Let’s be honest. If we find out someone committed suicide, we automatically link it to relationship problems, or even worse, speculate that the suicide is a cover-up for a drug overdose. In this country, suicide is not taken seriously.
In 2017, around 300 suicide cases were reported over a period of two years.
A majority of the cases involved individuals under the age of 30. That is alarming. It is even more worrying that there has been NO official research done on statistics of suicide. All stats available online, are individual surveys conducted with limited resources.
Recently, fashion model Anam Tanoli committed suicide.
Her close friends say she was battling depression and the constant judgment and slut-shaming she had to bear, due to the nature of her work. People expressed their sorrow and the importance of the need to acknowledge the existence of mental illness was stressed upon. And it’s true. It is truly sad that we’re in the 21st century and sufferers of mental illness still can’t come forward.
Mental illness is not considered real.
People suffering from mental illness are never taken seriously. Any time someone starts to initiate a conversation about their mental illness, they receive replies like,
‘But you look so happy!’
‘Yeah but you have fame, money, and looks. Why are you depressed?’
‘You have so many friends. Why’re you anxious?’
Again, mental illness is also considered a joke in this country.
So, when someone commits suicide due to mental illness, the narrative doesn’t change. People don’t stop treating suicide or mental illness as a joke. It isn’t that easy to change the narrative. Which is what happened in this case.
A Twitter user has posted a meme, which he thought was funny. The tweet has gathered traction among Pakistanis on social media
The meme is in horrible taste, to the say the least.
It sums up exactly how Pakistani society treats patients who commit suicide due to mental illness. The fact that he thought it was funny, speaks volumes about us, as a society. Just because someone was famous, it does not give any human being the right to joke about their death. Being famous DOES come at the cost of a joke.
The joke was highly inappropriate since it not only perpetuated the idea that suicide can be joked about, but also reaffirmed what our society thinks of suicide victims.
Giving a trigger warning does not absolve a person of the crappy joke. In fact, it makes them even more responsible. Knowing that individuals could get triggered, knowing that the joke is highly inappropriate, and yet making a CONSCIOUS decision to make that joke. Well, that’s a whole other level of inhumanity.
Imagine if a potentially suicidal person were to see this? How would that affect them?
What’s worse is – there were people on the tweet talking about how it was “dank” and liberals don’t get the joke. Yeah, we don’t get the joke. Because some things aren’t funny. Not everything is “dank” or up for grabs to ridicule for a few likes and retweets.
In a country where suicidal tendencies are joked about, this joke is perpetuating the fact that people with suicidal tendencies cannot come forward and ask for help. It makes them realize that this is the response they’ll get. And that is problematic on another level.
Suicide isn’t a joke. Mental illness isn’t a joke.
Making jokes about people who’ve committed suicide does not make you a comedian. It is not dark humor, it is condemn-able humor. As a nation hell-bent upon reforming ourselves, we should really do some collective introspection. Do we just want to reform our institutions? Or is it time for a naya thought process, too?
A Pakistani Doctor Committed Suicide Because Of Lack Of Work In The Country And That’s A Serious Concern
Cover image via Anam Tanoli / Instagram