the silence around being suicidal
April 5, 2016
(My bro requested that I repost this series of tweets from a while back. TW: for suicide discussion.)
oh! i remember. i was going to talk about suicide and silence.
was talking with a friend yesterday and i asked them about some of their recents post re: being suicidal.
they mentioned that a lot of ppl don’t directly ask about that. maybe be vague ‘are you ok?’
its interesting to me how even ppl who are familiar with disability justice don’t want to talk about suicide.
i know when i was really bad last year and would tell ppl about being super suicidal they’d just…
kind of pretend like i hadn’t said anything. this pervasive silence around suicide is weird to me.
like. if i’m sad, people will ask me about that. if i want to die? nope.
and like it makes it seem like being suicidal is this… generic, monolithic experience.
but… there are shades and degrees of suicidality. shades and degrees to wanting to kill yourself.
yet no one really wants to discuss your feelings about it. about your experience.
with my friend i was literally like, ‘so ur suicidal, tell me how that’s going for you?’
too often people just respond with… tedious affirmations ‘i’d miss you’ ‘don’t kill yourself’ etc.
honestly? that kind of stuff has very little meaning to me when i’m at my worst.
as far as i can tell, its fairly rare for someone to be actively suicidal and Making Plans.
so it can actually be really useful and comforting to be able to talk about how your experiencing it.
but it also gives you a much, much better idea of how much in crisis your friends might be in.
not all declarations of ‘i’m suicidal’ need to be met with alarm and panic.
and you can find out if its an actual emergency by…. talking to your friends. not glossing over the feeling.
bc honestly? u know what makes being suicidal about 20x worse? feeling isolated and alone.
but also, if u’ve been institutionalised (like me), you worry that discussing it will put you back there.
really though. isolation is really REALLY far far worse than having an uncomfy talk with a loved one.
for myself, it being able to state openly and without shame ‘i’m really suicidal’ helped me not feel crazy.
but it was also a way for me to… connect and get some of the support so crucial during these times.
like… when its really bad. you can spend all day and most of ur engergy trying to not kill yourself.
and when you can’t talk about it, makes you feel like you can’t claim that as the victory it is.
if suicidal bc depression, ppl will think ur lying in bed doing nothing. and u feel bad about it too.
but everyday that ur suicidal and don’t die? thats a real fucking accomplishment. its a job well done.
and everyone who does this should be able to proudly tell anyone that, hey, i haven’t killed myself.
not that i’m saying that people who do commit suicidal are ‘failures’. not at all.
i’m still proud that i accomplished my one goal of 2k15: not dying. it was a hard fucking year. and i’m still here.
i think part of the problem is that ppl always think they need to try and ‘solve’ your suicidality.
they don’t realize that you being there to talk about it means you’re winning.
and really. if someone does tell u that they’re suicidal? they really are reaching out and trying to connect.
not responding bc ur uncomfortable lets the person know that you aren’t there for them. not really.
its funny. bc i hope ppl realize that when we talk about destigmatizing mental illness… this includes being suicidal.
(note: i’m being careful not to restrict suicidality to any one diagnosis. there are many reasons why ppl feel like this. hrm. i think i’m winding down. anyway. let’s all start having more open discussions about being suicidal.
i think what gets me about the generic affirmations is that they treat suicidality like its somehow rational.
like all feelings, being suicidal isn’t really influenced by rational arguments.
its about as useful as when you tell an angry person to just stop beig angry. feelings don’t really work like that.
also sidenote: its actually comforting to discuss a loved one’s suicidality bc it lets me have proportionate worry.
like. obviously, i always worry when my friends are suicidal. but talking to them really helps me too.
i really do think ppl underestimate how helpful it is just to have someone listen and witness your experience.
and i do get it. i mean… i’m a problem solver. when ppl tell me problems i’m like ‘lets analyze and find a solution’
but ppl don’t always need that. and sometimes thats actually harmful.