‘The good half live in arrogance’

Celebrity suicides tend to bring discussions of mental health and society back into the forefront. I wrote about this subject a bit last July, and with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it’s back again.

I think there’s a sense of helplessness when we see it. I’ve seen many people sharing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (which is 1-800-273-8255,) and I’ve seen people pointing out that in most cases, a person who is contemplating suicide is less likely to reach out, so we should be checking on our friends, even the ones we think are the “strong” ones.

I think we crave answers. We want to be able to understand why some people who seemingly have everything going for them could end it like that. And I think that for some, that desire to understand crosses into territory where people can spout so-called answers, even when those answers have no tangible roots.

And that got me thinking of lyrics from the song “Magazine” by Pedro the Lion:

This line is metaphysical
And on the one side
And on the one side
The bad half live in wickedness
And on the other side
And on the other side
The good half live in arrogance
And there’s a steep slope
With a short rope
This line is metaphysical
And there’s a steady flow
Moving to and fro

“The good half live in arrogance.” That’s the line that stands out to me. The reason is that a few days ago, I saw religious people in a Facebook thread being judgmental, claiming to hold the answers as if religion was some magical cure for mental illness.

I don’t think these people are bad people. I don’t think they were intentionally being judgmental, but I think their words were not rooted in empathy or understanding.

I’m still thinking about some of the things that were said. I’m going to post some pieces of that thread below. I have covered the names and profile pictures (except for mine) because of two things – 1. The post was not public, and 2. I’m not posting this in an attempt to shame anyone. My intent is to get people to think about what they’re saying, how it comes across, and who might be reading it (i.e. a person who’s struggling.)

This was the original post:

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Before anyone starts a #NotAllChristians hashtag, I found this comment to be much kinder and empathetic:

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Then we have a blanket judgement about journalists:

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In this, I learned that non-Christians don’t have morals or values:

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And then this happened:

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If there is one thing you get out of any of this – one thing at all – yelling “suck it up!” to a person who is struggling with depression or suicidal ideation is not the way to help that person.

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