Read that again. No one COMMITS suicide. People DIE by suicide. What’s the difference? It’s all in the word commit. Google defines the term as “carry out or perpetrate a mistake, crime or immoral act.” If you were desperate, hurting, and struggling to the point that you ended your life, would you want to be known as someone who carried out the crime of suicide? Or the immoral act of suicide? Putting our religious beliefs aside, the word commit is commonly used to represent the most heinous of acts; murder, treason, larceny, etc. Why group suicide in there? While suicide does impact others, it is not an act against another. Does it hurt families and friends? Absolutely! Does it alter people’s lives? Of course, but it is never done with the intent of harming anyone else.
So why am I sharing this? Simply because I am angry. After reading advocate Des’ree Stage’s post about how angry she was, I became angry all over again in response to the loss of Brandy Vela and its portrayal by the media. Brandy died by suicide after several years of vicious online bullying. What this sweet teen endured at the hands of some disgusting, awful individuals is criminal. She didn’t deserve it. No one deserves to have their number put online and fake webpages created about her soliciting sex. Whoever did this needs to be punished and jailed.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the bullying that probably made Brandy choose the path she did. Perhaps she suffered PTSD from its effects or anxiety or even agoraphobia, fear of leaving the house, but these symptoms weren’t treated. In fact, the media has largely ignored them and instead focused on the sensationalistic side of the loss of Brandy Vela. They choose to give the very details of how she died. In murder cases, the details are usually kept under wraps while an investigation takes place. But since there was no perpetrator, the details of Brandy’s death have been broadcast across the world leaving her parents to constantly relive the worst moment of their lives and those who bullied her to probably snicker “wow” as they go about their day.
As a mental health advocate and someone who has lived with depression, the last thing you want to do is hurt anyone else. For the millions like me and Brandy, your only thought is to never have another person feel the same way you do and many times depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses lie to you making you believe that you’re not being well is tormenting others. Brandy probably believed that. She probably believed that she was bringing shame, embarrassment and harm to her family. She probably didn’t have the coping skills to deal with what was being done to her, the acts that were committed against her and who does? No one should have to suffer with their lives and reputations being destroyed in such a way. Brandy chose to end her pain. It’s heartbreaking that effective help wasn’t available and this young lady didn’t know another way out. Brandy died by suicide due to the emotional toll of the crimes committed against her. Rest in peace sweet girl.
If you feel you are at risk for self-harm, please contact 1800-273-8255 or Text 741-741 for the Suicide Prevention Hotline.