How you talk about suicide does make a difference.
By Katharine Fountain.
“I am hesitant to post this, but I am going to because it matters to me and affects how I feel on a daily basis.
I have a request to make.
First, let me say that I am by no means perfect – when I was an early teen my brother told me not to use words such as ‘gay’ and ‘retarded’ (and I’m sure you can name many others) as adjectives. I took this lesson seriously, and although I will admit that I have slipped up before – I have managed to eliminate words such as these from my daily vocabulary and I am proud of that. These words offend people.
How does this relate to what I am asking? Because I have something that I wish for people to stop saying to me, and in general. Let me explain. It’s finals – a stressful time I know, it sucks and you just want it to end. But when you tell me that you are “going to kill yourself”, when you say that you are going to “throw yourself off a bridge”, when you make a gun with your hand and point it at your head – because you have so much shit to do and you’re really stressed – and then you laugh. Know that this makes me feel fucking terrible, and that I will never laugh with you.
Suicide, simply put isn’t funny. And when you say these things to me you are stirring up some of the most horrifying and disturbing memories that exist in my world. I’m not mad at anyone – I’ve met a lot of new people lately that don’t know, and I know that my friends never intend to hurt me. It’s a “common expression” if you will. But truth be told, when people talk like this it upsets me and it upsets me every single time. This is because my older brother died by suicide when he was 20 years old in 2009 and I fucking hate it. And when you say those things, in my head you are making a joke out of it. This person told me not to use expressions like ‘thats so gay’ because I could be offending someone, and that it’s just not right. I’m asking you to stop making suicide jokes to express how stressed out you are because quite frankly, they offend me.”