I would think about suicide often, with a morbidly intense curiosity, never with the ability to carry out any plans. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the day after the act, thinking of what I would be doing. My misconceptions of death were my driving interest, pivotal to understanding the finality associated with death which I clearly didn’t comprehend. I started to think of suicide at 7 years old, not in any strong capacity, a more unhealthy preoccupation about something I didn’t understand. Death scared me, the thoughts kept me up late at night; I would always think “what if I wasn’t around? Would things be better? Would I be better off?”.
A child is given the simple idea that when people die they go to ‘sleep’, they look asleep and as far as their parents are concerned the pets went to ‘sleep’ when they were put down. Early on we are given these ideas, fragmented concepts that hide actual truths. All through my school life my preoccupation was present, not always in the forefront of my thoughts, but always present none the less. In my mind I doubt I would ever have the nerve to carry out the act, the thought of blood stilling or hearts stopping makes me recoil away, intentional death becomes a monstrous act. It’s a monstrous act because most intentional acts of death are forms of violence and anger, sometimes premeditated or acts of manslaughter. Society negates death in such a light that even for ethical reasons it will always be frowned upon.
I write this after successfully drinking a bottle of red wine and finding out that a work colleague had opening tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions, publicised in our local paper about the realness of teen suicide and awareness. It made me wonder if I was just like her, except I wasn’t, I might be more sadistic and morbid, but I had no intentions, my suicide ponderings were not only during depression but also during times of great happiness in my life. I start to question why a person who is happy actually contemplates suicide on a regular basis. No person can adequately contrast their personal experiences or their inner turmoils, each individual is innately different with how they interpret and experience life as a whole. I start to wonder if this is a normal state for people or am I outside the norm without realising it, can it simply be that the norm is whatever a person wants to make it, what is normal for one person isn’t always normal for another.
I’m starting to question my own mental health awareness advocacy, I want people to be aware, but what they do with that information is entirely up to the person. It’s strange that I actually frowned the whole time of was reading my colleagues article, whose work pretence was good I will admit, but does admitting mental illness to a wider audience actually help yourself or is it merely about raising a generalised awareness to a public that is generally overwhelmed with other stimuli offered by media that dominates their thoughts? My pretence is focused more internally, I prefer to write, be anonymous, protecting myself, protecting my family from the hurt if they knew the truths from my writings. Putting an article in the local newspaper is following a new trend to make mental illness a ‘trending’ topic, highlighting its need for change and help.
I see the publications as sometimes detrimental, people start to only see the negatives associated with mental illness, the overloading of negatives creating the stigma that so many people in the mental health awareness advocacy are trying to remove. The publications are trying to make the public more aware, but they are failing to educate to a higher extent, the public doesn’t understand mental illness to any great degree, they see and read its consequences and why it’s an issue, but they fail to understand why some people suffer from mental illness and why others do not. They can even read the symptoms that people suffer, but that doesn’t make the content relatable. Yes this is a depressing post, but it allows me to vent the rage about mental illness and media, in its own way it’s a form of censorship. Only those who experience mental illness can help others, public media doesn’t always have to be the way to achieve this, often categorising and pigeon-holing mental illness creating misconceptions. End rant. Thankyou wine for allowing me to write tonight.