Casually Suicidal | Sarah Liberti | TEDxAdelphiUniversity


Translator: Anna Kliza
Reviewer: Queenie Lee I’d like to start off with a joke. (Laughter) What do you call
a student of music with a 4.0? Suicidal. (Laughter) Oh my gosh, you laugh. But I’m sure most of you
are very uncomfortable right now. Let’s just linger in this discomfort. (Laughter) I’m also sure I heard your laugh, so some of you found humour in that. But maybe some of you related to that
in one odd way or another. Discomfort, humour, relatability
often run hand in hand when we talk about the big scary s-word: suicide. My name is Sarah, and everything pertaining
to that “joke” relates to me. I’m currently in my fourth year
studying music here. I really do have a 4.0 right now, and I have danced with depression
and the very dark intrusive thoughts that come along with it. As I scroll through social media
and hear conversations between people, I realise that suicide is something
people are actually joking about and people are actually laughing about. It makes me wonder what made suicide
such a casual thing to tease about. Well. Have I brought some examples? Let’s take a stroll
through our social media together. Facebook. “I’m pre-peared to die.” “I want to pickle-d myself.” “I tomato-ly want to die.” “I have no raisin to live.” “I avocado-n’t want to be alive.” “I want to corn-mit suicide.” All right. Onto Yik Yak – an App the allows you
to anonymously confess things. You can search by region,
and I searched under Adelphi’s tag. “This class is going
to be the death of me.” Smiley face gun emoji,
that’s a popular one. “I’m so lonely.” “At that point in the semester where I
don’t look both ways when I jaywalk.” “I sometimes cut my arms but lately I’ve been thinking
about cutting my wrists.” To Twitter. “Every day is just 24 hours of me
not trying to kill myself.” “If I kill myself,
I’ll stop wishing to die.” “I won’t have to stress
about the future if I kill myself.” “I won’t be suicidal anymore
if I just kill myself.” “Good morning. I want to die
in December of this year.” “Just reminding everyone that I really
want to die in October of this year.” “Maybe you don’t want to die
but you don’t care if you lived.” “I’m not even dropping hints
that I want to die anymore. Honestly, someone please
run me over or stab me already.” “Sometimes I want to die for a day
just to see who really cares.” So. Tumblr. Spongebob. “I’ll kill the first person that moves.” Spongebob again. “Me deciding if I want
to go to school or kill myself.” Wow. Hang in there. A noose pun. Oh. Forget me not. From this year, this month actually, “I’ll just kill myself. Bye.” And then an Instagram post – I’m not sure if these
are lyrics to a song – “If they say to kill yourself
then you will try it.” But what intrigued me the most about
this Instagram post are the hashtags: suicidal, cutting, depression quotes,
bulimia, freak, die, monster. And there were three words in German
that I translated at the bottom here: blade, to cut, scratches. I’m a quiet person, so I hear everything. Behind me sat two girls in the class where our professor
was always five minutes late. A says to B, “I’d rather jump
out the window than to be here.” B replies, “We’re only
on the second floor. You’d have to swan dive out, so your head
was the first thing that hit the ground, then you’d die.” Sitting in my statistics class
this semester, the second week of school,
two boys are sitting behind me, and one says to the other, “This class already makes me
want to kill myself.” The other one chuckled. I made the mistake of assuming that in all of these situations
the people were fine. That because they were talking about pain
with humour, they were okay. That they did it for a laugh;
they did it to relate. But it got me thinking:
what if that was their flare? What if instead of laughing,
they were screaming? What was it about having to present
their pain through humour? I believe it was because they
were uncomfortable actually talking about
these hard feelings to discuss. So what do we do if someone actually,
boldly says, “I want to kill myself.” We get uncomfortable
and retract into our shell, and we don’t know what to do. Discomfort is something that tore
an old best friend of mine and I apart. A few years ago, I actually
drove myself to the emergency room in the midst of a panic attack. I learned two things that day. Never drive when you’re having
a panic attack. (Laughter) It’s not good. And number two:
it feels really good to get help. It feels so relieving
and wonderful to tell someone: “I’m hurting, look at me, help me!” I was released from the psychiatric
emergency room at 6:30 in the morning, and I was sitting in this ugly
green waiting room, waiting for my parents to come pick me up
because I didn’t feel like driving back. And I realised that people were still
coming into the emergency room, that the Sun was rising, and people were still
going about their day. And because it was 6:30 in the morning, my best friend was getting ready
for school to start at 7:00. I call them and,
to my surprise, they pick up, because they weren’t a morning person. The first thing to fly out
of my mouth was: “You won’t believe the night I had.
Can I see you in 12 hours?” 12 hours come and go,
I’m sitting in their bedroom – at the time, one of my favourite
places in the world. It was their bedroom;
we made so many great memories there. They have a really comfortable bed,
a computer, and a piano, and a fish tank, and most importantly:
my friend and our friendship. I tell them everything that happened. The drive, everything that led up to the thoughts,
the actual thoughts I had, and what happened in the hospital. There was silence after I spoke
for a solid 20 minutes. My friend looks me in the eye;
I could see a glimmer of confusion, and they say to me, “Sarah, you’ve always known what I thought
about people who want to kill themselves: let them; they’re weak,
and we’re better off without them.” I don’t talk to my best friend anymore. I don’t know where they are
or what they’re dealing with their life. And I don’t think they’re a bad person. We were so young. And if you hadn’t dealt
with mental illness directly, you don’t know it. If you weren’t educated properly, how are they supposed to know what to do,
what to say, how to feel? Discomfort is what drove us apart. Discomfort crumbled our relationship. I feel sorry for them. And I feel sorry for every little boy who can’t cry
and every little girl who can’t get angry. Because they have to keep it inside; because if they let it out, they would
make the other people uncomfortable, and we’re told that that’s wrong. Discomfort is at the root of all
of this emotional turmoil people feel. We don’t want to share
out of the fear it’ll hurt someone. And we’re too afraid to ask
because it just might not be our place. Let someone deal with their sadness alone; it’s a journey they have to take alone. Let me tell you, it feels good to share; it feels really good to ask for help. I actually told a friend of mine recently
that I’m trying to start up therapy again. And my friend, a rather intelligent woman, can’t look at me the same
ever since I told her this. I bumped into her a couple of days ago, and the conversation
went something like this: “Hello.” “Hi, Sarah.” “How are you?” “Good. How’s it going with your … doctor?” (Laughter) I just stare at her for a little while. “My therapist is a great woman.” “That’s good.” And she wouldn’t leave,
like she wanted to help me, but she didn’t know how, so I just lingered in the discomfort
for a little longer, and I wanted to say, “We can grab lunch
the three of us some time”, but I didn’t, I just said goodbye. (Laughter) I feel bad for her. How uncomfortable
she was with me, her friend. And I feel sorry
for this religion teacher I had. When I was in middle school,
we went to after school religion class. She was an older woman. One day, she taught the class that people
who commit suicide go straight to hell that there was no chance
of them getting into heaven because they took away
the most precious gift God can give you: life. I agree with her that life is beautiful, but I feel sorry for her because she was so uncomfortable
to see the pain a person is in when they actually end their life. She’ll never understand that people can
hurt so bad that they end a life. We need to stop oversharing online and undersharing in real life,
start reaching out. Reach out to others
that you may see in pain; reach out for yourself; ask for help; share your emotions. Because there is something
so beautiful about being human that we have all of these emotions. And yes, feeling happiness, and joy,
and love up here are a wonderful thing, but there is something also wonderful about feeling the depths
of despair and hopelessness. It’s a part of the human experience, and being human is something
we have to embrace, and that especially includes discomfort. If you see someone in pain
just ask, “Are you okay?” It’s not hurting anyone, I promise. Just know that some girl with frizzy hair
and glasses told you that, I promise. It’s a weird world we live in. Why am I so comfortable to write online
but not to share in real life? I want to change that. Because, you know, the CDC reports that someone around the world
kills himself every 40 seconds, and that suicide rates have done nothing
but increase in America since 1999; that scares me. It scares me that I lost a friend, that the point of a view
from a friend about me has changed. It’s incredible. I think everything I’m trying to say
can be summarised by a quote from my favourite fictional
history teacher Cory Matthews of Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World. (Laughter) He once taught his students that the secret of life
is that people change people. I’d like to add on
to what Mr Matthews said: I believe that people change people
because people need people; we need to embrace being human and all of the beauty and ugliness
that comes along with it. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Casually Suicidal | Sarah Liberti | TEDxAdelphiUniversity

  1. i joke about it online because no one will take me seriously in real life. i told my mom, when i was 12, that i was depressed and wanted to kill myself. she said “i’m sorry you feel like that honey,” sent me to one therapy session with a religious therapist. it has been seven years. today i am 80 days clean from self harm. i survived a suicide attempt that no one but i and the people who read this know about. i am waiting for when i can afford my own therapy. maybe then i’ll be able to think about something other than wishing i didn’t exist.

  2. The people most likely to kill themselves are the ones that no one wants to listen too. Coincidence?

  3. Is it bad that I laughed through most of these jokes? I also felt sorrow for the cry’s for help. Humor about death reminds us to accept our pain and keeps us alive. I hope that anyone here feels that they have the humor and support to keep going.

  4. I mean you're speaking to a generation that (at least in America) watched 2000 people die on national television and literally nothing ever got better. A 16 year old girl just addressed the UN that we're on the brink of extinction. Idk maybe the suicide jokes are a little much, maybe, but it comes from a nihilistic place of nothing feeling like it matters anymore because in a very large way it doesn't for a lot of youth. What are we going to do about the societal marcabe dance of their lives eventually ending tragically? What are going to do when their reaction of dread is actually warranted when they turn on the tv? Live and suffer on the planet we can't get anyone to take care of? Discomfort sucks but man they're sharing. that's what social media is so now that we're all paying attention let's do something about it.

  5. From my perspective, the problem is people incorrectly attributing suicidalism to depression or sadness. I don’t think that’s the case at all. Suicide is a logic issue. Eventually you realize the redundancy and meaninglessness in yours and everyone else’s life and death becomes the best possible conclusion. When you’re young, you think it will all be over if you just had a girlfriend, or if you just had a decent job, better body, etc… but the meaninglessness inevitably returns no matter the arbitrary goal you reach. It’s really hard to convince an intelligent person that life is something inherently good.

  6. Humour is a release because you want to talk about your feelings but you don't want to bring people down or make people scared. Humour is a perfect outlet in some ways, you get to talk about suicide all day long while keeping up the engagement and banter.

  7. once i layed on a road. later people were like 'people could have gotten into car crashes because of you'. its nice to be cared for so much.

  8. Roses are red
    Penguins can't fly
    My life is a joke
    I just wanna die.

    It's a joke btw…..

  9. Joking about your suffering is one of the best ways to cope with it, especially if you can genuinely laugh about it.
    That doesn't mean you shouldn't take it seriously. But then again not everyone who jokes about it has a problem.

  10. Sometimes the mind needs to remind itself that it is eternal this can be very good with the right setting

  11. i work in a CNC machine shop, one guy told me not to stand where i was incase anything went wrong i told him to turn it up to 11. he goes "yep, i feel you"

  12. hello im karen from hr of "suicidal people" inc and can you let suicidal people just make jokes and stop listening to peoples conversations?

  13. I often think about the meaning of everything. If our lives are a spec of dust in the vast open space, in the grand scheme of things why does anything I do matter? Why does anything that anyone accomplishes matter? I don't want to die, but I don't hate the thought of not waking up one day… sometimes I just wish I didn't exist in the first place 🤷‍♂️ And this is me on a decent day 😂

    P.S. the memes had me rollin' though 😂

  14. I literally had almost the exact same exchange as 4:55 with my roommate only about an hour ago. Eerie.

  15. This girl makes me want to game end myself right now.

  16. I feel this. I’ve bottled up so much of these kinds of feelings, for YEARRRRRSSS, because I’ve always been met with far more discomfort than connection when I’ve tried to open up in the past. I’m sensitive, and I can’t handle the confusion and alienation that comes from opening to someone who doesn’t get it. So I’ve bottled and silenced. And I’ve lost my voice. I know even less now how to articulate myself than I did in the past. When I do talk it just feels like clumsy rambling that doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. And I feel so alone. I have lots of friends and family, but not one single person I feel I can truly talk to about these kinds of feelings. It just makes me feel even worse and saps my energy. I don’t know why I gotta keep pushing.

  17. My BF: "I put the bleach in the cupboard under the sink"

    Me: "Oh that's great if I ever want to kill myself I know where to get the bleach"

    BF: (with light hearted concern) " Oh no please don't do that"

    It's messed up . But I do it sometimes. I don't know why. I wouldn't actually want to do anything btw.

  18. Maybe the jokes are only funny to those who actually feel that way…

    When your life is despair, being able to laugh about it is a way to feel better and to connect with other who feel the same.

  19. Me and my friends are starting to talk about this stuff with mental illness and personal stuff and we are figuring out code words if something happened like a panic attack or something happened at home and talking about this stuff is making something better because we are realizing that somethings we do are not the best like joking about it and putting it off so we are just talking about it more and it helps

  20. There is also something horrid about being human sweetheart. And sometimes the answer is no i'm not okay and there's nothing anyone can do to change that. If you've lived that way for a long enough you see nothing but the blackness and the pain and ANY release is a good one.

  21. One of the worst things about being suicidal is having people yell in my face that it’s selfish and it would hurt them to see me gone.
    It takes the focus off of me and onto them, when I am the one needing the help.

  22. I relate to this almost completely. Found my friend/roommate in 2013. I did ask if he was ok, and he unfortunately lied to me and said he was. That was the last we spoke. I asked. I tried, but I have zero expertise in handling another's suicidality.

  23. Therapy was great.. until I realized my therapist didn’t want anything to do with me anymore.

  24. I kinda feel like it's based on tone and the how well you kinda know the person. if it's very direct it's obviously very true. I understand that the humor is meant as a coping mechanism but in our world we need to ACTUALLY communicate with each other and not take actual moments of desperation and reach for granted

  25. Because you have shown me your beautiful suicide jokes I will add obe out of my personal repertoire:
    I want to 🐸 suicide

  26. I dont know why but I thought this was a comedy when I clicked on it and 2 minutes in i was like "dude wtf is wrong with this comedian?" Then i realized it was a ted talk

  27. These are all the biased stuff, and prejudiction of society toward these guys. These are humans i mean really, but the thing is is like a communication problem. perople once they face problems of life, they get away. Its a reeaaal problem, we need influential psychologists who help the world deal with it. Thats it, money fame and power to fix these. One persone has lik 0.00000000000001 word cause of power guys.

  28. But also there is a little, or middle period, like u can read books, you can talk to friends,, you can do some stuff but you really need some specific stuff to help yourself or get helped. I mean really: get helped: the latest. Just get helped by youtube or some free stuff

  29. Looking at the gir, my first impression is not that she is suicidal, so i dismissed her speech, but that she is musicion i LOVE MUSICIOANS, They will save the world trust me. I looked at her red glasses, I also looked at how pretty she is, I loked at how sensitive she is, and how brave she talks, but also I fel,t well, just remove her from that stage, dont show it, but this stuff it is all about…

  30. I'm reading a lot of these comments and I think that what a lot of people dont understand is that..
    Many people are incapable of helping others, absolutely NOT because they don't care, but depression is a deep, cutting emotion, and people are rightfully afraid of that, of doing something wrong or going about it the wrong way, so instead of tackling it they turn a blind eye to it and pray it goes away, a subconscious, natural gesture to the things we fear. We don't often instinctively know how to handle delicate things; this is learned through experience or extensive study. Not to mention a lot of these people in our lives have contributed to the negative thought patterns in our head and don't know how to right it, and guilt or blame should not be mingled into an already unstable mixture. Unless they fully accept their role and take responsibility for it, this is not a problem to be dealt with when addressing suicidal thoughts. These are serious and they need their own, singled-out attention and work. Professional help, hotlines, self-study and objective self-reflection, and occasionally other people who respond in a healthy manner, allowing you to exist in your raw, hurting mentality around them without absorbing your pain into themselves, are the ways to go about working on ourselves.
    Yes, talking about it should be more popularized, so that prompts of helping someone thinking about suicide is more popularized, so that we can begin to help each other personally and as a community. But when someone lets us down, we can't allow that to further steep us into our miseries. Even our mothers are human.
    As a compassionate individual, I can truly say that I care about everyone reading this, and there are so, so many like me. You are not unloved, because even if the people in your life are difficult there are people all over who naturally care about the world around them, empaths who feel that you're in pain without having to know you personally. Dont give up hope because your mom coldly shrugged off your cry for help, or because you can't afford healthcare, or because, as depression tells you, you feel worthless and incapable. You are alive, and in this world that alone demands courage. You ARE strong enough to handle this and if you keep chipping away at it you WILL make progress. Gradual, perhaps, and in pain throughout, but someday you will look back and see that in feeling that depth of pain you can also feel that depth of love. Best wishes, friends.

  31. To my dear friend who I love very much: I heard you. I knew the jokes you made were a cry for help because that's what I used to do. I knew you were in pain because I understand it. I knew something was wrong because I know what that's like. I reached out to you and I'm glad that you opened up. I can't make you go to a therapist but I hope one day you realize how important it is to go to one. I can only help you with so much. Never will I ever think you are a burden because it would truly be a burden not to have you in my life anymore.

  32. I think something that is missing in our youth(myself included) is the ability to cope. The ability to cope with failure, fear, heartbreak, grief…my parents were always very emotional people who stewed in their anger/sadness anytime they would fight. They would complain to me about one another behind their back…they would scream at each other. My mom looked to me for a friend to listen. She's oversensitive, so am i. But then whenever i would cry, she would ask me what the big deal was, and tell me i don't have to cry over it.

  33. one of the worst feelings is not wanting to actually die, but feeling so trapped by the so called 'options' in your life that you don't know what else to do but think of death as an option. Especially when you have tried other options and they're not working. And the 2 people you want to have tell you it will be okay are either MORE suicidal than you and prone to more anxiety than you. My best friend and roommate has helped me more than anyone in my life.

  34. I went to the ER 12 times in 3 years for suicidal ideation and panic (didn’t know it was panic at the time) and never got committed. I was given comfort meds (Ativan, enderol, whatever to stabilize me in the moment) and sent away with NOThINg, not even a referral to mental health services.

  35. The part where she referenced Cory Matthews’ secret of life was just 👌

  36. For all of the people here that feel they can't speak out because the world around them doesn't understand and won't react the way they should:
    Just as no one should look at you different for being the way you are, you should also not look at people different because they don't understand. It is human nature to blame anything but ourselves for something we don't understand, but people don't know how to react because no one has told them how. We are all human and nobody is without faults, we all have to work together to understand one another.
    If you're thinking about going to somebody close to you for help, don't be offended if they don't understand you. Help them help you, because you need it.

  37. Bro she fr showed memes lol jokes are jokes everything should be joked ab because then it loses its power

  38. Sarah, you rock, Sweetheart! I am a 58 year old former psychiatric nurse who has struggled with my own depression for most of my life. Your presentation will save lives….I promise.

  39. Memories, the entire thought of them makes me sick to my stomach. And the memory can't hold a thought. Let alone remember yesterday.

  40. Exactly how my ex, social/victim services and a police department have me seriously considering all for being mistreated when opening up

  41. All I want is to be checked into a hospital and get help but things at home will only get worse if I do so 🙃

  42. "Sometimes I just wanna die for a day to see who really cares"

    This made me tear up because it's literally what's been going on in my head for months now 😢

  43. Who else throughout the whole entire video thought the clicker thing in her hand was a vape?

  44. « If you see someone in pain just asks are you okay? »
    Nope. No way. Last time I did I received an agressive answer. Ain’t gonna do that mistake anymore.

  45. I used to make suicidal jokes all the time. Until one of my friends died from suicide. Now whenever I think about making those jokes I just bite my tongue

  46. I’m screaming how depressed I am my mother told me to stop faking it my father is going through the same thing and get himself help not me and my nana was the only one to talk to she passed away I’m not close to really anyone my sister is coping with my nana passing so I can’t turn to her my brother has ocd and anxiety and anger issues like me in depressed I feel like I’m losing emotion like I’m running for something just out of my reach I don’t want to die it’s just hard to live I really don’t want to die I’m scared of myself I’m scared for my brother he’s doing what I did the last time I dove into depression I don’t want him to go through what I did I have ocd depression anxiety I’m getting tested for focusing issues I really need help I’m getting it I love everyone who should read this

  47. i saw this and i thought, oh yay this girl again 🙄 as someone who is suicidal i think people take jokes way too seriously sometimes

  48. If you want to die, just be patient, this is life, no one gets out alive. While you're waiting, be a friend, a lover, a helper, a giver. Be a light in the darkness, laugh when you can, and do something good in the world for someone while you're here. I promise, life is short, you won't be waiting as long as you think.

  49. I so hope she is doing much better now. And for those that are going through this, I might not be there with you but I send you the biggest and warmest hug ever. You are not alone and I love you! I'm here for you!

  50. I am not suicidal. But I believe someday when death comes, or as I like to say sometime between now and my 200th birthday, the soul will outlive the body. And in the last moment, I believe I will feel my dad's hand on my shoulder and hear him say, "Todd, it's time to go.".

    And then I will see my mom and she will embrace me and I will be done with this life.

    But we need to teach ourselves first and live it that this life matters at least to us and we deserve to live it our way.

    And so we don't need to be told that to live a good life you need this Degree or that Net Worth. Last thing I would want my kids to believe is that they NEED to get to $2 Million by retirement or they will fail life. I do tell them to go to college, but to study what they really like, they don't have to love it, but they need to really enjoy it and want to learn it. Because they may spend a good bit of time after school employing that knowledge. But I also say that the jobs they may ultimately end up doing in this modern world may not even exist yet.

    So try to take some pressure off. And leave it pretty much open ended. Because none of us know what tomorrow will bring, what the World will value. But we will need to know what We value. And I believe I know how it all will end for me. But after that, it's God's will?

    We'll see.

  51. I watched a really good movie on Netflix, On Yoga, by a photographer that studied yoga after he suffered a physical loss in his body. But in the story, Michael decided he wanted to photograph the Greats of Yoga. And he sort of documented their stories. And in the presentation of the movie, it becomes quite serious. Many of the Yogi's give little snippets of their wisdom, so not just about asanas and cleansing and breathing and meditation. But ultimately, they deal with fundamental issues of HAPPINESS and LIFE value. So check it out. Maybe a bit too different from the Western Norm, but it gives some sense of perspective.

  52. "Nothing can bring you lasting Happiness.
    But you have it already."

    Again, I quote from Richard's move, One Yoga. Swami S. Not pushing the Yoga on anyone. Just where I heard it so they deserve their due.

  53. I think we also use humor because while we do want help, you don't want to put that expectation on another person that they need to do something.

  54. 1:41 im sorry im terrble but i cant not laugh at the fact that this is on a ted talk

  55. Wow okay hearing all the jokes at once at first I was lol me but then I was like okay yes this is too much. I had a friend who killed himself and I've gone through that thinking too…. just wish I could reconnect with what made me feel alive before…

  56. 1:42 my dark sense of humor couldn’t stop itself for laughing i’m so sorry

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