TW: Suicide

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of suicide and the mentality of the suicidally depressed since the news about the exploitative vlogger disrespecting Aokigahara came out.

I ranted a bit on twitter about it in the moment, because at the time I had been so filled with anger it just sort of vomited out of me. Having taken some time to really mull over these thoughts and articulate them better… At least I hope

We have a common problem when dealing with mental illness, of looking at it from the mind-set of a healthy place and making our judgements there.

We cannot help people without empathy, and you cannot empathize with someone struggling from suicidal ideation with regular logic. You cannot apply your outside-looking-in thinking to someone inside depression.

Depression lies to you. It lies so well and so much.

Which is why you can’t scare or shock a person dealing with ideation out of being suicidal by showing them a dead body. That’s how you shock someone who WANTS to live. That won’t help here.

People who’ve struggled with ideation know what dead bodies look like. Being confronted with the dead isn’t what stops the suicidal from being suicidal. People dealing with ideation aren’t scared of being dead, they long for it. That’s what being suicidal means. Wanting that peace, being out of the anxiety of existing, getting to rest.

The living… THAT is what gives the suicidal pause.

Not living with the people you love. Not getting to see them every day, not being around, knowing on some level you are going to hurt them.

It’s when depression has snuffed those thoughts out… that it wins.

When we have convinced ourselves it would be better on those we love, if we were not around. That we are doing them a favor.

That’s why I get so frustrated when anyone says suicide is the most selfish act a person can do. It denotes a complete lack of understanding of that person’s pain. Because to that person. Depression has convinced them that it is the most SELFLESS thing they could do.

I don’t want you to know what that place feels like first-hand, because it’s not an easy edge to walk away from. But I need you to try to understand from that point of view. We cannot help people struggling with mental illness without empathy, and you cannot help someone through that darkness without realizing they will not be using your logic.

You have clearer vision on the outside. And some people, will be able to acknowledge that. But a lot of people? That Depression has been lying to their brain for so long, they’re convinced the best thing they can do for you–the most loving thing they can do for everyone–is to go away.

No matter how untrue that is.

I walked away from that edge because I saw the absolute devastation my brother’s death left in its wake. The sobs and wailing from my sister on the way to the graveyard, the look in my parents’ eyes. The tremors we still feel today. The discomfort of going out to eat and remembering we’re a family of 4 now, not 5.

You don’t get used to it. People don’t get used to it.

I’ve got a bullet wound that never fully stops bleeding. You get distracted, and you don’t think about it all the time, but then out of the blue, I remember, ‘My brother genuinely thought the world would be a better place without him. That we would be better without him’.

And it hurts again.

Everyone is different, and everyone has different motives, so I don’t want to make a sweeping generalization here… But I have seen an uncomfortable trend with addressing those dealing with mental illness and suicidal ideation with the logic of being on the outside looking in.

And you can’t do that. That’s not empathy. And it won’t help anyone.

5 thoughts on “TW: Suicide”

  1. Thank-you for this. When I did volunteer EMS, our instructors told us we had to remember to think in “patient logic”; for the patient there was a logical progression that brought them to the point where we were called, that didn’t necessarily make any sense to someone on the outside. Remembering that helped us treat the patients with respect and empathy.

  2. I’ve had these feelings before too. When I was a teenager I had decided to jump off a bridge because I felt so alone in the world, and the problems in my life felt like they were crushing me. Even now I’ve thought about it. I’m 46 years old and probably never will have the family I’ve always wanted. I had heart surgery a year ago, where all the doctors and nurses said the surgery “saved” my life. Sometimes I feel that there is no purpose in this life for me and I just want the loneliness to end. Then I try to remind myself I do have friends, and my mom and sisters, if I did take the easy way out, they would be hurt, and I wouldn’t be there to help them anymore. Mabee they don’t need me, but there have been times they needed someone, and I hope by being there, I helped. I’m not a religious man, but if there is some kind of evil in this world that pushes you to bring pain to others or wants you to take yourself out of this world. You just have to say”I’m not going to give it the satisfaction” and just keep pushing through the pain. If you keep pushing long enough, you might just push through it.

    1. I’m very glad you found a way to step back from that edge. I’ve been feeling pretty lost lately because a lot of times, things don’t turn out how we plan. And I’m finding… maybe that’s okay? I’ve been learning a lot being a bit lost. Finding new things to pursue, new happiness moments. I’m sort of rambling here, so I apologize for that.

      But my point is, I’m grateful you stepped back from that ledge. And we’re both going to be okay.

  3. Thank you for your thoughts on this issue. I like to think that empathizing is easy for me, but that may just be wishful thinking. I can’t help but pick up on general “moods” of the people/places I’m around (which may or may not be a good thing), but understanding the mindset of the suicidal is something else entirely.
    But the way you described it, damn. That makes a lot of tragic sense. Thanks for helping change the way I look at those who are hurting. And I’m glad you walked away from that edge, Kiri.
    ~Lewis

  4. Thanks Kiri, you are a wonderful person. I just saw your video on YouTube that says it was published today. My heart always goes out to you when I see a video of you in a flustered state. Wish I could just give you a big hug. If your schedule is getting too much to bare, take a vacation from it, I’m sure your followers will understand, alternatively throwing yourself into your work can also be a benefit sometimes, just try to gauge what you need and don’t overdo. Honestly I would like to help any way I can.
    If you needed to talk I would be happy to give you my number. I hope things get easier for you, try not to burn yourself out. Take care.

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