Butterflies, and Why I’d be a Terrible Social Worker

I am melting in this hot sun.  My sports bra is supposed to wick away the sweat, but I can just feel it sticking to my skin. Aren’t the dog days supposed to be coming to an end, not beginning? New resolution: stay indoors from 1pm to 5pm.


I can see a smaller version of myself running around, and above me flying frantically are dozens of butterflies. It hurts to have them inside of me, but I’ve created them myself, and it’s not like they’re not useful. They are butterflies of so many thoughts, things, and ideas that are floating around in my head. I have so much going on but I can’t catch any of it and stick it onto an organized place. Smaller version of me grabs at the butterflies and attempts to put them into something. But I lose them or get distracted by another one. Who can blame me for feeling so distracted though? They are really beautiful. Despite this, I know that enough of them, like anything in this world, can kill me.

It’s always an odd thing when I write a metaphor like the one above and end it with “can kill me.” I mean, don’t I want to die? I spend a lot of time making fun of my suicidal ideations. Does it make me feel better? I’m not quite sure. I like laughing at it. To anyone else though, it must be very dark.

For my new job, we had to do suicide prevention training, which was pretty odd for me, to see the other side of people who try to prevent me from killing myself. Their rationale is so far misunderstood from what we feel. They say we don’t really want to die, that we just want the pain to end. I’m sure that’s actually true, but it doesn’t feel like it. I feel like the pain is a part of me and I can’t imagine getting rid of it. I feel like my sadness is so deeply ingrained in me, that if I didn’t have it, who would I even be? I’d be nothing. So might as well die.

I’m not going to kill myself though—it’s simply not an option. It’s just something I think about, something that’s almost normal at this point. In this suicide prevention training, there was a little bit of talk about how we shouldn’t be joking about depression. I get where they were coming from. People shouldn’t say “OMG look at this picture of Harry Styles I’m gonna die/I’m having a panic attack, etc.” That shit pisses me off. But we also talked about how people will say “ugh I had the worst day ever I just want to die/kill me.” Maybe a lot of the people who say that fall into the same group of Harry Styles girls, but a lot of people who say it really do want to die, they’re just normalizing it.

That leads to the question: is it okay to normalize it in this way? Is it an in adverted method to reduce stigma? Or is it just a fucked up thing to say by people who don’t really get? Or, in reality, is almost all of our generation depressed and fucked up so when they say “kill me,” part of them wouldn’t mind.

Simply, what I’m trying to say here, is that I am so personally messed up that I really don’t get it. What I’m saying is most likely all wrong. It’s probably not okay to say things like “I had a bad day, I want to die right now.” I rationalize my suicidal ideations and it makes me feel okay about it. I make memes about the fact that I’m depressed and laugh at it.

Despite what was going on in my head in that training, on the outside I seemed totally with it all. Yes, that’s a good method of de-escacation, yes, those are the right things to say. I was even able to participate a few times and tell people what they should say when they have a friend showing signs and what they shouldn’t say. I agreed and nodded my head that it was a serious issue. Yet, part of me thought it was all bullshit. Just let us die. 

I know a lot of people who have suffered depression or other forms of mental illness go into social work or become psychiatrists or whatever, because they want to help people who went through that. But I couldn’t do it. Maybe I could fake it. But a part of me would still think things like “well, this is what they want, they want to die, let them die,” or “this work is so hard, I want to kill myself” or make memes that are ultimately pretty problematic.

All of what I’ve written, when reading over it, sounds kind of disgusting. It makes it sound like I wouldn’t want to help friends or students I’m working with who are suicidal, but I absolutely do. I absolutely want to drop everything for a friend who isn’t feeling well (and I have). I want mental illness to be a bigger priority for young people. 

There are many contradictions in my head: 

“This suicide training is a good thing that more people should be doing, 

but actually I don’t believe in any of it and it’s all bullshit, 

but I would absolutely help someone if they needed it, 

but they need it because so much of our generation is depressed, 

and since so much of our generation is depressed that means it’s normal, 

so who cares,

but I do care, 

I don’t want it to be bullshit,

I don’t want it to be this way, 

but it is anyway, 

but why don’t we talk about it, 

but we shouldn’t talk about it, 

why aren’t we trying to change it,

why aren’t we trying to create a new generation where this isn’t the fucking status quo?”

I don’t know what I’m doing I’m making this all up.


Once again, feeling very inspired lately by a Youtube video by iisuperwomanii which can be found here 

The beautiful butterfly image credits go to Peter von Bagh on Flickr.


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