Like most people, I find those Auto correct fail posts hilarious. These posts show screen shots of people who’s autocorrect turned a normal text into something highly embarrassing. However, I have noticed an interesting thing in many of these posts. When the texter notices the auto-correct fail, sometimes their next text is something like:
“I am going to jump off a bridge now.”
Copyright Bipolar Spirit 2014.
“I am going to kill myself now.”
Or check out this one where someone is “literally” going to kill themselves from getting a weird text from her mother, and then her mother tells her not to be “crazy.”
I know that these are just people responding to extreme embarrassment and overall this is not a big deal. However, this does tell us something about the way we look at causes of death by suicide.
People who die by suicide do not die because they are embarrassed like what happens with an auto-corrected text. It makes no sense that we even joke about killing ourselves when we are embarrassed.
Death by suicide is due to the deepest despair. It is the result of a brain that is broken and has convinced a person of any number of false realities such as: a loss of meaning and purpose in life, the belief that one is a terrible person, unworthy of love, and even your loved ones would be better off without you. Or the belief that you are inherently evil, worthless, or deserve to die. Even that is not a good enough description of it. There is no way to adequately describe such despair, or to know what exact ways in which any one person’s brain has created a faulty reality for them. Mental illness manifests differently for every person.
We need to stop using phrases like “I am going to kill myself” so lightly. It’s not a joke. It’s not an appropriate way to express general embarrassment or incredulity at something. It’s a misunderstanding and trivialization of a dangerous illness that is no joking matter.
Rev. Katie Norris is a Unitarian Universalist community minister with a specialty in pastoral care and communication for people with brain health disorders and their families. She works to raise awareness and end stigma of these illnesses through community outreach and public speaking. She comes to this work through personal experience as someone living with mental illness. Katie is also co-founder of the Carolyn L.Farrell Foundation for Brain Health. Katie’s young son describes her job as “talking a lot.” She is a wife, mother, CrossFitter, corset wearer, dog parent, and she has a love for all things fairy tales and fantasy. She fiercely believes that everyone is loved just as they are, and that an essential part of easing human suffering is showing others that they are loved, and helping them live life to the best of their ability.
This post was republished as suggested and with permission. The original post can be found here: http://www.bipolarspirit.com/2014/08/stop-using-phrase-i-am-going-to-kill.html
Eleven years ago on September 29th, 2003, I tried to kill myself by swallowing fifteen Excedrin migraine. I was transported via ambulance from my dorm room to the local hospital where they gave me active charcoal, and luckily the effects of such allowed my liver to NOT suffer any ill effects. I begged the psychiatrist on staff that night to allow me to be discharged, with the stipulation that I’d follow up with my personal psychiatrist.
I was unable to follow up, because the next day I was informed via letter from the dean of students that I was expelled from the university for violating their code of conduct (which included not harming others, or myself). Four days later I packed my things and moved home. Thus began my trudge up the ‘mountain of wellness’.
I went through about three years of half-hearted attempts at counseling, where I’d lie to doctors and tell them what they wanted to hear because prior to all of this, no one ever really gave my ‘episodes’ much thought. I was a theatre major, so obviously I was just being “over dramatic” when I’d self harm or lock myself in my room for hours, crying non-stop.
Around 2006, I met my husband and shortly thereafter started making a genuine attempt at trying to figure out exactly what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, and began medication. Over the next years, I continued on my journey up the mountain. I had relapses and setbacks, but also great accomplishments. My husband was by my side through all of this – he never wanted to fix me, just wanted me to be as well as I could – not just for us, but for myself. He’s my inspiration most days when I feel like the walls are closing in. He reminds me that everything is manageable – even my disease.
We married on Dec. 1, 2012, and I promptly got pregnant. It was a surprise, as I didn’t intend for it to stick as quickly as it did, but for some reason I didn’t feel joy. I felt dread. Antepartum depression hit me, hard. I had previously been able to manage my issues without medication, but was quickly put back on an anti anxiety med, and re-started therapy with a practice that specialized in women who were suffering from postpartum and antenatal depression.
The therapy, along with medication – got me through my rocky pregnancy. I had irritable uterus and was generally feeling miserable, but finally was able to connect with my growing baby and enjoy the fact that I was creating a life that was made from love.
Why do I start with that back story?
Well, I do it because on September 29th 2012, ten years to the day that I tried to kill myself, I went into spontaneous labor and delivered my beautiful daughter, Magnolia Rebecca; at 33 weeks. She was incredibly healthy and only had a ten day NICU stay, and over the past year has showed me a tenacity for life that is unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever met.
If you would have asked me on that day ten (now almost eleven) years ago, if I could have imagined myself not only as a wife to an amazingly supportive and fantastic man, but a MOTHER to a child of my own – I would have called you insane. I would have told you that I wasn’t worth it; that I didn’t deserve that kind of love or happiness….that there was no way someone could love me that much.
But there I was. Giving birth to the product of that love.
My daughter is a constant reminder that, even when I have set backs, that this climb is worth it. Trying is worth it. Existing is worth it – she reminds me every day with her smile. She’s living proof that no matter how low you get, you can rise up out of the darkness long enough to feel the sun, and try to heal.
I don’t claim to be “cured”; I still have hard days, sometimes hard weeks – but I do have a constant reminder of my strength, which is a huge help.
So, that’s my story. I want to share it for moms or even just women who think there’s no way they will ever climb out of that all-encompassing black hole called mental illness. It can get better. Maybe never perfect, but better – and better is about as close to perfect as I could ever get.
Thank you for listening.
Jennifer is a soon to be mother of two who lives in Philadelphia. She lives day by day, in a home full of rescue animals, her husband, her child(ren), and a lot of patience and love.