Saturday, 17 November 2012

Back From The Other Side (Guest Post)

I have the distinction of being among a small class of people alive today: I was a successful suicide.

At the age of 17, in the grip of a prolonged bout of mental illness - which still plagues me to this day, though it is diagnosed, better managed, and well-medicated - I overdosed on over-the-counter sleeping tablets. My father called an ambulance, I was rushed to the emergency room, and promptly died. This was Halloween evening, 1993.

For 3 minutes and 54 seconds I was dead, and on the "other side." I'll spare you what was seen - those of us who have been dead don't talk much about it with you mortals. A) You wouldn't believe us, and B) What you see when your time comes will be different anyway. It's different for everyone.

Due to a group of very tenacious doctors (probably the only competent ones at that particular hospital, as their reputation is most foul), I came back from the dead. Of course, I wasn't happy about it. Firstly, I had failed at my goal, and secondly, the ER nurse cut off my favorite Metallica shirt in order to shock my heart (and break my ribs, by the way - those paddles are NOT gentle).

At the same time, a seven year old boy whose mother had been driving drunk was rushed in and was on the next table over. I awoke to the mother screaming and being hauled off my the cops; he was dead. Should have been me. He should have had the competent doctors.

Teen suicide is a fact of life. All suicide is. Whether attributed to hormonal or chemical imbalance (like me), or serious life circumstances/trauma, there will always be people who choose to take their own lives. And make no mistake: It is a concious choice. No matter how dire things are, nothing can force you to take that final escape route.

Of late, the topic of teen suicide has dominated the papers. A year ago it was gay kids who were getting all the press with the tedious and exclusionary "It Gets Better" campaign. Someone not paying much attention would be apt to believe that only gay kids felt suicidal, that straight kids never had any problems, and that frankly only the little Glee devotees mattered. It was affirmative action for gay suicides. Rubbish!

Then they expanded things to include bullied gay kids. Because after all, no fat kids, poor kids, nerdy kids, minority kids or kids with braces on their teeth were ever bullied, ever, unless they were gay. Right?

This year, bullied kids of all sexual persuasions are the hot topic of the suicide fetishists. A story out of British Columbia, Canada back in October made international headlines. A pretty 15 year old cheerleader named Amanda Todd killed herself after dirty pics of her surfaced online. Stupid, I know, but teenagers are supposed to be stupid. It's their job. Deceased  Amanda became a poster child for all that's wrong about teen bullying. Dead, she became popular.

I flipped out, for so many reasons. The main reason being the time-honored journalistic taboo on suicide: Don't talk about it for fear of glorifying it to others. There are several studies showing the phenomenon of "cluster suicides" among teens, where the act becomes contagious. The press doesn't not talk about suicide because it's dirty - they don't talk about it because it's contagious. Making Amanda Todd a hero in death will lead other kids to think killing themselves is the only way to be loved and accepted.

The other reason I became angry is because Amanda Todd felt alone in life. She was alone and unloved, so she took her own life. Suddenly the whole world was holding candlelight vigils and hug-a-thons in her name. Bullshit! Where were all these bleeding hearts when the kid needed help? Where were all the so-called friends?

Chances are, even if you've never had suicidal ideation yourself, someone you know has. Someone close to you. Do you want them surrounded with images of a dead person who suddenly become popular for no other reason than they topped themselves? Or do you instead want them surrounded with love?

I'm not saying to completely ignore the scourge of suicide - teen or otherwise. Just don't glorify it. Love the people you love today, not when they're dead.
This post was written by SalaciousSully

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I think suicidal thoughts are completely normal and experienced by a higher proportion of the population than will admit it. Maybe if we admitted it more often, it would be a subject we could debate less emotively.