When joking around with your friends, often times it is easy to allow jokes to get carried away without even realizing it. I'm sure we've all been in a situation where you hear about someone struggling with a minor inconvenience and they react with an expression somewhere along the lines of "kill myself"... Now I'm not going to lie and say I have never uttered that phrase without a second thought, but as I've matured, I realize now the impact this phrase can have on somebody.
Now I know what you're thinking: 'this generation is too damn sensitive'. I completely agree most things we millennials complain about are ridiculous, but we must also remember that compassion for others is paramount. Think about being in a very happy loving relationship, and one day it ends. This separation drains you and breaks your heart. Now imagine right after this breakup, all you see is happy couples together and little reminders of the feelings you once had. It can be a painful reminder and make you not want to see anything related to love for a long time. This situation carries a similar effect of this seemingly light-hearted phrase, only it is an agonizing reminder of the person you can never get back in your life.
To most of us, this can easily just be another exaggerated phrase to explain how first world our problems seem, but to someone who has dealt with the loss of someone close to them, especially to suicide, this can trigger a gut-wrenching remembrance of the pain.
I'll be the first to admit I have thrown this term around over stupid things like failing a test or being publicly embarrassed. But after facing the death of a friend this past year, knowing that their problems were so daunting that ending everything was the only solution to ease the pain, changed it all for me. It wasn't until I was around somebody who told another person to "kill themselves" because they said something foolish, that it hit me. I remember feeling my stomach drop as they laughed unknowingly.
Losing somebody is hard enough, but to know they struggled in the dark so deeply and nobody could help makes it that much harder to cope with. These are the thoughts that crossed my mind when I lost a childhood friend of mine. This was the last path I would have anticipated his life would have taken. Which only validates the fact that you truly never know what someone can be battling internally. To anyone, suicide is a scary thought, but being directly affected by it is a whole different level of pain and frustration.
Maybe you have never experienced the loss of someone in this way, making the joke all the more playful. But you never know what someone may be thinking, or who someone around you may have lost. With this being said, I encourage anybody reading this to be mindful of your words and who you are around. You never know how the punchline of your joke may affect those around you.