Saturday, February 26, 2011

No Joke.

I have to take care of a Ready-or-Not Tot for my economics class at school.  It cries all the time: while I'm driving, sleeping, taking a shower.  It's torture.  Everyone in my senior class has to take care of one of these babies at some point.  Yesterday, my friend and I were joking around about how much we hated taking care of the baby, and my friend laughed and said something like, "You know what? Life isn't even worth living.  Let's just get a couple of guns and end it all.  We can point them at our own heads- no, I'll point mine at your head and you point yours at my head- and we can die together."

To be honest, I wasn't sure how to respond.  I know he was kidding, but I've been thinking.  At what point is it okay to joke about suicide?  When does it cross a line?  Should it be crossing a line?

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you know that a friend of mine committed suicide three years ago.

More than 5,000 teens end their lives every year.  That breaks my heart.  5,000 teens is like a small university being wiped off the face of the earth.  5,000 is nearly double those who died on 9/11.  5,000 is more than many small towns in Texas.  Those were 5,000 kids who had families and friends who were devastated after they learned their loved one was gone.  5,000 is a lot of people, and that's just the teens.  30,000 people of all ages commit suicide each year.

Joking around about suicide, twisting your hand into the shape of a gun and bringing it to your head when you're bored or annoyed, making suicide sound so lighthearted when it should be such a serious thing... this needs to end.  Now.

Suicide isn't a joke.  It ends a life and it emotionally destroys those who care about the one who died.  It's such a difficult thing to heal from.  And as one who has once considered suicide as an alternative to the life I lived, let me tell you... feelings of suicide are no joking matter either.  They're so, so, so serious.  I can't emphasize this enough.  Don't let someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression see you make a joke about suicide and make light of the feelings that are consuming his life right now.

You've possibly joked around about killing yourself before.  You know, before my friend committed suicide, I would.  I'd bring my finger to my head like a gun and say "Just kill me now" if we had a pop quiz or if I had to do an extra chore that day.  I didn't think it was that big of a deal.  Since my friend has died, I've become more aware of the emotions surrounding that subject.  When someone jokes about suicide, I can't really laugh anymore.  I freeze.  Something in my heart hurts.

When we make light of a situation, we're lessening its impact.  Suicide is making a huge impact in the lives of countless people right now.  30,000 lives are ending every year.  Don't make that a joke.




  1. Emily, thank you so much. I have felt this way for so long. Suicide is something really close to my heart, and even the word makes my heart wrench. It's truly heartbreaking and I really want to do something about it. I think I'm being called in some way to help do something about teen suicide [basically suicide altogether] but I don't know what. Anyway, I won't ramble, so I'll just say thank you and great job on the post. <3 God bless!

  2. It's so horrible that this happens everyday. To be honest........I feel like that everyday!

  3. This is a really good post. I'll admit I've done the gun-the-head thing a couple times in the past but you've made a good point against it here! The suicide statistics are horrible. So high... I'll be stopping that now. It's a great post <3

  4. Thank you Emily.. My friends all joke about suicide, and it makes me want to cry. There's little emoticons on msn featuring suicide, making a joke out of it. I think the worst thing is when people laugh *at* people who want to commit suicide- not necessarily to their faces, but laughing at the general stereotype, and that hurts just as much, maybe even more, because I can grasp the concept of them laughing at a joke out of ignorance, but for them to laugh about the people who feel suicidal hurts. I've had a friend attempt suicide, multiple times. She was never successful, thank goodness. But, thank you for speaking out, because you're right- suicide's not a joke, and neither are suicidal feelings, I can vouch for that too.

  5. I know I'm guilty of joking about suicide sometimes... but more often than not it's because I'm too afraid to admit that I'm just acting like I'm joking.