A few weeks ago at work, one of my colleagues was dealing with a particularly difficult customer. After that customer left our store, she made the comment that she was just ducking out the back to slit her throat.
A couple days ago a woman in the line at the supermarket wasn’t too happy with how busy it was and said something along the lines of “Just kill me now!”
I recently overheard a couple discussing the suicide of a young girl overseas. One made a remark about how her family had no right to be upset. That the girl was selfish and the family has noone to blame but themselves for what happened.
Today I sat through an insurance training course and listened to everyone discuss how often someone purposefully took out life insurance just for the fact that there would be a payout once they topped themselves.
All of these moments and other moments like them take my breath away everytime. Like a sucker punch to the guts. Winding me temporarily.
We are so unaware of our language. I’m sure I was guilty of the same in the past. I am probably guilty of it now still.
It is so easy to joke about suicide. About dying to solve your minor problems. Easy to blame this and that. Easy to accuse those who commit suicide of being selfish and silly; until it touches your life. Until it becomes your life and takes over.
When that happens the reality hits you like a tonne of bricks. You quickly discover that there isn’t one single thing that is funny about suicide. There aren’t any straightforward answers. Just the word brings a sinking feeling.
I spend most of my days dodging triggers. Getting through life as best I can when everyday I’m reminded of the devestating loss, the unimaginable grief that remains after losing a loved one to suicide.
Everyday is spent lying to those who ask me how I am. “Good” is the stock standard and acceptable response because those people that ask don’t want to know that my day sucked. That I feel like running away and breaking down. They don’t want to know the truth and unless they have been through something similar, they wouldn’t know how to respond if I told them.
Survivors of suicide loss are everywhere. And we look and act just like anyone else. There isn’t anything funny about the loss we are learning to live with. There isn’t anything you can tell me that I haven’t already heard and when you talk to me about how you think suicide is selfish and say things like “why didn’t anyone care enough about them to realise?” I feel like smashing your ignorant mouth shut.
Lets all think about the words we choose to use in our everyday lives. Stop to think how your words are going to affect the person you are talking to. You don’t know their story. For all you know they could be planning to walk out the door and in front of a bus. Stop treating suicide like a joke or the solution to a fleeting moment of frustration and start treating it like the serious issue that it is. New Zealand’s suicide rate is the highest it’s ever been and the impact to those left behind is earth shattering.
There are triggers everywhere and we deal with and avoid them all day, everyday. On particularly bad days, like today, I would like to crawl into bed and stay there for a week. That’s a burden my shoulders can only carry so much of before my knees buckle. So please be careful with your words. Be mindful of your comments because you don’t know the stories of those who are listening.