Opening up a can of worms with this one: Leelah Alcorn.
I grieve for this poor girl, sincerely, however as a survivor of bullying and abuse I must say as a society we have GOT to stop glorifying and publicizing these suicide events. What she endured at the hands of her abusers is unacceptable, however this trend of child and teen suicide to “make a change” is disturbing. Make bold statements, speak your mind, share your struggle, inspire others with a LIFE of over coming adversity. Those are the stories that deserve massive media attention. How many other beautiful children to we have to lose in order to realize that?? As long as people see suicide as the only way to bring attention to their struggle it will continue to happen and in greater numbers. The problem is with society and it’s need to sensationalize to sell, not with its inequality or lack of acceptance.
Society has been in a shift toward acceptance over the past 30 years. With that shift we have unfortunately lost our accountability as well. Bullies bully with no consequence because of behavioral issues, or problems at home, or abusive pasts of their own etc etc etc all in the name of acceptance and understanding. The answer is not love everyone. The answer is: hold yourself accountable for your actions and how they affect other people.
I myself have hundreds of reasons to go on a complete rampage against society for the way I’ve been treated over the years, but am I going to? No, because while my actions might make me feel better or bring me a sense of “justice” going on a public rampage will have detrimental effects on others. Even though I have a clinically defined brain abnormality and bluntly do not process my emotions as well as “normal” people, that does not excuse me from poor behavior.
I hold myself to these standards not because society demands it, but out of respect for myself and the importance of others around me. That is the message that needs to be spreading like wildfire. That is when we will finally see a positive change in society. Until then, all is lost in rhetoric and politics, even Leelah’s short precious life and it’s traumatic end.
I might be a bit callous toward the suicide thing only because I’ve managed to avoid it myself. I understand how it feels to want to end your life, but I also see how inspiring a life continued even after many adversities can be. To inspire people you have to keep on going. I wish more kids could see that. Sure a suicide will cause grief, possibly some anger, a reaction that will get people talking for a WHILE, but rising above adversity keeps people talking for generations. I don’t understand where the suicide trend came from, and honestly it’s happened so much lately soon it won’t be news at all. Then where will these desperate kids go/turn to in search of the voice and attention they crave?
And let me clarify not ALL suicides are cries for attention, but this one clearly was. I mean she admitted it herself in her post. She wanted to call attention to the issues that plagued her, and she got results. People are talking. This is a dangerous line we’re dancing here. I’m not saying the issue shouldn’t be addressed because yes, a million times yes it needs to be discussed, HOWEVER I can’t sit by knowing that out there many other people feeling just as desperate and lost as Leelah are watching the way society reacts to this.
Also, as someone who’s been suicidal I hate the way that this particular incident WAS purely for attention. It only solidifies the negative stigma associated with suicide as a selfish attention seeking stunt.
In summary there simply needs to be a counter balance somewhere. People need to see inspirational stories about those who have over come their adversity, not just stories about those who lost the fight. Does that make sense?? I’m a bit frazzled by a million other things going on and quite tired. I do grieve for her, I just want to address the other issues here.