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Why I'm No Longer Making Self-Deprecating Jokes About Feeling Suicidal

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Maybe it’s just me and my friends, but something I’ve noticed about some people with mental illnesses is we tend to partake in self-deprecating humor. Rather than facing the serious aspects of my depression, I’ll make jokes about the darkness and brush it off with a laugh. My friends and I all do.

“Oh, jeez, I have to wake up early tomorrow. I’m just going to go jump off a cliff now.”

“I have so much debt, I should just walk into the freeway – either I’ll be living large on the insurance money or I’ll be dead! Problem solved!”

I’ll find myself making these jokes about jumping off buildings or getting hit by a car or going into a coma, and what’s really not so funny about these jokes is I’m not sure how serious I am. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are no joke. Neither is suicide, and yet I say these things with a humorous intent, unsure of whether or not I’ll ever actually follow through on these supposedly empty words.

There are times where I’ll feel so empty or so miserable that death seems like the easy answer. There are times where I feel useless, unwanted, unloved, like a burden, embarrassed, and all I’ll want to do is disappear. There are times where I’m overwhelmed by adulthood and all its responsibilities – bills, debt, finding a job, dealing with more than just school and my latest TV obsession. I don’t know if I can handle it.

I need to stop, though. I think making jokes about dying is not the same as making jokes about smelling dirty because I haven’t showered in three days. There is a line I need to draw for myself.

My depression may take me to dark places and I may want to play it off as less serious than it really is, but making jokes about death when there are people who struggle daily with suicidal tendencies is not OK. My anxiety may make me feel like I’m a nuisance, but that doesn’t mean making a joke about jumping out the window is acceptable.

My self-deprecating/pseudo-suicidal jokes need to come to an end, and I apologize to anyone whom may have been offended. I’m trying to stop, and I know you are trying your best to face your own problems. I’m going to try harder for both me and for you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by Jupiter images

Originally published: February 7, 2017
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