As someone who struggles daily with symptoms and thoughts of depression and suicide, I find that there are easy days and there are hard days. Sometimes a hard day comes from something as simple as a comment. Today is one of those days. A super poor attempt at making a joke at someone else’s expense.
The lack of tact, understanding and insensitivity of some people who work in public service is quite disappointing. One does not simply understand mental illness because they have a loved one who suffers from symptoms of it. One does not simply understand thoughts of suicide because you come in to contact with some people throughout your day that may or may not have thought about it themselves.
A kid gets drunk and decides he wants to kill himself. He decides to take his car and run it full speed at a tree. Ultimately he fails at the suicide and survives. How shitty is someone who looks at this scenario and says, “well, there were bigger trees he could have ran in to.” Really? You just said that? Out loud? With words….from your mouth? Well, guess what…..there are more non-abusive ways of voicing your poor joke. I mean, yeah, there are better ways of everything. I mean, sometimes I literally think that a safety pin being dug deep into my wrist and carved along the vein will work. It doe not. But hey, you know everything about everyone because that little piece of paper in front of you tells all.
My response…..fuck you. Fuck you for thinking that making an attempt to “joke” about someone else’s situation is appropriate because you are in a room with a bunch of people that may get the “joke”. I got it. And it was not funny. Some statistics:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
- Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. (CDC)
- Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
- Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
- Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
- 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TAPS study)
- An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
- There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
- 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)
*statistics from www.save.org
So, just think about things. We all say things we do not mean at some point in our lives. Just understand your audience. Understand that just because you work, or even live with someone does not mean you know them. Trying to find out about them is more productive than jokes………and in some cases, safer.