- July 29, 2014 in Columnists
Let’s not suck anymore
There was a jumper on the freeway last Friday night. Read that again. THERE WAS A JUMPER ON THE FREEWAY LAST FRIDAY NIGHT. A man was going to jump off of a freeway overpass into on coming traffic in hopes of dying. HOPES OF DYING!
Luckily authorities were able to coerce him back to safety and a psychiatric hold, but it got me thinking… he’s not the only one who’s wanted to do this before, or even the only one who’s attempted to, so… should we all be put on some sort of psychiatric hold at certain times in our life?
Depression is such a common mental illness these days. Many people have at some point in their lives felt lonely/helpless/sad enough that they just don’t want to be here anymore. It’s a feeling brought on by a variety of triggers, and often passes over time.
Suicide is never an answer to problems. Bad days, weeks, months, they happen, but suicide will not make your problems go away. It will make you go away. There is so much help out there for people who need it. Free hotlines, counseling, websites, no matter your situation or social status, there is help. Take it.
It’s entirely possible that this man showed major signs of depression before this night, but these were missed or ignored. What if it were mandatory to place everyone with major depression on 72-hour psychiatric holds? What would happen to suicide rates? We all have problems — it would be like a free period for you to just hash out all of your issues. Obviously a “hold” is a bit extreme and completely impossible to force upon everyone (given our rights and such — go ‘Merica!).
I spoke to someone who specializes in psychological disorders, and here’s what I learned: there are levels of “suicidalness.” (I think I made up a word.) Anyway, it’s common for people to feel they don’t want to “be around” anymore at some point in their lives.
When you just want to escape the world, that’s level one, or the bottom of the pyramid. Next is the middle of the pyramid: those who think of ways to execute not being here anymore. These people definitely need close watching. Then, there’s the top of the pyramid: those who feel like they don’t want to be here, who think of how to accomplish no longer being alive, and who act on this impulse and attempt suicide.
Suicide. Think about it. Once you commit it (unless you fail) you don’t come back. Sometimes I wonder if people who actually attempt suicide really think it’s their only option or if they’re simply caught up in everything that’s going wrong in their lives and they need an escape. Unfortunately, suicide is a permanent escape.
Then there’s “suicide bullying.” That’s the epitome of tragedy — pushing someone to the point of wanting to die. It’s 2014. Bullying should’ve gone out of style along with bellbottom jeans and neon, but unfortunately it’s only worsened. Now there are anti-bullying campaigns.
We, as a society, suck. We’ve become so awful that we have to throw oodles of money into organizations to remind people to stop being such assholes to each other. That’s pathetic, but apparently necessary.
There’s always a reason to dislike someone, but think how much more awesome this generation would be if we looked past that and instead tried harder to find reasons to like people. It’s important to remember that we aren’t in this world alone.
Seriously — let’s be a better fucking generation.
People get caught up in their own lives. It’s not a bad thing, per se, it’s just a fact. I am totally guilty of this. I was so excited the other day that I paid the toll for the car behind me. I told my friend and he said, “Oh good, you did something good for someone without any sort of personal interaction whatsoever.” Slightly less excited about my “good deed” now, I thought about it. He was right.
A lot of times I try to just go about my day. I look forward or down, and don’t really pay attention to what’s around me so that I stay focused on whatever it is I’m doing. Kindness does not have to involve money — it can be as simple as a smile. Before my friend made that comment, I was always a little afraid to smile at people. I didn’t want it to be taken as creepy or the wrong way. I’d think about how the situation could go wrong for me instead of how it might affect someone else. Since this chat, I’ve made a point to look around at my surroundings more, to smile at people and acknowledge their presence.
I follow “Humans of New York” on Facebook and Instagram. The page posts photos of people with a caption, usually a quote the person said or how they acted when they were approached. One stood out to me in particular: a woman, probably in her 30-40s, gray hair, and she told the photographer, “I’m shocked that you came up to me. Nobody’s ever done that.” She went on to discuss depression and weight loss and gain. And what she’s learned in life and how her therapist has helped her.
But it was the quote that stood out. Pure acknowledgement can go a long way.
I’m not saying a smile would have changed the jumper’s problems, but he obviously needed help. A smile, or some sort of acknowledgement, could have changed the way he thinks, his trigger would have been let go, or perhaps less tightly clamped.
Let’s turn this world around. The only thing that can drive out darkness is light.