Suicide is not funny.

A few days ago I saw the same article as many others on social media. Amazon, a popular online shopping website, was selling t-shirts that joke about suicide. I joke about suicide, as a suicide attempt survivor and as someone who jokes to make it hurt less. My jokes are not for everyone and I tend to reserve them for my friends with mental health issues who have a similar dark sense of mental health humour. The t-shirts are being pulled after a great petition and letter writing campaign were launched.

Not all Amazon websites have gotten rid of the t-shirts, though including Amazon.ca, the Amazon I use. I did a quick search and found a t-shirt that reads “SUICIDE. Makes our lives so much easier.” I decided to leave a review. 1 star and a comment that reads

I’m a long time customer of Amazon.ca. I am also a suicide attempt survivor. I cannot imagine how horrible the lives of those who love me would have been if I had been successful. Thoughts of suicide have also made my life very difficult. There is nothing “easy” about suicide. It’s horrible. It’s killing people. I strongly suggest Amazon. ca follows what some of the other Amazon websites have done and get rid of this product.

Amazon aside, when this issue first appears on my Facebook feed via The Globe & Mail, I decided to leave a quick comment. I planned on writing something similar to what I just sent to Amazon and decided against it when I saw the 3 other comments. These commenters went on about how people are too sensitive and cannot take a joke and one claimed that people need to suck it up and accept that life is hard. The unsafe space they had created made me change my plan. I left a comment stating simply, “This is bad.” I was very upset at what the other commenters had said. Comments like those would lead me to believe that they have never known (or think they do not know) someone who has had suicidal thoughts, has attempted suicide or has completed a suicide. When you know someone who has been or is suicidal it is a little more difficult to say that the person should just suck it up and accept that life is hard. When someone has died….how can you say that? That is the discrimination faced by suicidal people.

This is a huge reminder for me that discrimination is still alive and well. Suicide is not funny. The only answer I know is to keep talking. I don’t like talking about my attempt or my thoughts and if it means that by doing so I can educate someone then I will do so, safely. I have always been so proud of the mental health blogging community here on WordPress (and other blogging sites). We make a huge difference in the lives of each other and the others out there who read our blogs. Many of you have taught me and from you feedback, many of you have learned from me. Let’s keep ourselves safe and let’s keep educating others! ❤

Image: “Suicide is not a joke. So stop making jokes. It’s not cool, nor funny.” Image of one hand placed across the other holding a piece of ripped paper that has “happiness” written on it.

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Suicide is not funny.

  1. I saw that and signed and retweeted the petition. They have a shirt that says Suicide Watch of one person standing on a chair with a noose around his neck and another guy sitting in a chair watching him with a bag of popcorn! I broke down and cried when I saw that. My dad is a Naval veteran who suffers from PTSD who was placed under suicide watch in our local VA hospital just two years ago. It wasn’t funny then and it isn’t funny now. Shame on you Amazon! Thanks for reminder!!

  2. Reblogged this on The Bipolar Compass and commented:
    Fantastic post! I saw that and signed and retweeted the petition. Please go online and sign it!
    https://www.change.org/p/amazon-com-remove-suicide-shirts-from-amazon/c
    They have a shirt that says Suicide Watch of one person standing on a chair with a noose around his neck and another guy sitting in a chair watching him with a bag of popcorn! I broke down and cried when I saw that. My dad is a Naval veteran who suffers from PTSD who was placed under suicide watch in our local VA hospital just two years ago. It wasn’t funny then and it isn’t funny now. Shame on you Amazon! Thanks for reminder!!

  3. Reblogged this on Drem and commented:
    The feeling one gets when they take too many pills and are okay with it… and enjoy the feeling of their slowing breathes… and their clammy skin. It’s not okay. It’s not funny.

  4. I just saw the tshirt on amazon a few days ago. Thanks for writing about it. I don’t know how anyone can think it is a joke. But there are cruel people in this world. And we have to speak out against them every chance we get.

  5. One of my blogging friends lost her daughter in law to a suicide by hanging in December, so you can imagine how triggered she was when she saw the shirt. I had reblogged on my blog and she saw it there. I can’t even imagine how triggering that was. I have lost several friends to suicide, mostly because stigma prevented them from getting the help they needed. Jokes about suicide (except, of course, the private ones between friends who know) are completely unacceptable. People have become numb to violence and think it’s funny. People get so numb that they have to amp up the stimulus until they can finally feel something! Some of them will go to extremes like joining ISIS. The world is so fucked up.

    • I have never lost someone to suicide and I can’t imagine how that feels. We have become numb to violence. I found myself watching Spartacus recently and wondered why I was laughing at watching fictional Gladiators kill each other. I would like to assume that if I saw real violence I would not laugh and at the same time I don’t think violence of any kind should ever be funny even if it is fictional.

  6. A great post and definitely something that more people need to be aware of nowadays. It seems though that many companies are cashing in on mental illness and eating disorders. I think it’s safe to assume that majority of well-educated adults would be against this but those who aren’t need to understand that whilst the content doesn’t offend or hurt them, it may very well do so those of us who are sensitive or it may convey a horrible message to young people who are struggling and who haven’t yet found a way to seek help.

  7. While these shirts are pretty tasteless, as a member of the suicide community I find the outrage over this a knife in our back.

    Suicide prevention organizations and mental health insitution do their best to shame us, withholding assisted suicide and violate our right to die. There’s no bigger offense to suicidal people than trying to save them. Maybe you’re one of the few lucky ones who didn’t actually want to die, but those who try to protect us are against us – “Want to die? Sorry, consent is for idiots! Your life is not your own!”.

    I find the prevention campaigns more offensive than these tasteless shirts.

    • Maybe I will sound like I’m contradicting myself but my stance on ending your life is a tad on the same level as you. I believe in assisted suicide and also find suicide prevention campaigns to be offense. I believe in a person’s right to determine if they live or die. Just because I survived my attempt and years later started enjoying life doesn’t mean that my right to die in that moment was any more or less. One of the hardest things I had to do was uphold my professional obligation to keep someone alive when I personally believed they had a right to die. That was such a shitty phone call, listening to them tell me that they knew I believed in their right to die while I had to explain that legally and professionally I had to tell them otherwise. People are always going to end their lives. I think people have the right to have the opportunity to try and live a life that makes them want to live and I cannot decide for someone what they ultimately want to do.

      These shirts make fun of something serious and prevention programs and mental health programs are ignorant towards the simple fact that our right to live or die is really the one true right we have. Both are ignorant and popular beliefs.

      • Well, seeing this I understand we’re on the same page.
        I do think these shirts are tasteless. I love black humor but it’s not the type of humor you can just spit anywhere. Black humor should be in a space where all people involved are aware they’re dealing with fairly offensive content.
        I’m not a fan of censoring, but there are a few limits.

      • I read your post on suicide, murder and self-harm and found it very interesting. I agree with some points for sure and other points I may have to read up on a bit more. For myself, when I was engaging in self-harm I was standing by my right to express myself through this means. These behaviours shouldn’t be all good or all bad, unless I chose them to be and then only for myself.

        It is always nice to meet someone who has similar views as they are not always the most popular ones!

  8. Hi Kristen,

    I’ve followed your blog off and on since you reviewed my “coming-of-age-in-a-mental-hospital” novel, “There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes,” waaay back in 2013. (Your book review here: https://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/there-are-reasons-noah-packed-no-clothes-book-review/.) I’ve always found your writing sensitive and insightful. This post is no exception.

    But I stumbled when you wrote that you decided to not post your comment because of the “unsafe space they had created”. I just wanted to encourage you to share your thoughts, especially in those seemingly unsafe spaces. You have a great opportunity to educate people, it seems to me, and I think people will be open to that education when they understand the wealth of personal and professional experience you bring to the table. Who knows? You may have changed some minds on that comment board!

    Thanks for making such a thoughtful post about these terrible shirts and, more importantly, the terrible attitude behind them. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Cheers–
    Robert

    • Thank you 🙂 I did think about how I maybe should have posted anyways and I don’t regret not saying anything. There are times of when I really feel pulled to and other times when I do not. As I believe I said in that post, I don’t really like talking about my experience with suicide so I am currently more picky with where I share it.

      Thank you for your support! It’s always nice to know that there are people out there that want to hear what we have to say 🙂

  9. I agree it’s no joke and no idea why any company would think it’s appropriate item to sell. Do you know if it was a 3rd party seller or directly from amazon? Not that it matters, I am just curious if they chose to consciously order and buy the product to sell, or if someone listed it and it made it through the checks they claim to do on 3rd party items.

Let's Dialogue!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s