Scissors are not a great suicide tool.
I found this out first hand, lying on the floor of my bedroom – or bathroom, I’ve tried multiple times – scraping the scissors down my wrist. Maybe I just have a dull pair. Maybe I just didn’t press hard enough. I was definitely afraid of the pain.
Suicidal thoughts are terrifying. Scared I would actually hurt myself doing something stupid, I went into the Wellness Centre here on campus. I’m now on medication, and starting to feel better. I still have many, many low moments, but less of them.
People, when they write their personal journeys with depression always end their piece with the usual “if you or someone you know is depressed, please go find help,” or something in that vein. Why, then, do most of the stories that I see in the media almost never follow their own advice?
Chris Jones’s Esquire article “Some Days, You Just Want To Kill Yourself” is a beautiful piece. Jones is a captivating writer, to say the least, and his experiences with depression are immediately relatable if you’ve ever suffered with depression. I found the article almost darkly funny – Jones describes a scene that almost exactly mimics my scissor experiences.
“I turned the water to ice cold, to try to numb my arms, and I dragged the knife, scraping myself maybe a dozen times, and I sobbed, sobbed like a man who had just lost his dead father’s watch,” writes Jones. See what I mean about captivating?
Again, though, Jones doesn’t go seek out professional help. His depression slowly goes away, a common theme that I see written. He admits how dumb it was to not see a doctor, near the end.
The popular web comic Hyperbole and a Half, created by Allie Brosh, has an extremely well liked and shared comic called “Adventures in Depression” and “Depression Part Two”. Her comic is extremely accurate and relatable, like Jones’s piece. It has 5,000 comments.
Her piece, like Jones’s, describes her depression as slowly disappearing. She goes to the doctors at the insistence of her friends, but no real mention of it is made after.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada is the third-highest consumer of antidepressants, with 86 daily doses of medication per 1000 people.
Many media outlets report on how the rise of antidepressants is a bad thing. Reports that antidepressants aren’t any better than placebos are a more recent trend. A piece on Psychology Today, written by Dr. Lynn E. O’Connor, describes how the placebo studies the media report on may be based on faulty research. Titled, The Media War on Anti-Depressants, this column makes a strong argument for caution when reporting on the ineffectiveness of antidepressants.
Antidepressants work for me. I’m less suicidal, more motivated and more willing to get out of bed in the morning. It’s hard to make the effort to go out and get help—as Jones describes, he didn’t go out because of some sort of misplaced pride. I went because I was a coward, afraid of myself and tired of being tired with life. It did feel like giving up, like I wasn’t good enough to handle this myself.
I don’t think I could get through this myself. My journey has been long and scary. Medication and counseling is helping, and are extremely effective in ways of helping people through rough times. We need to see this more in the media – people who get professional help, and who get better. It will inspire people to get help themselves. We talk a lot about destigmatizing mental illness – how about we destigmatize professional help as well.
If you want to read a great piece on medication, therapy and mental health, check out “Roses Are Red, My Psychiatrist Upped My Meds,” written by anonymous columnist, So Sad Today on Vice.
If you are depressed, or suicidal, or stressed or know someone who is, please go get help. Head to the Wellness Centre – they are the loveliest group of people I think I have ever met. Call a friend, call a hotline, call 911 or head to the hospital – do anything. You don’t have to be alone. And never, ever tell a depressed person to just look on the bright side. Sometimes the only bright side they see is the edge of a dull pair of scissors.