Painting suicide with a general brush is like saying all art looks the same.
Rising TV star Lee Thompson Young recently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The social media world shared their condolences but their knee-jerk reactions also exhibited a troubling amount of shame. A common argument against suicide is that it’s a selfish act, and that the victim unfairly omits the duties and obligations to his/her loved ones left behind.
Some – while completely disregarding the other side of the debate – say suicidal people are cowards crying for help to cure their temporary problems. Others force their religious angle down the throat of the suicide victim, and down those arguing not in favor of suicide, but in favor of a rational discourse concerning possible mental reasons for fatal self-destruction.
Are these rather simple assumptions harsh? Would you condone this stubborn tone and logic if a doctor provided that type of diagnosis to a suicidal patient seeking help?
Imagine staring at a 14-year-old child or your own mother lying in a casket. Would your despair be that of shame? I’d bet the average person wouldn’t scream “selfish” at the casket. Of course not, each suicidal death has its peculiar circumstance. Painting suicide with a general brush is like saying all art looks the same.
It’s self-defeating to tell a suicidal person that he/she is selfish; it reinforces their self hate, their lack of purpose on earth. It’s also quite disrespectful to disregard the person’s pain, even after death. This sick conventional wisdom puts mental illness into a proverbial box. Suicide is a selfish act only insofar as it pertains to the explicit definition of a “self” acting upon “self.”
Information spreads quickly in social media, but mental health awareness or other potentially life-saving messages are still stuck in the textbook or conferences or platforms which specifically produce thought-provoking content. The average user functions off their already acquired conventional wisdom.
The average person has to seek knowledge much like a suicidal person has to seek help. Does it still take a village to raise our children? Perhaps. Isn’t it a selfless act for a person to stay alive, despite their agony, for the sake of keeping everyone company? Yes. That is perhaps the irony of claiming it’s a selfish act, especially without considering internal and external dispositions.
In the wake of this mysterious tragedy, social media is still diametrically opposed to this mental health problem.
–Originally published on The Vanguard Element