As a rule, I do not usually write about suicide.
My daytime job is that of a news journalist, and in that business, you can open up a horrid can of worms when talking about someone who killed him- or herself. It’s usually better to just avoid the situation unless others were killed.
Now, in fairness, she is a celebrity. Celebrities do not get the same rules as everyday people. When Paris Jackson sneezes, I’m sure there is someone out there speculating on whether her sneeze was an attempt for Michael Jackson to return to the mortal realm and finish the work he started.
But, if I’m reading these articles correctly, it seems that Paris was told she couldn’t see Marilyn Manson in concert, got angry, locked herself in her room, and began to slit her wrist.
If Paris legitimately tried to kill herself, my heart goes out to her. I’ve been there and know the pains that can come with depression. But shame on the tabloids for covering this garbage.
In reality, suicide is a problem that needs to be addressed. Statistics show that every year, 34,598 people commit suicide, about 94 people a day. That’s more deaths than by homicide (18,361). Furthermore, 894,950 people attempt suicide each year, an average of one attempt every 38 seconds.
In pop culture, suicide has a twinge of romantic nature to it. I blame this on society’s support of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare wasn’t serious, people. That play is not supposed to be considered how love at first sight should work.
So, pop culture looks as suicide as a romantic concept, when really it is, for the most part, the last act of a person in intense amounts of pain.
British comedian Stephen Fry, himself diagnosed with bipolar disorder, recently talked about his most recent attempt of suicide in 2012.
From the article, Fry discussed the logic, or rather, lack of logic, behind suicide.
Addressing the issue of suicide, he said: “There is no ‘why’, it’s not the right question. There’s no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn’t take their own life.”
The QI host also tried to convey the symptoms of the disorder to non-sufferers and how difficult it could be to cope with them.
“If unmedicated, there are times when I am so exuberant, so hyper, that I can go three or four nights without sleeping and I’m writing and I’m doing stuff and I’m so grandiose and so full of self-belief that it’s almost impossible to deal with me. I can’t stop speaking, I’m incredible, I go on shopping sprees.”
But this could be followed by depressive episodes. He said: “There are times when I’m doing QI (Quite Interesting) and I’m going, ‘Ha ha, yeah, yeah,’ and inside I’m going ‘I want to fucking die. I … want … to … fucking … die.'”
I can speak from experience when I say this: Fry is right on the mark. For me, I never woke up and thought “I should kill myself because…” There was never a because. I just wanted to die. My thoughts were filled with ways to kill myself, not whys. The two times I tried to kill myself, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who got me to the hospital ASAP and saved my life.
So when suicides happen in fiction, especially in comic books, I get bothered, especially when the suicide isn’t finite. Spiderman‘s Mysterio, for example, killed himself at one point, and was sent back in order to keep balance.
You can’t come back from suicide, and it’s lazy writing when you use suicide as a plot point and retcon on it.
In any case, I think we need to stop romanticizing suicide. It’s not romantic. It’s depressing and sad and can’t be taken back.
I hope Paris Jackson can figure out her problems and get help, in any case. If she hurt herself for attention, that’s a different problem entirely, and my thoughts go out to her.
And if you have thoughts of suicide, please don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Also, if you feel the need, I will be more than happy to talk to anyone about their thoughts.