It’s September and It’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
|Don’t get me started. . .|
So you may ask: why so sarcastic.
Here’s two stories that buttress that sarcasm:
She didn’t kill herself but it illustrates a larger point:
No she didn’t. But the system cares more about preserving it’s own budgets than the life of any one person:
The point is we can have all the ‘months’ and press kits and hollowed-out shells of social service agencies but if we don’t think of each other as our own brothers and sisters, if we don’t really the value a life other than its ability to produce revenue, then it’s all a sham; a feel-good exercise that happens every year and improves nothing.
My experience with the local NAMI chapter always reminds me of that. Careers! Budgets! PR! Isn’t it any wonder that non-profits have such a bad reputation as being snake pits to work in?
So there’s this video on The Mighty.
It’s typical of the kind of slickly produced feel-good videos they make that are supposed to have a salutary effect on the lightly disturbed. I say lightly, because I have a real problem believing these are intended to be effective with people in the depths of the hell that is their own personal illness.
It also plays on the latest gimmick of ‘showing notes’ to music, a technique that has been beaten into the ground.
I know its against the whole zeitgeist of present-day feel-goodism about mental illness, but why don’t we take a realistic look at what might be the reply to some of these ‘notes.’
1. . . .it really does get better; I promise you won’t regret sticking through it. — well, that’s a hell of a promise to make and who are ‘you’ anyway? I’ve been waiting for it to get better for 40 years. How long before my magic unicorn arrives to deliver me to ‘wellness land?’ If I have to look forward to seven more years in that pit of hell I call my job, you’re not doing me any favors.
2. You deserve to give yourself one more try — 29 psychologists/psychiatrists, 25 different medications. Where’s the ‘pharmaceutical unicorn?’
Oh speaking of which, HALFTIME! (H/T Drew Megary) Enjoy a funny video:
OK, fun’s over, back to The Mighty:
3. Open up. . . let someone in so they can find a way to help you through your tough times –– don’t try this at work, OK kids? Also, for many, don’t try this with your family or even your spouse (I’m lucky on that one). And remember the only reason your shrink listens to you is because you’re PAYING them and most social service agencies see you as a numbered cog to get more funding. We clear on all of this? Oh wait, your church? Be serious here. They expect Jesus to cure you. Went that route too. Good luck to you because if Jesus won’t cure you, the church figures it’s part of God’s plan. . . that you be miserable, perhaps to provide a warning to others.
4. Please reach out — see above.
(and what’s with that nail polish? so distracting)
5. Suicide is not a solution/it doesn’t fix anything — I keep finding it amazing that groups like The Mighty and the rest ignore the dirty little secret of suicide – people kill themselves to MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY. Geez, why is that so hard to admit? Everyone has their breaking point and people who commit suicide have reached theirs. Perhaps they just needed another video. Or month.
6. This world needs you — I used to think that. I really wanted to be of service to the world; whether is be as a journalist, radio host, civil servant. But they don’t want to put up with my ‘crazy’ so most of those careers died in the fetid bowels of HR.
(I’m skipping a few here)
7. Getting help is easier than the alternative — seriously? Unlike what you read in The Mighty, in the real world, getting help is about as easy as depicted in the two Post-Gazette stories I linked to at the top. And God help you if you live in a rural area AND don’t have health insurance.
8. It’s a thought; don’t listen — OK, for some people, it’s be a ‘thought’ for years. They listen, they just don’t act on it. Until they do. One of the biggest problems with many mental illnesses is the difficulty in turning off those thoughts. And the drugs that do turn off those thoughts pretty much turn off the ability to think and operate in the real world as well.
9. Someday the light will come, blah, blah, blah — just stop already.
Our culture is full of feel-goodism because it’s a whole lot easier than shifting spending priorities to really fund agencies that are less concerned with empire building than doing the job they supposedly were created to do. And to do that, you have to find people with a real passion for it and pay them what they are worth. And we also, as a society, need to stop looking at people as economic units and look at them as . . . well, for you Christians who hate paying taxes, God’s creations (stop laughing). And of course, there’s the stigma, all the stigma. But it makes for great reality TV.
Oh, by the way, here’s what you can expect when you ‘reach out’ and ‘tell someone’ about your ‘suicidal ideation:’
1. You may be forced into a mental hospital, pumped full of drugs until you’re ‘cured’ or your insurance runs out, then you’ll be thrown out into the street to arrange your own aftercare. Remember, in America, you’re pretty much on your own for most of your mental health care.
2. You might lose your job and spend the rest of your life on public assistance begging for the help and medication that Medicaid thinks you deserve.
3. You might have certain employers or ‘helping agencies’ overreact to a report you may be suicidal and send cops to your house to actually assist you in the act, or set in motion points 1 and 2.
4. You might lose your friends or at the very least, you’ll find out who your friends are. After all, people are busy and have their own problems. You got bootstraps? Pull ’em.
5. Points 1-4 may actually make you more suicidal than you were before.
Are you aware of suicide now? Good. They did the job.
Call me a curmudgeon but I’m genuinely sick of it all. Suicide prevention awareness month? We don’t mean it, so let’s stop pretending we do, OK?