For weeks now, I have been listening to Sleeping With Sirens’ song, “Better Off Dead” and All Time Low’s “Missing You”. Both are similar yet different too. “Better Off Dead” tells of this girl thinking of attempting suicide while “Missing You” is a gentler song narrating the point-of-view of the people around the one who self-harms. And while I’m sure that I’ve heard of songs about suicide or self-harm before, these two songs really placed an impression on me. I guess it was because these topics weren’t something I worry myself too much until recently.
Jamie Fraser who is a character in Diana Gabaldon’s hit series The Outlander (which now has a television series) once said something in the line of “Knowing something is not the same as seeing it with your own eyes” and I very much agree with him.
Even before reading Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, I’ve always known about people around my age suffering depression and anxiety already. Back when I was a senior in high school, news about adolescent suicides were rampant all over the country. The causes varied from the saddest to the most ridiculous but the main idea remains the same–these kids were so crushed in life that the only way they could think of to stop the pain was to end life itself. And while it was horrifying and I felt utterly sympathetic to the parents, it wasn’t that life-altering personally.
Things like these never do affect you significantly until it happens within your circle. I accidentally saw wounds hidden underneath my friend’s wristwatch and that was the day suicide and self-harm affected me greatly. I was too shock to do anything but comfort him while he cried. Then, a few months ago, one of my best friends admitted (via text) that she too self-harms. So while I have not seen the scars on her wrist, that image of my guy friend’s wrist flashed vividly in my mind. These two people that I seriously care for really made my opinions about suicide and self-harm more focused and have driven me to research about the issues further.
I’ve read about how music can both trigger and reduce the risk of suicide. Also about how self-harm is, in fact, common among teenagers. The medical community calls it “non-suicidal self-injury” or NSSI. But I don’t think this reassures the people concerned. Rare as it may, failed suicidal attempt is still one of the causes of self-harming. And you never know what exactly is going on inside another person’s mind.
As a teenager, it saddens me to know these things happen. But I also understand some (if not all) of the burdens that these teens are carrying. We are in this fragile point in our lives where we become aware of how the world works and the harshness that comes with it. I know it’s hard and we all have our own coping mechanisms so I’m not even going through all the “Stop Self-Harm” campaign. So why am I writing this, then? Because throughout the sad and long journey of this particular train of thought, there was one thing that I realized.
Yes, we are born alone and we die alone. But the time in between is definitely intertwined with other people’s lives and you can never deny that. The things we imprint in this world are things we should hold responsible. You have to at least try to consider how they would affect the people who care for you. Because oftentimes, the marks that we leave outlive us–whether it’s a memory of a hug one gave or a dead body with a wrist wound.
So, as much as you can, choose well.