Suicide is Funny

Obvious triggers for suicide and depression are obvious.

People get really, really angry when it comes to making jokes about depression, suicide and mental illness. You could make a case that they're right to do so; after all, mental illness is rarely presented honestly. It's usually romanticised or stigmatised. Why would trivialising it be any better?

My honest answer is that trivialising it doesn't help. But my honest answer has a second part to it: I'm fed up of well-meaning but annoying people yelling "you're trivialising mental illness!" every time I fail to get out my handkerchief and cry over the great tragedy.

Look, it's no big secret that I'm a suicidally depressed mental patient. I don't hide it online, because I have no reason to. If anything, I have several good reasons to talk about mental health openly and honestly. And it's no big secret that learning to manage your illness involves coping mechanisms. As a long-time fan of gallows humour, black comedy, and turning everything into a great big joke, humour is how I personally cope.

"But how can you find depression and suicide funny?" you might ask, especially if you've got loved ones with depression or someone close to you has taken their own life.

I have a weakness for random and absurd humour - think Monty Python and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It cracks me up like nothing else. And if you think about it, depression and suicide are really, really fucking nonsensical. Depression is your brain going against literally every imperative to pass on that DNA of yours. Suicide is when you get your body to cooperate. Failed suicide attempts are funny too; you try to literally obliterate your own existence and negate the urge to live and pass on DNA, which is absurd enough in itself.

And then you somehow manage to fuck up at doing that. That's pretty absurd too.

If you're sensitive about this sort of thing, you might accuse me of having a sick and twisted sense of humour. I'm guilty as charged; I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

What I will say is that as a person affected, I might potentially be stuck with mental illness for life. Oh, to be sure, I'll have good periods (like this one) and the bad periods will hopefully get easier to deal with, but longevity runs in my family. Even being an unhealthy, stressy slob, let's say I finally die of heart failure or cancer around 70.

At the moment, I'm 19. That means I might have 50 more years of this bullshit on the clock. Who wouldn't consider taking their own life after learning that they might be stuck feeling empty and hopeless for the next half a century?!

Point is, I might not ever be able to walk away from depression. And after a while, carrying around that handkerchief sobbing about how awful mental illness is gets old. It gets stale. It gets boring. Besides, I have to live with it and I'm sort of fed up with having brain chemistry that is trying to kill me.

And so I laugh. I laugh because when it comes down to the fundamentals, my only other choice is crying and I'm tired of crying over everything being hopeless and shit. Laughing at it is much better for my cardiovascular health, for a start.

I don't expect everyone to be comfortable with jokes about mental illness and suicide. I myself tell them only rarely (they tend to be running commentary in my head, which is hardly better because I laugh out loud at inappropriate times) and would never tell them in front of people who would feel offended. But I do expect people to respect my lived experience and to not patronise me. Most importantly, I expect them to understand that laughter is one of my very few coping mechanisms. Please don't take my coping mechanisms away from me for the sake of your own comfort.