My weekends are generally spent in a recurring cycle of inebriation, recrimination, and suicidal ideation.
I do this all the time without the recrimination. I just fake recrimination when someone calls me on the suicidal ideation — normally, I blame it on inebriation, as though my drunken fantasies of finally blowing the back of my head off only happen when I’m drunk.
Oops! Sorry, yeah, I’m drunk now. I don’t normally wonder about suicide unless I’m drunk! Swear!
I can’t tell who is joking here and who is being serious, but I think now might be a good time to remind everyone that suicide is about a dead body. I get that it’s often a punch line for ironic hipsters or too-cool fashion designers or self-styled auteurs who brag about having “mild depression” without acknolwedging that there’s anything worrisome about it or that treatment might be a good idea or NYT writers going for a glamorized lede instead of, say, describing how a dead body looks and feels after someone has hung or shot themselves, or jumped from a highway overpass or a bridge or whatnot. I know. Brains on pavement! Rigor mortis! So glam. But just think for a moment how crushingly terrible and despairing and hopeless and trapped and joyless and unloved and alone you must feel to actually take your own life. It’s also no picnic for those left behind to find the body and deal with the guilt. Just FYI.
So! In the spirit of providing a wee reality check, here are some facts on depression from the National Institute of Mental Health, and here’s a great charity that cares for people with mental health issues: NARSAD, the world’s leading charity for mental health research. Donate here. Here’s SAVE - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. Donate here. Here’s a terrific support group (Canadian) - Bereaved Families. That little shadow on the graphic says it all. The U.S. counterpart - Bereaved Parents of the USA (though I don’t love that it leaves out siblings - some resources on that front here).
I was a little worried that I might be being too harsh here (sorry Balk and Megan - not personal obvs) but then I ran it by a friend who said “You have no idea how many people out there very much need to read that.” So, I am posting.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Ideation (thinking, talking or wishing about suicide)
- Substance use or abuse (increased use or change in substance)
- Puposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
- Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
- Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
- Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
- Anxiety (restlessness, irritability, agitation)
- Recklessness (high risk-taking behavior)
- Mood disturbance (dramatic changes in mood)
Additional Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about suicide.
- Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
- Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
- Preoccupation with death.
- Suddenly happier, calmer.
- Loss of interest in things one cares about.
- Visiting or calling people one cares about.
- Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order.
- Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.