“If you see this, this is a sign not to kill yourself”

I’m scrolling through Instagram, and after the ad for diet tea I see this. White background, black text. Pretty stark post.

“If you see this, this is a sign not to kill yourself”.

It’s a simple as that. Post it up on Instagram and you are scott free if anyone kills themselves. That’s the thought process I suppose. “Oh well. I posted about it on Instagram!? Why didn’t they NOT kill themselves?” I know that’s usually not the case, but I can’t help but furrow my brow at people who post like that, very Tumblr-esque.

If. You really care about people’s mental health and their well-being. You reach out. Blanket statements and broad strokes about being there for people don’t help. When someone is on the edge of killing themselves, the fear of burden and disappointment stops them from reaching out. They don’t want to expose themselves, they feel ashamed. That’s when it’s your responsibility to do something. Yes, I said responsibility. If you see a cry for help and don’t do anything, you are guilty. Even if it’s not a serious cry for help, you let it slide.

In the world of self-deprecating humor, tweets and serious mental illness, I understand that it’s hard to follow through whenever someone says, “LOL I’m going to kill myself”. That would take up all your time. But there are people, who try to reach out on social media. Their post rubs you the wrong way. Why would they post this? It isn’t like them, it seems a bit. Off.

That’s when you reach out. It’s just a text. “Hey! How are you?” Just letting someone know that you are thinking of them. You don’t have to be their emergency contact, but damn. Just care about people, care about something that isn’t about you. I’ve seen far too many people cry out for help and no one blinks an eye. A friend, a person in your class, who is obviously hurting. But no one wants to be that person. No one wants to be solely responsible for someone’s well-being. Which, I get. That can be daunting, especially because rarely is someone equipped to handle a someone elses shit.

And it’s scary to see someone hurting that badly. I’ve been in hospital rooms, I’ve been people’s one phone call out of a facility, I’ve talked someone off the ledge. It’s not something I’m proud about, that I wear like a “I’m better than you” badge. But the fact that I’ve been the one to reach out to these people when no one else has. How is that okay? Why can’t people be better? I’m tired of people parading like they care because they donate to hurricane relief, and yet they can’t message an acquaintance who is going through a hard time. You only want to help when it makes you look better? My parents taught me that doing the right thing never hurts in the end. It may hurt in the moment, but you always feel good about doing the right thing.

I only chastise these “do-gooders” because I was there a year ago. I was that person who wanted someone to reach out to me because I was ashamed to admit that I was lonely and needed help. I never want someone to feel that way, so I try. I at least try to make them feel like things are going to be okay. It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.