Last week was National Suicide Week.
When the word "suicide" gets mentioned, there can be a lot of different reactions. Some people, many of whom have never seriously spent time learning the facts or dealing with the reality of the topic, might call suicide victims "selfish."
The survivors of previous attempts might go quiet at that.
The friends of those survivors might not.
I belong to that second category. I've talked two of my friends down from suicide, one multiple times.
I especially remember one time I talked one of those friends down. It was the first week of classes last year, and I was new on campus when my friend told me through Skype that she was ready and willing to kill herself. Later that day, when I was done crying and shaking, I went to Comedy Knight just so that I could find something to try to laugh at for my own sake. A different friend had to remind me to eat that day because I was left so raw. It was one of the most challenging things I've ever had to do, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but at the same time, I'd really rather not have to.
Suicide has many factors and causes — mental health key among them — and both of my friends had the same problem: depression. They both had used self-harm as a means of releasing their feelings. They both needed someone to talk to about their problems, and they both had tried getting help, only to not get the right kind of help, or not enough.
They're also both still alive, and that's not something I'll ever take for granted again.
My friends mean the world to me. In Hogwarts' terms, I am a true Hufflepuff, always ready to work hard if I have my friends beside me.
The fact that I almost lost two of them to suicide changed my entire outlook on the subject.
Now, when my father said that Robin Williams had been selfish, I loudly protested.
How could I not?
Because consider it like this. Mental health issues can often appear as very large, very difficult subjects to even talk about, let alone deal with. And when they start picking up momentum, when they start becoming too much to ignore, they can be extremely deadly.
Even when a person does try to get out of the vicious cycle that mental diseases such as bipolar disorder and depression can create, they often end up trapped or left with nowhere to go, very much like the boulder scene in the first Indiana Jones movie.
Suicide is only selfish if you consider someone killed while running from a rolling boulder selfish as well.