Suicide Isn’t Painless, Mr Jones.

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BOBJonesd pic

Not once but twice this week I’ve been disgusted to find suicide being tossed around by people who really do know better, first as a political jabfest on Twitter between Judith Collins and Max Coyle, and yesterday the ruminations of Doesn’t Deserve the Sir Bob Jones on his glee at successfully telling someone to go kill themselves. And that’s just the stuff from people demanding our respect. An amazing amount of suicide jokes, trolling and bullying is said, posted on the Internet, texted and scribbled on notes every second of every day.

Suicide isn’t funny, and it’s nothing to be proud of inducing.

Oh but we were just joking around. Oh as if Judith Collins would go kill herself. Oh but I’m just recalling a humorous memory. Oh as if we really thought Charlotte Dawson would try. Oh he knew we didn’t hate him. Oh she was always being dramatic about killing herself. Oh as if we thought she’d take the trolls seriously. Oh as if reading/hearing hate speech towards (minority/disability/etc) would be the final straw.

All I see when trolls – both famous and nameless – are confronted with someone ending their life because of what the troll said to them, or even what the troll said about someone who they like/is like them – is endless excuses and denial.

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Without going into it too much, I only have a couple of cats lives left. Depression has been my black dog since the first thing I remember, and I was only 11 the first time I tried to get out of here. It has taken 15 long hard years of therapy, 3 steps forward, 2 back, 4 forward, 5 back, and so on, but I finally learnt that I may feel despair now, but it WILL get better, it always does, and if I can just ground myself, I ride out those dips looking forward to feeling better, instead of feeling like I’ll never be better.

Other people in my life sadly never got to that place. It all got too much and they couldn’t get through it. I do not call that weakness. I am amazed by the strength that got them as far as it could, after living traumatising lives. And I am utterly devastated for those of us left mourning someone we loved but couldn’t save.

I’m baring my soul here because I want to tell people who think making stupid comments on the Internet and in the media have no consequences – who distance themselves from actual suicide attempts and deaths – that they do have blame to carry. And that nothing about suicide is funny.

Would it be so funny if you were the one who got a desperate text from your friend when she OD’d after being trolled mercilessly on a chat site, drove 30 minutes away far exceeding the speed limit and break down the front door to find her in bed, blue, unresponsive and do CPR – the laptop open next to her – still showing the torment? I didn’t find it funny. Finding someone near death is fucking scary.
Would it be so funny if it was your teenage cousin found dead in her bedroom one morning? And the family found out after searching her computer that she secretly wanted to be a boy, saw a Twitter hate war against trans people and decided he too would never be accepted or loved for who he really was, and hung himself? Finding someone hung isn’t funny, trust me.

Bob Jones – would it be so funny for the man you successfully encouraged to kill’s family? Did you ever think about that? Did he have a partner? Parents? Kids? Friends? Of course he did. The very same kids were then no doubt brought up on welfare. But that’s all good. You can slam them for that now too. Oh wait – except if you hadn’t been such a sadist they would have a dad. Good lord. Do you have a heart?

Would it have been funny if the online bullies who made my life hell in my early 20’s – who went so far as to stalk me and troll me in real life, succeeded in their sustained attack encouraging me to kill myself? Was it funny that I hated myself and was so scared I OD’d? Would it be funny that my son wouldn’t have me if it worked, and had to grow up without his beloved mum? No, it’s not.

The truth is, suicide trolls, that what you post on chat, message boards, blogs, editorials, Twitter, FB etc has untold effect on people reading it, as well as who it’s directed at. There is a reason that when the MSM publishes a story even remotely connected to suicide, they list links to get help with depression. Posting suicide stuff on Twitter aimed at some politician IS dangerous. It could seriously be the last bit of hate and encouragement a suicidal person reading it can survive. Writing and publishing editorials bragging about inducing suicide not only encourages these trolls, it may also be that last bit of encouragement a struggling businessman needs to pull the trigger. I’m not joking. But hey – clearly Bob doesn’t give a damn about that. But I do. I’m pretty sure 99.9% of us do.

We need to have a national conversation about suicide. Roastbusters has us having a national conversation about rape, but story after story of young Kiwi’s ending their lives thanks to bullying, encouragement and idealising have raised mutterings but not outrage. We are living in a world where the strong ignore trolls but the vulnerable are just expected to do the same, even though they cannot. There are many things about suicide we need to discuss, and one of the main ones is – is it ok to let our fellow citizens get away with inducing, encouraging, bullying and idealising suicide? Is it really ok to sacrifice hundreds of lives every year to both nameless and shameless tormentors?
No.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Rachel. As someone who has a close friend with depression, I understand.

    For Bob Jones and people like him, their lack of empathy and their belief in their own “humour” is actually closer to a form of psychopathy rather than any supposed “expression of free speech”.

    And why is is that when people like Jones make stupid comments like his, that they default to the “My right to Free Speech” defence – but if you dare criticise them, well, that’s evidently not allowed. Free speech doesn’t apply.

    Only to trolls, evidently.

    Before the Age of the Internet, trolls (ie; awkward, anti-social psychopaths) were isolated and their nasty opinions kept largely to themselves.

    With the internet, they can spread their toxic hate, and what’s more, enable each other to confirm their behaviour.

    My friend steers clear of much of the ‘net. The crap is simply too poisonous, and even I find it beyond belief on many occassions.

    • When has Bob Jones ever stated people shouldn’t be able to criticise him? I think he loves it when people take him on just as I am pretty sure he is chuckling away at the reaction exemplified here.

      • Thanks for this Rachel.
        Jones is a disgrace to the human race.

        Gosman, you creep, of course Jones finds suicide hilarious.
        The guy is a sociopath. He still lives in a cave.

      • Trouble is, gosman, the people who take spite blows to the heart are not the sort to relish taking on the likes of Jones – and you know it.

        I’d take him on. You’d take him on. Frank would, too. But Rachael probably wouldn’t – unless she was feeling particularly strong and knew she had enough in the tank to cover both the encounter and the inner aftermath.

        If you haven’t been reduced to the aftermath horrors you’ve only anecdote and imagination to work from. Like hearing about the Christchurch earthquakes instead of being there.

        Hush then, gosman, and let Jones defend himself – if he still has a leg to stand on.

  2. Thank you for speaking about this Rachael.

    Within my family we have had a suicide, over 20 years ago now.
    It still feels fresh, though not as raw. And we miss him, both who he was, and the man he would have developed to be.

    We also have a family member who suffers depression.
    Creative, intelligent, funny and generous of spirit. We all keep one eye out for him as he does not always see the signs when the downward slide starts.
    And providing that extra little bit of support, or company when he starts to isolate himself has proved to be very effective in helping him manage his condition.

    So, again, thank you.

  3. Tim Minchin has a line, in his song Prejudice, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can break a heart” that we all need reminding of.

  4. Thank you for this Rachael. It is sorely needed in a time when ‘casual’ comments and insults can go viral and/or be the last straw for someone in a vulnerable place.

    A conversation does need to be started, one that involves Mental Health authorities that are usually under resourced and often employ staff that are ill equipped in terms of training, available time or indeed the compassion needed to support someone with serious chronic depression and mental health struggles. Again, thank you.

  5. I went covered in fake blood to Bob Jones office in Wellington last week and gave him my opinion of his opinion, swear words and all where appropriate. Looked the piece of filth in the eye and told him what a @!*! he is. Was the most worthwhile protest I have EVER done and I’ve done a few now. His office is full of young women and he looks just like Ebonezza Scrooge all gaunt & nasty in an expensive suit 3 sizes to big.

    All he could do was insult me on my looks and I couldn’t stop laughing – until I stopped and gave him both barrels. He was going to assault me but I reminded him there were three witnesses so he stopped and just kept raving on about how the police should get there faster – it was hilarious. Made sure he knew I didn’t give a shit about the police and if filth like him kept writing the crap they did in public newspapers I would be back and others would be joining me.

    I spoke to Bob Jones like nobody has spoken to him for a very long time – if ever. Tehehehehehe – BEST THERAPY EVER. Got a few photos but having trouble uploading to twitter, check out my facebook account for more details.

    When I knew the police would be almost there I left and headed for ACC where I did get arrested. Was a very good day. Now just need all other people being hurt like I am to do the same and we’d change the world.

  6. Rachael – I hear you! Yes, I have met people who tried to take their lives, who cut their wrists, who have been suffering mental illness, addiction and so forth. I myself have been close to it, and it makes me angry every day, how some out there, like that “Bob (the Building Investor Magnate, anything but a “builder”) Jones”, make such stupid, irresponsible and plain nasty remarks.

    There is a thing called Karma, and I have seen it at work, and those that throw away such nasty comments, they may one day suffer a fate they never wished. That is not what I would want to wish them, but some of them, at least some, should sit down and ponder, and reflect, on how irresponsible, nasty and thoughtless they may at times have been.

    Some may learn, but others won’t. We can only try to raise the issues and get more like minded to make the necessary appeals and calls for fairness, justice and responsible actions.

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