You'll see the occasional tweet: "DM me if you ever need anything," but when your siblings, or friends are going through these issues, we won't even notice. // sarcastic referencing of depression, causes us to not understand the norm.
But then, we normalize jokes about these very issues.
If our ultimate goal is to eradicate the stigmas that surround these issues, and bring further attention to the subject, we must first start at the ground: our conversations. These jokes may be oversights, but they are more contradictory to our agenda than we know.
If someone is already in such a deteriorated state, it feeds into their delusions. Being suicidal is not simply the desire to not exist; it goes much deeper than that for some people: hallucinations, various self-harm tendencies, anxiety regarding a plethora of things. So when you say "kill yourself" you are effectively reinforcing a delusion that already exists in certain people's minds. When you say "I want to kill myself" you are making a joke out of someone else's miserable reality. No matter what happens, I will ask, and make sure that you are okay. But please be respectful of my courtesy.
The fact of the matter is, mental health issues are very real. And just as you would remain mindful of anything else that you deemed worthy of respect, treat this with that very same respect.
There is a difference between being humorous, and just completely insensitive. When you tell someone to "go check themselves into a mental hospital," I cannot begin to tell you how disrespectful that is. Behavioral healthcare facilities were created to cater to people who actually suffer from the seemingly invisible ailments that are laughed about. And the worst part of it is, that all of these jokes are made in response to some trivial ordeal.
"You don't like pineapples on pizza? Go check yourself into a mental hospital." When you read it all at once, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Some are lucky enough to remain unaffected by these jokes, but not everyone is! It is triggering for a lot of people, which is a fact that many aren't aware of, and why I wanted to slightly touch on this subject.
I myself am guilty of mindlessly retweeting and condoning very problematic statements, of being a part of a monolithic social media culture with problematic behaviors. We're so busy engaging in this meme culture, that we fail to acknowledge the damage that we have caused: the desensitization of a very important topic. Suicide is not something to joke about, but we let ourselves mock it.
Now, I understand using humor as a coping mechanism. While that may help some people, we must encourage an atmosphere where we can have serious discussions about suicide, depression, and other mental health struggles. We must be inclusive because not everyone wants to joke about what they are going through.
I have spent the past few years striving to be more open about my struggles; the things that I have witnessed, and experienced. So, when I hear a close friend of mine participate in these jokes, someone who I have bared my open wounds to, someone who knows well and full of every ounce of pain that I have endured and still continue to feel every single day, it is a stinging slap in my face. Shame on me for trusting anyone.
Death is not a subject that I take lightly. So unless you can start eliminating this subtle disrespect from your conversations, do not dare call yourselves an ally, much less my well-wisher.
Be aware of the words that come out of your mouths, and how they may affect the people around you. Your story is not the only narrative in this world. Open your eyes, and close your mouths.