Let me try to explain why I had a knee jerk negative reaction to the news that Facebook is launching suicide prevention tools on its site the other day. First off I think it’s praiseworthy that the company is trying to help people who are suicidal, of course. That goes without saying. But I had a trigger response to the idea that someone like me might one day feel suicidal and post something there that would be policed, and I felt scared all of a sudden. Really scared. Though I’ve often been truly suicidal, I don’t actually want to die. And when I’m suicidal, I’m not thinking rationally at all. I got scared that I might see or read something that though it’s intended to help, might scare me into doing the very thing I shouldn’t. That’s how suicidality is for me. Sometimes when people try to help, I run the other way out of fear. That’s why I often end up hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and ideation. For me, suicidality is it’s own mental illness, if you will. If I were able to think clearly, I wouldn’t want to take my own life in the first place and I wouldn’t need psychiatric help.
But that’s just me. I know everyone doesn’t have my experience. However this is why I reacted so poorly when I read the news and why I got so frightened. It’s why I’d still be scared to post anything on Facebook if I were ever suicidal again. I can’t be sure how I’d react to any type of help that didn’t come from a person talking to me face to face, in a safe environment. For me, it’s too precarious and I may make a permanent mistake that I don’t intend. So though I thoroughly support Facebook in their mental health efforts, I know I can’t utilize the services if I’m feeling suicidal. I just can’t take the risk.