Let’s Talk: Depression, Self-Harm, and Suicide

I am currently reading Amy Zhang’s “Falling into Place.”

I am in the middle of the fifteenth chapter when it dawned me: Why have I been reading too many sad books these past few years? That being said, why are there so many sad books for young adults in the past few years?

The first book that I read about suicide that I can really remember is Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why” which, because it made such an impact on me, I proceeded on countering with my own version.

And also because in 2012, my then-boyfriend, who has been diagnosed with depression after he swallowed a bunch of pills asked me if I read it because someone told him it’s a good book (although IDT the person who said so knew about his history). I offered to read it before he does so that I’d know if it’s helpful or a trigger warning, or something like that (I deemed it a trigger-warning in his case).

I have always known that depression, self-harm, and suicide are real issues — not just for teens, but for adults as well. I worked for suicide hotlines in high school and I’m currently part of the TWLOHA online community. I went above and beyond in helping people who I know were suffering of these three things… But it still surprised me that according to my Goodreads account, I have read 16 books about these issues, and I have another 11 on my to-read list. In the three years since I read “Thirteen Reasons Why” I read 16 books about depression, self-harm, and suicide — and that’s just on the top 100 list as per Goodreads. I shudder to think the number that didn’t quite make it there.

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So let’s get this straight:

Some of these books paint a real picture of what depression, self-harm, and suicide are about. But some of them painted it in a way that it’s romanticized. That it’s a beautiful thing.

Let me tell you this:

Depression, self-harm, and suicide are not good.

Just because you read about them doesn’t mean that your own story will be that way. Just because someone was pining, or falling in love with messed up characters, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have that in your life as well. Most people who die of these things die alone in their rooms, in hotels, on the streets.

Depression, self-harm, and suicide are not beautiful things: they are scary, damaging, and heartbreaking.

They affect people who love you more than it affects you. In its aftermath, you’re lying cold in the ground while you’re ending the lives of people around you. Think of your parents who love you, your siblings who look up to you, your best friends who need you…

So if you’re experiencing these less than happy things, talk to someone. Get help.

Don’t die.

Breathe, damnit.

Live.

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