I Should Not Be Telling You To Stop Sensationalizing Suicide

I Should Not Be Telling You To Stop Sensationalizing Suicide

Part of the sign reads "Your life is a precious gift from your parents."
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Over any academic break, I build up a queue of topic ideas to avoid any potential writer's block down the road, but every now and then, a news story halts this schedule because I feel the need to write about it.

We are not even one week into 2018 and mental health is still treated as nothing more but a trend.

If you have not already heard, dumpster fire and YouTube "personality" Logan Paul, who began his rise to fame through the Vine app uploaded a video at the start of 2018 titled "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest..." This place, known as the Aokigahara forest heaves a dark history, hence its nickname as the Suicide Forest, and you would think that Logan Paul, before leaving for his trip, ran some Google searches on the place to educate himself. I gave him too much benefit of the doubt, and honestly, I wish I never ran across this video. I do not follow Logan Paul on any of his social media accounts. The only stories I hear about him are through friends or other YouTubers I watch, so when I read from one Twitter account of Logan Paul's latest video, I verified it through other people, who all expressed their disgust at his over 6 million viewed vlog before he took it down the next day.

I watched what I could bare of the video before it was gone, but several other users have reuploaded his vlog that reached the #2 and #20 spot in YouTube's trending videos, which is a problem of its own and content YouTube should have immediately flagged and deleted. The issue reaches past Logan Paul's actions, which are atrocious, disrespectful, and thoughtless beyond any comprehension. It is clear that Logan Paul's college education is not in the way of his ignorance. Both he and his just as awful younger brother Jake Paul are men made of noise. Logan Paul garners attention, he craves attention, and what better way to achieve this attention then journeying to the deep and dangerously romanticized Aokigahara forest (The Daily Mail described the forest as "hauntingly beautiful"). Western perceptions of the Aokigahara forest are already distorted enough with the whitewashed horror film The Forest featuring Natalie Dormer based on the real thing. Hollywood already fell for this horrorbait, and it is awful to see someone else do the same, someone with a following consisting of mostly young and impressionable adolescents. What other intention would Logan Paul have to visit the forest than to shock, sensationalize, amass an enormous amount of views, and reinforce these kinds of perceptions, especially as the stigma of mental health in the United States begins to slightly be lifted?

I don't care that the video was demonetized. I don't care that the face of the suicide victim was censored. I don't care that he asked for his fans not to defend him. I don't care for Logan Paul's apology. The fact that he decided it was okay to take a camera into the Aokigahara forest, film a dead man, question whether or not he was actually alive, use him as the thumbnail of his video, crack jokes during the fact, and have the audacity to tell his viewers to subscribe if they have not already makes me nauseous. Logan Paul and I are around the same age, but his complete lack of self awareness and maturity convinces me otherwise.

How dare you sensationalize the awful, tragic death of an individual who took his own life for your own viewer count. Did you know, Logan Paul, that local police forces conduct body sweeps in the forest during the holidays to find, remove, and hopefully identify any victims? Can you imagine the kind of emotional and mental sacrifices made by both the victim and law enforcement to enter the Aokigahara Forest knowing nothing good will come out of it? I know my words will never reach you, but I hope my message comes across to those feeling hurt, conflicted, and confused. To those reading this that suffer from any mental illness, I apologize that we still live in a world where your conditions are romanticized and made nothing more than clickbait, especially given the recent suicide of K-pop singer Jonghyun. As we continue into the depths of 2018, I can only hope more good comes out than evil.

Cover Image Credit: kelo on Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Some Of Us Need Suicidal Thoughts To Fuel Our Fight To Stay Alive

You're walking down a pier and you hope someone pulls you back to the sand.

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I have suicidal thoughts but I don't want to die. It's just like swimming underwater but coming back up for air. To be completely honest, I have attempted suicide, and I don't feel relieved or anything like that. I feel like it was a cry for help that people chose to ignore.

Many people say that suicide is selfish, but it isn't.

Like I said in an earlier article about Kate Spade, I described suicide as, "Some are too far down a path that doesn't allow you to turn around. I believe that everyone that suffers from depression is in a line, this line is headed towards a sea and you can't look up or around you because there is a heavy force weighing down your head. You are walking and walking until you finally feel your feet hitting a pier and you can either jump and end it all or you can hope to God the person behind you wraps their arms around you and brings you back. Kate didn't have anyone that could wrap their arms around her and bring her back to the sand. We could all learn a valuable lesson from Mrs. Spade, no matter how successful you are, mental illness doesn't avoid the well-off. But always remember, there are multiple people there to pull you back to the sand."

I had to claw for the people in my life to pull me back to the sand for months, it wasn't until a couple months into college I found that person.

Earlier I referenced that having suicidal thoughts but not wanting to die was kinda like swimming underwater but coming up for air. This comes from you feeling like you are drowning but you know that you will be able to surface soon and beat your thoughts. As soon as you break the water, you feel a sense of relief, however, that feeling can be temporary. Some people have felt like not coming up is going to be easier than surfacing, but I've seen both sides. I know it is easier to stay under and take a deep breath, but there are so many people that are there to pull you back to the sand when you feel you're most alone.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE STRUGGLING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND/OR TENDENCIES, REACH OUT IMMEDIATELY. NO ONE SHOULD GO THROUGH THIS ALONE. SUICIDE IS SERIOUS.

National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255 - available 24/7

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