So September is Suicide Prevention Month.
And people keep asking me to share Suicide memes.
There were two successful and two failed suicides in my circle in the past five years. Another failed suicide lives in my blood family.
I was one of the failed suicides.
I am also rather iconoclastic on the topic of suicide…I am a believer in euthanasia for terminal patients, for example, but not healthy teens.
I am not sure where I stand on issues such as severe depression – which is excruciatingly hard to treat, my family member has been treated for it for 30+ years using the latest things and has never gotten noticeably better, another friend is responding very well to medication…so that is a hard one. And any severe mental illness would fall into this category. As something I’d have to judge on a case by case basis.
I have two potentially terminal illnesses by the way – Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis/Lyme (as well as being autistic) so that is why I tried it all those years ago; that I am still here on this planet has to do with a highly individualized and complex process I do not yet fully understand.
Every person is different and has different social and medical needs.
So I would not feel right in sharing either
a) superficial meme posts that do not address any of the deeper issues but make the suicidal people into “things”, id est faceless units in some mass object labeled “suicide” and thus allowing sweeping general judgments that actually keep people from talking about their issues and their lives; and yes there is evidence that blanket condemnation and “You’re sick/crazy” posts do keep people from coming forth and seeking aid.
b) super TMI posts full of gory details that either teach someone how to commit suicide (intentionally or no) or are posted primarily for the purpose of seeking attention.
If you are suicidal, SEEK HELP. Go find someone to talk to. Anyone at all. Do it now and with the blessings of all of us who know where you are coming from.
If you are trying to prevent suicide – post actual information. Not memes. Post identifying symptoms of ideations. Post papers. Post book titles – the best fictional book, easier to read than a med journal, but post those, too – that I’ve ever read is called “Dogs of Babel.”
Volunteer on a help line. Or a text line. Or online (I’ve done this a few times, you can do it right from home).
But please don’t just share meme pictures or cartoons or other shallow things that can make the problem worse. Do not make people things, not “crazy”, not “sick”, not even “victims”. Those are faceless crowds with no voices and no rights.
If you want to prevent suicide, talk to the person. Respect them as human beings and treat them as individuals with specific needs.
So no I won’t share the one-off pictures/memes. Stop asking me.