By Rebecca Lombardo
Lately, I’ve had many things going on inside my mind. I keep going back to one thought that has been keeping me awake at night. We’ve all noticed that in the last few years, suicide is often at the forefront of our minds. Mainstream media, as well as social media, have been posting a lot more about it, and it seems as if we’re hearing about another suicide every other week.
I’ve been going back and forth in my mind on this topic since I saw a heartbreaking photo online of Jim Carrey, as he helped to carry the casket of his former girlfriend from the church. That could have been my husband. It wouldn’t have been publicized like that, but regardless the pain would have been the same.
Are we doing the right thing? Is talking about suicide online so frequently making it happen more often? Or, does it just seem like it happens more often because we’re talking about it?
I look at a situation like Robin Williams, and the hell his poor daughter went through after his death. She had to close down all of her social media accounts because she was so traumatized by the negative posts about her father’s death. That’s pathetic, and how I wish I could reach out to her and tell her how sorry I am. This is what makes me question whether we’re doing the right thing. Perhaps we just aren’t doing it the right way.
I’m on social media every single day, and I am posting away about my life, my suicide attempt, my book, my bipolar. It leaves me open to a great deal of criticism. At this point, I’ve even been accused of not even really being bipolar because someone read my book, and their experiences weren’t the same as mine. So, automatically I wasn’t really sick. THAT is really sick.
I’ve been committed on three separate occasions, torn my life apart, lost every job I ever had, put so many scars on my body that I look like I walked through a plate-glass window, and I almost died. If you think I am pretending to go through these things just so now and then someone says, “Wow, I’m really sorry,” you’re the one that needs help. I’m not stupid, weak, a coward, attention seeking, or a failure at life.
I sit here and contemplate whether or not being so open about suicide is the best way to go, on my blog dedicated to being open about suicide. I’ve always been told I’m a walking paradox. This is what I truly want to believe. Yes, this is the right thing. People need to know. They need to understand what this is like. Talking about it isn’t causing it to happen more often, we’re just more open to hearing about it. That has to be the case. Otherwise, everything I’ve done has been for nothing, and I cannot stand the thought of that.
Is social media the best thing for mental illness? I think perhaps it’s like anything else, there are pros and cons. I want to believe that the pros far outweigh the cons on this one. I know that personally, and I’m certain due to my experiences, that too much of it sends me into a tailspin. I simply can’t go to that place day after day. It’s far too painful for me. I’m sure there are others that feel the same way. I do feel that it’s up to each of us to be responsible with what we post and how. Posting a picture of your bleeding arm is not helping anyone, I can promise you that.
If anything, you’ve just triggered about a thousand people to do that to themselves.
As someone who has been there, I know first-hand. Let’s just be careful with this. Let’s be kind, considerate, and respectful. That’s all I’m asking. If someone is in a bad spot, help them out if you can. If you can’t, that’s OK too. You can only do as much as you can do at any given moment. I’d love to help everyone that I scroll past, but there are sometimes when I just can’t. I have to help myself at that moment.
I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that my book is doing much more good than harm. That’s why I put myself out there. That’s why I’ve been subjected to all of this scrutiny. I’m a mere mortal, and I can only take so much. So, there will be days when I’m not doing well and maybe I can tell you why, and maybe I can’t. If putting it out into the universe helps someone, I’m extremely grateful for that. I just don’t ever want to be the source of someone else’s pain.
It’s a lot to think about all at once. I hope I’ve made at least some amount of sense. Yes, I think we are doing the right thing. I just don’t think everyone is doing it the right way. I guess when all is said and done, that’s my conclusion