Tomorrow is #BellLetsTalk Day, but I've got a bit of time so I'm going to share my story now.
Last week, a colleague phoned 911 because I disclosed that I was struggling with suicidal ideation. This is not a safe or helpful action for marginalized folks in crisis.
So let's break this down a bit.
There are a couple of reasons for this: one of the medications is an herb that I take to control my narcolepsy, because it contains a natural analogue of the narcolepsy drug pitolisant, which is not currently approved for use in Canada.
On Tuesday morning, I woke up late because I'd gone to bed with a terrible migraine after not being allowed to take my afternoon meds at the crisis centre (they needed to inventory everything first, which took five hours).
Interactions that began very similarly have resulted of the deaths or extended forced institutionalization of disabled people of colour, including in this country.
I need affordable, accessible housing, full stop.
So while phoning 911 may have seemed like the most straightforward solution to the problem of me wanting to die...it really wasn't.
Because I didn't and don't want to die, I'm just really damn tired of living this way.
I think we need a shift in how we think of suicidality, to realize that sometimes it's a rational response to really untenable living conditions.
Honestly, just ask them.
But for a lot of people calling the authorities literally puts them at risk of violence and death - especially if they are nonwhite, nonspeaking, trans, homeless, etc.
I would also suggest asking more generally things like, "what kind of help do you need?" and "do you need someone to talk to?"
So just because I don't respond doesn't mean I'm not actively trying to keep myself safe.
And as morbid as it sounds, if isomeone can't offer me any help that's relevant to my situation, I'd prefer they respect my autonomy enough to let me decide whether I want to keep living.
Because to me, forcing someone to stay alive, while not doing anything to address the actual reasons they are considering dying, isn't a matter of care at all. It's a matter of control.