(Photo by Ilkka Kallio)
Welcome to yet another instalment of ‘Shit depressed people have to hear!’ This time I’m going to discuss the sentiment that it’s selfish to kill yourself, told through a personal experience.
I was taking part in an online conversation, which criticised people, who would act annoyed for their train being late due to someone committing suicide.
I’m no expert. I can only speak for my own experience. Still I feel that often enough the discussion around matters like this is dominated by people who have no clue what’s it like to be so unwell that you wish to end your life. Not all of us are lucky enough to come back and tell our side of the tale. So I commented that I had tried to kill myself this way.
I was absolutely INUNDATED with hate messages, split into two categories: One calling me selfish for the method that I had chosen (‘why couldn’t you just top yourself at home?’) as well as my decision to end my life (‘didn’t you for once stop and think about your family?’)
So all of a sudden had I not only become a spokesperson for every person who has ever made the tragic decision to end their life on train tracks, I was also called upon to answer for my crime on a personal level in front of this internet jury.
Can I just say that I know that the internet is a breeding ground for trolls and disgusting people in general. Nothing new about that.
Second of all, I’d like to point out that I am the person with a mental health condition diagnosis. So I am, in a lack of a better word, completely mental. Still I can say, with hand on my heart, that I have never even entertained the idea of having a go at someone about anything like that. Because who the fuck does that?
A lot of people, apparently. I had inadvertently stuck my head into a proverbial hornet’s nest. I mean, fucking hell, the amount of shit that I got for that one message. I was most surprised by this absolute RAGE that my decision had triggered in so many complete strangers. There seemed to be so much anger towards the idea of a person willingly ending their own life.
Was this about more than just suicide? Is this about the whole sacredness of life, which keeps all the abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide-discussions alive? Is this the root cause of it all: this quite a religious idea that you’re not supposed to meddle with life because it has been given to you by some higher power? Quite interesting since I’m sure not all of the people calling for my public trial were particularly religious.
Was it all just about little old me though? Were they having a go at me because I was alive to answer for myself and someone they had loved was not?
In any case, it was fucked up. Especially because I am a hundred percent certain that not all of these people were just trolling. I’d imagine they are completely ordinary people, who you might say good morning to, who you might chat about the game as you make a brew at work, be friends with them even.
Perfectly pleasant, sane at least in the sense of not having been diagnosed as otherwise, and still they have this thought, form an opinion that this is a valuable addition to the conversation in question, formulate it into a sentence, type it out and send it out into the cyberspace while completely certain that this is something that’s completely acceptable to say to another human being.
There were references to Louis CK, who had apparently said why can’t people just kill themselves at home (and what a fucking crown prince of moral high ground he turned out to be), someone who claimed to work as a doorman on trains (do trains have doormen?) and I was blamed for causing trauma to an innocent train driver.
None of this upset me, by the way. Water off a duck’s back. I have a wonderful family, and my mum famously said ‘none of that matters when you’re ill’ when I apologised to her for trying to kill myself even though I have loving parents, wonderful friends and a great job. So I’ve got the only endorsement I’ll ever need. If Dave45 is expecting a personal apology, he will be waiting for a good fucking while.
But imagine if someone more fragile than me had read it?
What genuinely horrified me was this unbelievable lack of empathy towards another human being. Not just any human being, somebody in pain. I mean, we are talking about a life. Someone has lost their life. Somebody has experienced such unbearable suffering that they have seen no other way to make it stop than to end their life.
This is somebody’s son, daughter, father, mother, friend, loved one. Somebody to someone. A person with thoughts, experiences and emotions, who deserves to be treated with respect.
So what was my response?
Dave45 was extremely upset by the fact that someone’s decision to end their life caused delays to his evening plans.
I said, and I’m sure you will find this somewhere from the depths of the internet if you google enough: “Had I been told on the tracks that there were going to be two trains: one in five minutes’ time and one in three hours, I would’ve waited happily if I was promised that it was going to cause inconvenience to a prick like you.”
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