When someone is grieving, or dealing with anxiety, depression, or some other struggle, those of us who write and talk about mental health are quick to tell them to tell their story. There are valid reasons for that, but when we tell people to tell their stories, we need to let them, even if they use terms that aren’t the “accepted” terms. For example,
“My colleagues have created safe language to discuss suicide and suicide loss so that nobody gets triggered, is offended, hurt, or otherwise further traumatized by the words someone speaks about their own experience. I think there is validity to all of this and I appreciate the boundaries to keep everyone safe, especially as it relates to others describing the death scene. However, there is a very obvious consequence to the “safe language” and it is not a popular opinion to have or express, especially as a professional who is expected to be “PC” in all things surrounding the topic of suicide.”
As Brandy shares, processing grief can sometimes mean being angry, or feeling things about the death of a loved one that don’t always jive with how we’d want suicide reported, but these are not spokespeople, advocates, or reporters, they are people dealing with their own pain.
Maybe, if we want people to speak their truth, we need to give them the room to express it the way they feel it, not silence them in the interest of not hearing terms we don’t love.
I’d say the same thing about mental illness, addiction, and lots of other areas that I write about. It’s nice that we try to find terms that express the truth without stigma, but for people in pain, we need to let them express that pain.
If not, what are we doing anyway?