Well, the year has just blown by, hasn’t it? It seems like yesterday that we were putting up the World Suicide Prevention Day decorations, sending World Suicide Prevention Day cards and braving the lines of last minute World Suicide Prevention Day shoppers. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, where we all get together and convince the world to keep on orbiting around the sun for another year.
No, seriously — I just found out that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. That’s only because I follow the American Psychiatric Association’s Facebook page. However, I know all about Miley Cyrus’s tongue gymnastics on the MTV Video Music Awards from television, newspapers and just about every website imaginable. Perhaps mainstream media needs to get their priorities in order.
There have been some celebrities that have committed suicide in the past year. And yet that doesn’t seem to stir up much interest in mainstream media. When Kurt Cobain killed himself, there was a lot of suicide prevention articles or features in news outlets. And yet nearly 20 years later, there’s not very much out there.
Perhaps they all want us to die. Well, SCREW ‘EM! Stay alive and mess up their plans.
Now, granted, thinking in extremes (“I never get ANYTHING right”) can affect our mental health. But let’s be realistic here. You don’t want to swing to the other extreme (“I ALWAYS get things right!”) You want to keep things in their proper perspective. (“Sometimes I’m right — sometimes I’m wrong.”)
Part of the problem of depression or mental illness is that it skewers your perceptions. You cannot truly see what is right in front of your face. It takes time (and often a combination of medications and therapy) to truly perceive what is going on about you and not what you FEAR is going on around you.
And you know what? Much of the time, real life does indeed suck donkey balls. Being able to perceive when it really does and when it doesn’t is a big step forward in your mental health. If something upsets you, don’t try to cover it up with positive thoughts. Be upset. But if something does not upset you, don’t look for reasons to make it upset you. That’s a big difference.
Any well-meaning friends who talk on and on and on about “be the change you want to be” and “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” can wind up making you feel worse. Tell them to shut up (if you can safely get away with it). You’ll feel better. Trust me.
The most famous mentally ill artist in history was arguably Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890.) At the age of 37, Vincent staggered into the hotel he was staying over a café with a bullet wound in his abdomen. He was examined by a doctor. The bullet could not be removed without killing Vincent. He lingered for two days and died. He claimed he harmed himself and urged no one other than himself to be blamed for his death. It is possible that he was shot by a teenaged boy, but Vincent apparently wanted to die anyway.
Although the historical details in this very short independent film are debatable, I’m not highlighting it here for it’s accuracy. It is a very good portrayal of someone who has decided to die. If you or someone you know has trouble understanding why anyone would want to kill themselves or want to die while relatively young, watch this. It gives a good view of why suicide can seem like a perfect solution and why preventing suicide can be so difficult.
Leave it to the Brits to keep tabs on how many people who are mentally ill become homicidal and then compare these figures to the number of suicides. In the UK, if you try to kill yourself, you are considered mentally ill.
There were only 33 homicides caused by mentally ill patients in 2010, the lowest number in a decade. However, suicides rose to 1,333. Suicide numbers also rose in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The most popular method of suicide was hanging. The rise in suicide numbers is attributed to two things:
- rise in England’s overall population
- worsening economic situation after worldwide recession of 2008
The report was put together by the University of Manchester and published in the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI). This report is done every year.
Schizophrenics were the main murderers in the report, being responsible for 22 of the 33 confirmed murders by mentally ill patients.
The report also estimates that around 200 to 300 mentally ill patients did not commit suicide because they got help or were forced to get help from concerned loved ones.
Suicide in this case is considered separate from euthanasia.
I tried to find similar numbers of homicides caused by the mentally ill for America, but could not. I did find out that, according to The Atlantic, anyway, that the mentally ill are five times more likely to be homicide victims. Man, mentally ill patients just can’t get a break.
If a friend or other loved one ever threatens to commit suicide, take it seriously. You know if your friend is joking or not. I’m not saying that you have to call emergency services if your friend makes a joke about suicide or laughs while reading a Darwin Awards book. If your friend is serious (even seriously angry) it’s best to contact outside help to make sure your friend will not carry through on his or her threat.
I’ve been dealing with mental illness since the womb and writing about it for money since 2006. I’m not an expert, but after researching and writing hundreds of articles about mental illness, psychopaths, addictions, phobias and manias, I can honestly say that I’ve never come across a normal person. I’ve never met one, never heard about one and certainly never found one in my research.
Now, I have read about people behaving within normal parameters for certain situations. For example, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb if I state that the usual reaction to having to eat another human being is, “EEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW.” It would be abnormal to say, “Praise the Lord and pass the sauce.” However, people who do not want to eat other people are not necessarily normal in every aspect. They could all have some sort of mental illness.
So, if you are telling yourself that you are better off dead because you are not normal, there doesn’t seem to be any proof to back up that claim. It seems being abnormal is… well… normal.