In case you missed it, we are suffering from an epidemic here in New Zealand, and if we are honest, it's a pandemic striking the Western world. It's called Suicide. We hate to talk about it until it happens, then we try to avoid using the word - in case it's contagious (and maybe it is) while celebrating the person who died in ways we regretfully didn't while they were with us.
We live in the age of celebrity, where the attention you can draw to yourself depends on the wealth you can attain or the price you can charge. Partner this with the entitlement that we all feel and the prominence of Social media, we've created the climate for a perfect storm.
I remember it said to me, 'people all desire to be celebrated, they become frustrated when instead they are simply tolerated.'
It seems to me that articles published around the Suicide of a young person or celebrity, contain the same language so as not to glorify the act, lest it becomes contagious; '[this] death was not considered suspicious', however, at least here in New Zealand, the bottom portion of the news article is littered suicide support hotlines and help that, unfortunately, is forced to passively wait until you and your need, to come to them. If it is contagious, where do we find a vaccine - how do we develop healthy ways to address, nay, combat suicide. Our heartbreak can't help but glorify the act in some way, to mourn death is to celebrate life. Especially when the life lost is of someone with so much potential, someone we'd praised in our head - but not appreciated aloud enough. Suddenly with their devastating passing, all the things we should have said come bursting to the surface, and arrive on a Facebook wall, Instagram story or on flowers and cards left at makeshift memorials.
The suicide statistics break me, but I fear that the society we've built created the climate for them.
We've celebrated celebrities, while everyday heroes go unrewarded or un-congratulated because they've not stopped to update their Facebook or LinkedIn with their newest achievement. We give advertising dollars to people who attract attention to our product, not those who use them. We value the words of people reading scripts over those reading research. We believe everything we read 'published' on the internet. We believe the hype of hyperactivity.
but this hyperactivity doesn't excuse our lack of activity. Does it?
Stop to sing louder about our unsung heroes!
Stop to look for those who don't naturally draw notice and thank them for being in your world.
Especially if you are on the other side of this, maybe you're not a singer; you're the unsung. You notice the unnoticed because you are.
But you will not always be.
If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts, hear me: You matter, regardless of who tells you, or how people celebrate you. You are loved. Whether the people around you say it to you or not, it's true. The world is a better place with you in it. If you don't hear these words, find new friends, find a new community. Find hope among new allies. We're all in this strange new world together.
The alternative is lonely; it's our life without yours. It's you missing out; never sees the reconciliation of people celebrating your existence, because we never get to see your potential reached together.
You are loved; I love you. I can say this because, it's not usually the mean people that think about taking their own lives; they're people who have built up walls and hardened themselves, hurting others in the process. It's tender, compassionate people that are in danger; creative people who have so much to offer that they don't think will be recognised. I want to see what you can do; create; be! And I'm not alone.
Neither are you.