Today is International Suicide Awareness Day, and so I'm here in an Alabama Starbucks back from the mouth of hell, ABD and 3/8, embracing my status as a raging cliche, semi-academic blogger of posts, thinking about what it truly means to be aware (I promise to spare you the etymology).
Here, in bullet-point form, is my three point plan for better awareness for 1) people wanting to die 2) people trying to help them 3) people who've come through the desperate, suffocating night and remember again how fucking great it feels to want to live.
- If you feel like death is the only thing that will make anything better, I am not here to argue with you, at least not right away. Whatever the cause, your pain is legitimate and dreadful. It might not make sense to anyone else. Hell, it might not make sense to you, but it is just as real as a broken ankle or a bad flu. If you feel this way, you are NOT weak, and it's okay to say it aloud. I encourage you to tell someone, someone who will listen first and won't try to convince you that you shouldn't be feeling this.
REM "Everybody Hurts"-my embrace of cliche deepens.
- If someone you love is struggling to want to live, listen first and don't jump immediately into all the wonderful reasons to go on living. You are doubtless right about these things, but you're not likely to convince a suicidal mind to look on the bright side of life. Someone longing for death will not likely hear the love in your reasoning. "You have so much to live for" sounds like "you asshole, why are you so stupid that you can't see all you have to live for?". Try this instead: "Fuck, that sounds like a shitty thing to have to feel."
- If you've been suicidal and no longer are, say it. Embrace it, don't shrink from it in shame. You did something tremendously difficult and beat it. Pound your chest with pride, and help smash up the silence that keeps people gagging in breathless agony and solitude.