13 Sep Why Suicide is Not For Show
by Carla Bianca Ravanes
Back in the day, suicide was seen as “someone who didn’t have control’s” easy way out. Suicide was taboo to be discussed because it was not an issue. It was simply done by someone who wasn’t strong enough to live. We heard other comments and judgments about it as well and we’ve heard people say that the person who committed suicide was selfish, that if only they became “positive”, they would have seen the “brighter side of life.”
What we don’t understand is that people with depression rarely see the brighter side of life. It has been said countless times that hope is what brings light to life and for a person who is depressed. Hope is the lifeline to life and for those who are tormented by thoughts, hope is gone and without hope, what then is the purpose of living?
Describing depression that leads to suicide is a vain attempt, because it is different for everyone. And because of goth movies of the 90s, we often regard a depressed person dressed in black all the time, but the truth is, people who are depressed are as normal as you and me. They go to work, put on their best clothes, act happy, and may even seem to have the best out of everything. Sometimes, having everything they have ever wanted in life leaves the person even more depressed. I already have everything I’ve ever wanted, why am I still depressed? People with thoughts of despair are lost in a maze that they may never come out of. It’s like constantly drowning without being able to reach out to those who are trying to help. Eventually, because of bouts with depression, people who have always been there may lose their patience and this might cause the person to fall further into the hole. There is no cure, medication is said to make it worse, so what is a person to do? End their life.
In simplistic terms, it feels like you are tired all the time. You are tired to fight your demons while at the same time, tired to look for the bright side of life because for a depressed person, there is no bright side. It’s like getting on a treadmill that never goes anywhere. There are good days, but often these good days are clouded with dark days. The dark days are the worst. You will never understand until you actually live in it.
Andrea Gibson describes it perfectly on her Facebook account, “Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. In light of that I’m gonna tell a secret. I think social media is often a lousy mortician, desperately trying to make us all look more alive, and my online persona has historically had trouble telling the truth. Meaning, I don’t post on my bad days. On my bad days I cry and quit and give-up and throw tantrums and then a few days later, when I’m feeling a bit better, I post a photo of myself doing a handstand on the beach. I only understand some of why it feels healing for me to speak directly to depression and anxiety and suicidality within the context of my poetry, when it is still a challenge for me to speak to it outside of the container of art. Thank God for art for that reason. But also, I’d like to be more invested in telling the truth, even when it stirs up my vulnerability and my terror and my shame. We are a culture that shames people who tell us they are hurting, so people don’t tell us they are hurting, and we lose them to that silence. I have lost too many people to that silence. So here is a photo of my couch. It looks nothing like the beach. I’ll never do a handstand on it. Somedays I just lay here and cry.”
Suicide can no longer be taken lightly or worse, jokingly. According to a study given by the World Health Organization (WHO) over 800,000 people die by suicide each year all around the world. What’s even more alarming is the fact that suicide is high among the 15-29 and the 70+ age groups. While suicide may be credited to mental health problems, it’s not limited to just a single factor.
Most people don’t want to hear about the dark days of other people this is the reason why people shut others out. But social isolation is one of the leading causes of suicide. So don’t take a friend who’s been talking about ending their life, lightly. Don’t ignore a friend who’s been in the dark. Even the ones who seem to “have it together” never really do.
Prevent suicide today. Pick up the phone, call a friend. Maybe that very phone call could save his/her life.