred to in these articles and studies. I’m in no way denying that they’re important, that they too deserve help and are worthy of their emotions after such a ‘tragedy’ occurs. But that’s where it gets sticky. That word, ‘tragedy’, keeps popping up. See, once someone is dead, the people around them get to build a narrative that often isn’t accurate about the person who’s killed themselves, especially when there’s no suicide note or anything left behind for clarification. The reason it’s considered selfish isn’t because they’ve done something for themselves, but because there’s no other narrative. They aren’t here to talk about why they did it, and when they did try to talk about why they’d want to do it when they were alive, nobody fucking listened to them. Everyone needs help. Those who’re suicidal, and those affected by said suicide. These are people who’re hurt by the fact that they lost someone they loved, that was very important to them. That’s brutal. I know what it’s like to lose people, I’m sure we all do, but they aren’t the ones who should be the focus. They’re collateral damage.
Maybe I’m off base, but as someone who’s tried to die, who’s wanted to die, I just thought I’d chime in on this topic, and on Easter day no less.