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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

To Be Or Not To Be

There is someone in my Twitter timeline who I seem to regularly unfollow, and then quickly refollow.   I have followed and unfollowed her quite a lot as Twitter to me is, for the most part, a jolly and silly distraction, filled with links to animal videos,  laboured puns, fascinating discussions and local knowledge.  I found it stressful to occasionally see people in pain, as you do when people post about break ups, or death, or illness.  Her conversation, you will see, occasionally veered into the profoundly unhappy, and so I followed and unfollowed, but I always found her too fascinating to leave permanently.

Last night, she tried to commit suicide.  It was something she had referenced quite often, usually at weekends, usually late at night, usually drunk. I didn't see the post in time.  I don't know what I would have done if I had, but I hope it would have been helpful.  Thankfully, last night, someone else read her posts, and reacted accordingly by calling the police.  The police came, she was brought to A&E, she is still alive today.  This is all wonderful, and I hope she now gets the help that she needs.

I was curious to see what sort of response she got, so I had a look at her @ feed.  I wasn't surprised to see that, at the very time she tweeted in a moment of profound despair and without hope, some people saw fit to call her "selfish" and said it was "unfair" of her to post about it.

My response to that is to want to hunt each of them down and punch those people right in the face.  Really?  You think that's helpful?  If someone was diagnosed with lung cancer, would you whisper in their ear they should have been more careful about what they were breathing in?  Should people drowning stop splashing about and drawing attention to themselves?  You unsentimental fucks.

Suicide is not a simple matter.  It's not an easy decision.  For a lot of people, it doesn't even feel like a choice, but a necessity.  But for the most part, it's also not a death wish.  Suicidal people don't want to die, they just can't see any other option.  Life has become unbearable; death seems like the only alternative.

There are alternatives.  The first one is Maytree.  I was a volunteer at this wonderful place for three years, and it remains one of the most powerful experiences of my life.  It's a house in Finsbury Park in London, where people in suicidal crisis can go for five days to sort their heads out.  It's not a medical institution.  It is run and staffed almost entirely by volunteers.  It is free for guests to stay.  Guests can come and go as they please.  Their belongings will not be searched.  They will not be sectioned.  They will simply be talked to.  Talking is what Maytree does best.  All day long and all night long.  Just talking about everything under the sun.  It's amazing.

If you heard what some people have going on in their heads, the opinion of themselves that they hold, the things that they have experienced, the losses they have had to endure, the horrors they have seen, then you would wonder that they are still alive at all.  Suicide is not an act of reckless abandon, it's not selfish, it's not the easy choice, and it is not the only answer.

Please think carefully about how you use social media.  It's all very easy to throw out an opinion here, a judgment there, a stupid comment that you don't really mean.  It could genuinely mean life or death to someone feeling most vulnerable at that time.

Maytree:  www.maytree.org.uk
Phone them on 020 7263 7070

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1 Comments:

Awesome.

Love

Higgs

By Blogger higgs, at 30 July 2011 at 20:55  

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