What Didn't Help Me When I Googled 'Why Shouldn’t I Kill Myself?'
Not so long ago, I walked away from a busy metro station after a Saturday night with one of my best friends.
To him, it was the same routine we’d become accustomed to after a dozen years of friendship.
I had gotten so good at pretending I was OK. There were no outward signs of my intentions that night, but I had determined it would be my last one.
Sparing the gory details of the logistics of my attempt itself, the process wasn’t what it had been billed to be.
I had spent months researching, scouring the internet trying to find the easiest and most painless way to end my suffering.
I found plenty of information on how, but very little significant and honest information on why I shouldn’t do it.
On days I could muster up the courage to keep fighting, I’d search for answers to questions like “why shouldn’t I kill myself?”
The top results of my search were websites telling me I shouldn’t do it because “more Harry Potter books might come out” or that Justin Bieber would release some new music.
I was in deep pain and I was looking for legitimate answers as to why I should hang on.
The superficial reasons strangers provided online weren’t enough, and I decided if nobody could give me a satisfactory answer, I’d follow through with my plan.
In fact, I had searched so deeply, I reached the dark corners of the internet that gave me access to sites encouraging me to follow through with my plan.
Let me be clear for those of you who have searched to that point – there is nothing appealing or exciting about a suicide attempt.
Within seconds, and way more quickly than any account I had read, I lost consciousness.
There was no life flashing before my eyes, or bright lights, or seeing loved ones.
It wasn’t freeing or peaceful or romantic.
There was no pain.
I was out cold quick, and seconds later, I was jolted back to life as my body’s fight-or-flight reflex overpowered my mind’s desire to be dead.
In a panic, I somehow found my bearings, and I survived.
Mental illness is awful. I was lucky.
I was also moments away from being dead.
I’m healthier now, and I feel it’s important to let people who are where I was know there is hope.
That hope doesn’t come in the form of politically correct language or treading lightly as to not use words that might offend somebody.
Getting through to me took ugly and brutal honesty. It took me taking a hard look at myself before I could begin my journey to recovery.
I believe advocacy shouldn’t be about making sure we’re framing words in a way that won’t offend somebody.
When someone is in dire straits, the language you use is far less important than your message. Your phrasing less important than your intention.
Quite frankly, as someone desperate enough to have formulated a plan to end my life, I wasn’t swayed by politically correct phrasing.
Focusing on language allows for some really articulate but terrible people to slip through the cracks because they’re smart enough to use words that aren’t offensive.
I’d rather listen to the people who’ve been there before, who understand that it doesn’t matter if you say somebody committed suicide, or ended his life, or killed himself.
Lives are being lost, and we’re worried about not offending people.
We’re so quick to express outrage when people turn a phrase in a way we don’t like.
Good people trying to do good things have been crushed on Twitter because of the words they’ve used rather than the actions they’re taking.
There’s certainly a place in the advocacy game for folks who want to reframe the language others use, and we should respect that. It’s just not in the trenches.
Those of us who need help are looking for help, not semantics.
Doing that discourages dialogue because people are so afraid of saying the wrong thing.
We have to stop eating our own.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.
Follow this journey on Dad; diagnosed.
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