Suicide Scapegoating

So many messages these days telling people who are struggling to reach out. Fair enough, but part of what depression does is it mutes your ability to reach. If you are NOT depressed and you see someone struggling, YOU reach out. If you don’t see someone who used to be around, YOU reach out. ~Caissie St. Onge

Sometimes synchronicity still amazes me.

I saw this in a word porn meme today on Facebook. For a few days now I’ve been thinking about how to put into words my thoughts around all those copy and paste posts about ‘put this on your status for 1 hour. If you feel like you might hurt yourself please call me. My phone is always on. My door is always open….” and the suicide prevention hotline.

I myself have made posts after reading yet another notice of someone dying by suicide, stating that I would be available in any capacity to help.

Here’s the problem.

No one wants to announce they are feeling suicidal. The very conditions that exist to create suicidal ideation are rooted in the foundation of isolation, shame and secrecy. It is truly the darkest time of an individual’s life and that does not make for the opportunity of change to suddenly ‘do something different’ and reach out.

YOU are going to have to be a better friend/relative than that. YOU are going to have to hear, “I need help” in other phrases like, “I feel overwhelmed”, “I’m at my wit’s end”, “I’m at the end of my rope”, “I don’t know what else to do”, “I can’t do this anymore”, “I feel hopeless”, “I feel helpless”, “I’m tired” and “I just can’t anymore.” And so so so many more.

YOU have to do your due diligence. Not saying you are responsible for the outcomes, but we can’t put MORE pressure on those who are already overwhelmed. Most of us can identify with the phrase “it is so hard for me to ask for help”, so we must understand that it would be 1000% more difficult to ask for help regarding suicidal feelings than say to borrow $1,000 or any other favor for that matter.

Sad to say, but I really just think all these ‘you can call me’ messages are attempts to make ourselves feel better about suicide and in some ways scapegoat the suicidal person by taking ourselves off the hook. “I did my part, I’m available.’

But are you? How do you respond when someone shares they are going through a hard time? Do you allow them space to share their deepest emotions and experiences? Or do you take the opportunity then to share your own current struggles and take the focus off them to yourself?
Do you offer support and empathy? Or do you tell them not to feel bad, because you have it worse?

Do you offer real help, like taking something off their to do list? Paying a bill for them? Watching their kids? Offering to accompany them to an appointment? Offering to take them to lunch? Offering any part of yourself that is not adding to their burdens????

While we each are ultimately responsible for our own actions, we cannot sit idly by as spectators with our eyes closed and hands over our ears posting “if you need me, I’m here.” Cuz you’re not.

We need to be better at being good human BEINGS.

I love you.


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