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Suicide humor - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Suicide humor
Suicide is such a weird thing. It's strange, how easy it is to talk and joke about it. It's eerie, how casually it slips into our daily conversations, our thoughts, our humor.

"If he talks one minute longer, I'm putting a bullet through my head."
"This song makes me want to suck on an exhaust pipe."
"Pardon me, I'm going to find a window that opens."
"I coulda killed myself."
"Makes me want to die."

It's funny....until it becomes a reality. Then all of a sudden it is an unimaginable tragedy. The loss of life is always sad. The loss of a young life, a loved one, ripped away by from you by that same loved one's own hand, the knowledge that you weren't enough to keep them here....well it's something beyond words.

It leaves you scarred forever. Those same silly references that everyone makes, that even you yourself have made, take on a whole new meaning. Putting a finger to a temple and pulling an imaginary trigger. Grasping an imaginary rope above a head, cocking that head to the side. "Traffic was so slow today I nearly slit my wrists." They are everywhere. I challenge you to go a week, even a day, without hearing or seeing a joking suicide reference.

I pretend to laugh, while inside I wince. Sometimes I even see the humor, a little bit, but inside I remember horror, police, funeral, ashes, sorting through belongings, leftover bullets, shattered dreams, a thousand different individual hurts. But I smile, I shake my head, and I tell the memories to wait, there is nothing they can do. Because what am I going to do, educate the world? Change the whole way that humor works? Of course not. It is too ingrained in our conversational style.

It is who we are as a people. We joke about tragedy, all forms. Maybe it gets us through life, makes facing the unbearable just a little bit easier. Unfortunately those of us who have been personally and horribly affected by whatever tragedy is being joked about just have to grit our teeth and deal with it.

My work neighbor is going through girl problems. Each day is different, whether or not he wants to be with her, never see her again, marry her, etc. He's been obsessing, talking to me, talking to half the people in the office, hashing out his troubles. He jokes graphically about suicide constantly. It's just his way of talking. It's just his way of blowing off steam, relieving and expressing stress. He'll be quick to assure us that he's not serious, but the next day he'll ask me if he can borrow a pistol. I know that he doesn't really mean anything (and I've made fairly certain), but each joke hurts me a little more.

Finally this evening after everyone was mostly gone, I asked him to come into my cubicle. I showed him a photo I have of S, and told him a sentence of two of my story. Enough to have him looking horrified and stuttering apology after apology. I tried my best to reassure him that it was okay, not to apologize, that I just wanted him to understand something about me, so maybe he'd realize what impact his words might have.

I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but hopefully it will, at least a little bit. I feel a little better, anyway.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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swerve From: swerve Date: August 20th, 2002 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

(deep breath)

(sits down next to you, shoulders touching)

renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 20th, 2002 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: (deep breath)

*squeezing your hand*

You okay? I was worrying about you when I put in the cut-tag....
swerve From: swerve Date: August 20th, 2002 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: (deep breath)

I'm okay. I'm as okay as I can be, anyway. I wasn't sure what to write in reply to this entry, but I wanted you to know I'd read it.

It's such an awful thing we have in common. But since we do, it comforts me to see you surviving.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 21st, 2002 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's not easy.

I know what you mean...good. I'm glad you responded, and I hope I didn't upset you. I was definitely thinking about you when I posted it.

Yeah, welcome to the club nobody wants to be a member of....but I'm glad if my experience can provide you even a tiny bit of comfort.
mermaid_angst From: mermaid_angst Date: August 20th, 2002 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm glad that you said something to him too, and i'm sorry you had to deal with those feelings at work.

i think that this kind of issue comes up a lot, unfortunately. i remember that my best friend in high school had a brother who is mentally retarded. one day, she confessed to me how much it hurt her when people would use the term "retard" so casually, just the way you said... "don't be such a retard," or, "i must be retarded or something." i noticed, after that, how often our friends constantly called each other "retard" without even thinking.

i was grateful that she told me how much it hurt her, and i know i've thought about that word and others like it a little more since then. i bet that man appreciated the way in which you talked to him about it, too.
From: monotonyislife Date: September 9th, 2002 10:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember one time in high school, some kids were making fun of the handicapped people dancing in the quad. I went up there and punched one really hard in the small of his back. I told him that's for all the ones who can't talk, but most importantly that's for my little sister. I told him that if he wants to make fun of them than he better make fun of me also, because my little sister is handicapped, and hearing people just "nonchalantly" makes jokes makes me mad. I defend people who can't defend themselves. True, I believe you have to look at who its coming from, but when it hits so close to home you just don't want to look. What did your best friend in schools brother have? My sister has autism/rett's syndrome.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 10th, 2002 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, mermaid_angst seems to have deleted her journal (I miss her!), so probably won't answer this. Good for you, defending your sister like that though, and defending all those who can't defend themselves.

I have an aunt with cerebal palsey, a wonderfully sweet child/adult, so I have been similarly bothered by words like "retard" and such.
From: stilldocked Date: August 20th, 2002 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
that was very very brave, and references are made everyday that are inappropriate...and it takes a tragedy to realize how crass we really are...I never realized how many "brain-dead" comments I made until Ami's brother had a TBI...

however, remember what Mel Brooks said, "Tragedy is me cutting my finger, comedy is you failing into an open sewer grate"

renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 20th, 2002 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Too true...too true!

bighoward From: bighoward Date: August 20th, 2002 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope I've not joked about it altho I've given it a lot of thought. I prefer anything to a nursing home but let me tell you a story. i went to confusion about fifteen years ago, came home with a real bad cold and it kept getting worse. I refused to go to the hospital, thinking I'd get over it, said "I can die at home a lot more convientantly. So, a week later all of the duaghters gathered around me, insisted they were not going to leave the houise till I was checked at Oakwood. To shut them up I went and immedaitely they stuck me in. I guess that's the time I had heart failure altho the doc was never fully convinced The second day I wake up and I've got a guard in the room. They don't say anything but I know what is going on. MY knife is missing from the drawer, when I go to shave the guard opens the door ---- They think I'm gonna cut my throat with an electric razor. Every time I go to the bathroom the guard opens the door a trifle. I"M BOILING ! When my doc shows up I raise hell. He explains that some old lady was told she had cancer and she went out the window, now everyone is worried. We've been sorta friend for years, will I take him off the hook by taking to the pysch ? I agree to do it, the shrink asks why I carry a knife and i tell him I've had one since I was eight years old, I'm naked without one. Finally I tell him " Look, if I was going out a window I woulod do it! I wouldn't lie in a bed three days, WITHOUT A CIGARETTE, MAKING UP MY GODDAMN MIND ! AND if I was planning on it I'd have done it sometime between 4 and 7 am when the guard was sound asleep ! When I got back to my room the guard was gone and I never saw him again. Later that day they discharged me. Three days in the hospital and on the fourth day I got up at 7 AM, droive to Northern Ohio and Lynn Hickham drove us to Kentucky when I was GOH at a con. Later someone told the chairman "I hear he was pretty sick " and the chairman said ' I wouldn't be surprised, he was here four days and smoked almost two cartons of cigarettes and every morning we had to go to town and get him more whiskey, he'd run us out the night before " When I deline to a certain point I expect to handle it myself but meantime I'd got some ass to kick. Howard
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: August 20th, 2002 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
i read this earlier and wanted to comment, but i wasn't sure what to say. i'm still not sure, other than i think it's a good thing you shared your story with work neighbor. *hugs*
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 21st, 2002 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for being there.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: August 20th, 2002 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hugs. Love you.

Were you worried about your coworker, or just... hurt? Offended?

More to say, later, in person.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 21st, 2002 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was initially concerned for him, but even after that concern passed, it was like....you know how if you have a bruise or something, and somebody keeps bumping you, and unintentionally hurting it more? It was more like that. Some things just aren't easy to joke about.

ktlove3 From: ktlove3 Date: August 27th, 2002 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
i don't know you, but i wanted you to know what an impact your words made... as a "member of the club" albeit a distant time ago, i know how even the slightest reference can make me wince and cringe, and the task of covering those feelings so as not to cause other people embarrassment... i just wanted you to know i respect you sharing in a way that is hard for me to do today, even years later.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 28th, 2002 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Katherine...thanks for writing and sharing. It's not an easy thing to talk about, I know. I talk about it in my journal because it's so hard to mention in real life! I'm so sorry you lost somebody this way too. It's a terrible thing to have to go through.

covering those feelings so as not to cause other people embarrassment
...that is so true!! I know exactly what you're talking about!
ktlove3 From: ktlove3 Date: August 28th, 2002 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)


yes, i agree it is so difficult to talk about in real life. the sad thing is, because it happened to me so young, many of my friends today do not know about it, and it is something that i do not feel comfortable bringing up usually...
i respect that you can even talk about it in you journal... for me, i haven't even been able to do that for the most part. and sometimes it eats away, when you can't share... so silly as it may seem, for me, even talking about it with a stranger, in a medium that is rather impersonal, is still a big step that i don't usually take. i'm glad i have this time though, because sometimes it is healthier to share, even just a bit, rather than supressing all of the feelings... thanks again. i guess... i kind of needed to say that. call me silly... i'm used to it!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 30th, 2002 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's silly. I think it's great that you've decided not to let it eat away at you from inside. Even small steps will eventually get you where you need to be!

For me, it only happened 3 years ago, and it was a huge life-changing event (we were engaged), so naturally almost everyone who knew me knew about it. The people closest to me now, they know about it. But there are lots of people in my life who don't, because I've met them after it happened. Sometimes I feel like it's something I need to tell them; I feel as though I'm keeping this dreadful secret from them. But as the event grows more distant, I find less of a need to tell people about it. It's just one part of my life, not my whole life anymore, if that makes sense.

Anyway. If you want to tell me more, either now or later, you're welcome to. If you don't want to, that's perfectly okay to... Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with me. (:
maranta From: maranta Date: September 15th, 2002 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I found this entry because I've been looking at grief-related communities more since my dad passed away from health problems about a week ago. That was a very eloquent statement. I too find it very hard to hear people joke casually about death. I hope that your coworker now has a little more sensitivity about these kinds of issues. And, more importantly, I hope that you have found some healing from your loss.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 16th, 2002 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi there, thank you very much for your comments and your thoughtfullness.

I'm so so sorry to hear about your father. That must be really difficult to go through....everything must be so fresh and painful for you.... I've been lucky so far, and both of my parents are still living. You have my sympathy.

I notice from your profile that you live in Detroit...another Michigan person! I live in Royal Oak.
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