If I Die

As with many of my posts, this talks about suicide. If it triggers you, don't read.

Well, I fully admit that was a stupid title. Dying isn't a question of if, it's a question of when; I am under no illusions as to my own mortality. What I really mean is if I die by my own hand.

This isn't going to be a post about how no-one will miss me or about how the world will be better off without me; somehow the message got through my skull that while I'm nothing special, the people close to me will miss me a lot. This in no way stops the suicidal compulsions or the belief that the world as a whole will be better off without me, but it does make me a lot more reluctant to go through with it.

No, this is more a post about the legacy I would leave behind if I took my own life - and how I don't particularly want to be remembered.

Yep, I said that right. If I kill myself, I don't want to be remembered. I don't want tributes to how beautiful and amazing I was as a person, nor do I want people gushing about how horrible suicide is for five minutes before they promptly forget all about this.

I suppose I'm just saying this because of cases like those of Olivia Penpraze and Amanda Todd, where I've seen calls to remember them and how beautiful they were...even if you didn't really know them.

I am moved by their stories, because I could easily have joined them were it not for a strong and loving support system and my own incompetence. All the same, crying over the death of a total stranger and writing something on Facebook or Twitter about it does nothing for the millions of people who are still alive but desperately wish they were dead. It's a feel-good quick-fix designed to make you feel like you're doing something while someone's still killing themselves every 40 seconds. And it's a feel-good quick-fix that I'm sick of, because it doesn't help. Sorry to break the news to those who reblog posts and like statuses or change their profile pictures for a day - but none of those generic, thirty-second actions ever do me a damn bit of good when I'm feeling suicidal and running through the plans I've made in my head.

So what does help? Frankly, what helps is people actually putting in the time and effort to listen. To be there. To not be judgemental. To reassure me that there is a place in this world for me, even if it doesn't feel like it. You know, things that require actual motivation and empathy for other people. I don't doubt that the anti-suicide slacktivists do care deep down, but I would encourage any reading this to turn that caring into...well...action that involves getting off the computer every once in a while.

So if I do end up taking my own life, I don't want you to plaster my face across social networks. I don't want you to look back and remember me, or to encourage total strangers to honour my memory.

I want you all - friends and family and strangers who never knew me alike - to honour my wish: do not look back at the person you lost, except to remember how you lost them and how it could have been prevented. Don't look back and beat yourself up about it, no matter how much you want to, no matter how sickeningly right it might feel. Look forward and think about what you can do for the people out there who can still be helped, who are alive and suffering - and then go out there and do it.

If you wanted to remember me, that would be the greatest and best thing you could do.