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 Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Depression Is A Balancing Act That Is And Isn't In Our Control

Managing depression can sometimes feel overwhelming.

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*Warning: Before reading any further is that this article will be talking about heavy topics such as depression and suicide.*

Depression in this day and age is a very sticky topic to talk about. Yes, we are becoming more aware and accepting of the issue, but we still have a long ways to go in terms of really know how we can be there for people in a way that's most effective and where they don't feel judged because of it.

I have dealt with depression most of my life and especially going through college. It didn't become a big thing for me till I came to college, and then having to navigate my issue of it. Whether that's talking about it friends vaguely about it, bottling it all in, going for professional help, etc. It's one of the many reasons why I'm afraid of meeting someone new, or wanting to be in a relationship, I was afraid of the judgment and feeling that if I told someone they either might not want to do anything with me, say it's too much for them, etc.

Now some of those fears, in my opinion, were unjustified in a sense that yes even though it is important for people to be there for me in my time of need, I need to be conscious of how much I share and whether they can take that piece of me I shared. It's a balancing act that is hard to manage, but it allows me for a much-needed look into myself of what actually makes me happy, what doesn't, what triggers my depression and going out of my way to make sure I don't let it take control of me.

The depression took me to places, very dark places that I'm happy to have push through, with my depression it made my thoughts go into suicidal ideation, and even hurting myself, an act that I never thought I would ever do but thankfully I had people in my life that helped me overcome that and going to talk to a professional.

Depression is a mental health issue that most everyone struggles with regardless of where they're at in life, it can come like a tidal wave, or not at all. It's an internal struggle with ourselves, and we do our best trying to get through it. I know that I'm not alone in this, and if you're reading this you're not alone either.

Don't be afraid to talk about it, but be mindful of other people and how much you can share in order for them to be able to process it, go for professional help, exercise, hang out with friends. Don't let depression fully control your life, it won't go away but if we can manage it in a way that helps us be able to keep it under control then that's a win.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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