How many of you have flippantly said “I could’ve DIED!”?
Or “I wanted to DIE!”?
Or even “I’d rather kill myself!”?
A LOT of you I’d wager.
Ok, now how many of you want to die?
How many of you have considered killing yourself?
Substantially less, yes?
Most of you are probably thinking ‘WOW this got dark really quickly and I want out’ and have already moved on to reading a think-piece on Kylie Jenner’s new lip-gloss. That’s fine. It IS heavy. It’s literally life and/or death.
A few months ago I was low. Deeply in a state of depression which I couldn’t shake. It seemed to last forever: it didn’t. It maybe lasted a month or so. It culminated in me walking home from work, crossing over a bridge and having a fleeting thought about jumping off. I didn’t. I went home and thought about why I thought jumping off a bridge would be in any way a fix or a ‘normal’ thought to have. I was sad, SO SAD, and angry. My partner talked to me. He asked what was wrong, he PUSHED. I was, I am, fine.
I eventually came out the other side and now I feel balanced and ‘OK’. I even feel happy. That’s fantastic and I am relishing it. But I know I will feel that low again. And again. That’s what depression does – it comes in spells; some last longer than others, some come and go as quickly as a selfish lover, some sadly don’t ever end; they just plateau.
In my short(ish) life, I’ve known someone who killed themself. It’s confusing and distressing and SO sad. They are young! They have their whole lives ahead of them! Repeat to fade. I’ve known people who have tried and failed; either through it not being a ‘genuine’ attempt (attention seeking?) or through poor planning, or just through not being able to follow it through.
There are countless reasons why someone would choose to end their own life. You don’t have to think it’s a ‘worthy’ one; your opinion doesn’t matter to someone who wants to die. You may call them ‘selfish’; but that’s because you don’t want to be left on earth without them. You don’t want to miss them and cry for them. You don’t want to be left without answers, or without having been the one to ‘save’ them.
I say this because I’ve felt it all. I’ve felt anger and frustration and deep unyielding sadness at someone I love not feeling ‘well’ enough to stick around. Feeling that death is a viable option. My fleeting ‘let’s jump off a bridge’ idea is wholly laughable to me now. Only because now I am mentally ‘better’ I can’t imagine wanting to end my existence through choice. I want to live and laugh and love and buy wall decals that say ‘LIVE LAUGH LOVE’. I want to kiss the man I adore until we are old and his beard goes grey. I want to smother my dog and cats with love until they beg for mercy. (Full disclosure: I do that already).
I guess I’m trying to say we shouldn’t judge someone based on our own fears and insecurities. We should learn to take mental-health seriously and listen when someone tries to open up to us. Don’t get angry and shout when someone tells you they are unhappy; they might not have a ‘reason’ they might just feel sad. It’s YOU that wants a reason for unhappiness so you can fix it. But depression doesn’t work that way. It just ‘is’.
So you can say “I’d rather die!” if you want, I do when I come across an article about Kylie Jenner’s lip-gloss; just remember that when someone says it to you in earnest, take them seriously. I can do better at that. We can all do better. You might just save someone’s life.