Wallowing in pre-Christmas grief
"Excellent article. Well written and a good focus on what we should be doing – bringing suicide out into the open. Well done!"Featured comment
I admit, I laughed when I heard the crank call.
Of course, it is not funny that a woman was so upset she committed suicide but really how much longer can they drag this out as a news story?
The radio station owners cancelled their Christmas Party; they have set up funds for the family. They are paying blood money left, right and centre. They are spinning like tops, crying and fronting up.
When people commit suicide there are an endless streams of "what if'"? Usually asked by people living to make themselves feel better that they were not to blame in any way.
The entire world appears to be to blame for this woman's death. Miles of column inches and bandwidth have been dedicated to it, so what the heck? I shall add my own.
I heard Deborah Coddington on radio prior to the tragedy ask the obvious question - would you want this woman caring for your relative if she fell for this? Coddington would have more tact to say that now and hindsight does not do her comment justice as at the time I agreed, but in terms of pre-Christmas grief, this one is having the world roll in grieving and looking inward on a ridiculous scale.
Jacintha Saldanha did not have a mental illness or depression by all accounts, she was a nurse and a normal person, she panicked.
She panicked because of the shame attached and the media attention on her all for the wrong reasons. She was humiliated and no one helped her or she did not seek it, livign away from her family in Bristol in a nurses quarters. She wrote a note to her family.
She did not turn off the television and ride it out for the two or three days it would have taken for us all to have moved on to the next gotcha story.
People are humiliated in the British press every day and they have prolonged the humiliation now to her family and the family have commented. Jordan (Katie Price) and every boyfriend she has had, build an entire million dollar empire out of ritual humiliation. Reality TV stars are paid to be humiliated.
What they do not understand is we read stuff online, giggle, roll our eyes then forget it and move on. Many become depressed and unable to cope because they read every single thing written about them in the media and online and take it all seriously.
Then turn around and blame the media for making them like that. This woman didn't - it was a one-off. She killed herself and decided very quickly to.
If anyone is to blame I think it is Jimmy Savil. We might as well blame him. He was a creep. And he is the perfect person to blame as he is long dead.
If Jimmy Savil did not lead to an entire sex abuse scandal at the BBC, Max Clifford would not have been arrested.
If Max Clifford was on his game and not in a cell for 12 hours explaining why he is not a creep too, he would have grabbed Jacintha Saldanha by the hand, protected her and made her into a mega-star with exclusive interviews and hundreds of thousands of pounds attached for her five minutes of fame rather than humiliation.
Money and Max would have made the shame go away.
It is as valid theory as any other in terms of blame.
What if? What if? What if?
The prank was mean, it was cheeky, and may even have been illegal. But like many readers, I have had people close to me commit suicide, quite a few actually.
I count 14.
Lawyers seem to be a quite susceptible group, I have found, perhaps because we have to deal with everyone else's problems and accumulate our own.
Some had outwardly perfect lives, loads of money, everything to live for and lovely supportive families. All were well-educated professionals earning good incomes.
Some were terminally ill, some were mentally fragile or drug dependent; some were completely unexpected and left everyone at the funeral blankly looking at each other asking "WTF".
But at the end of the day, no one in the world knows what goes on inside someone's head at the best of times, let alone the worst.
You bury them, remember them on the odd occasion and try to spot it in others to help.
You never can. It does not work like that.
People who are serious about killing themselves just disappear and do it. They never actually ask for help.
Some ask for help. You patiently talk them through it and never hear from again as you are blanked out as someone from their deep dark past they do not want anyone in their new life to know about.
The most graphic I have experienced is a man slit his wrists in my bathroom after downing a zillion pills and when I returned from being out for the evening he was dead.
You cannot remove that nasty image from your head, nor the thoughts you have as the last person to speak to them.
You never forget the 111 call as it is in slow motion.
The blood takes an eternity to remove from the bath and cracks in the tiles, and the police forever to arrive to take away the body.
You never forget the brief second they look at you in a police officer's way like you were the one who sliced him up.
You never forget the support lady who comes in and helps you clean up the mess and stick the white bath towels in the washing machine as red runs through the plastic front loader.
You don't know why you bothered washing them as you throw them out.
You explain it to the family, who want someone other than themselves to blame and hope they do not turn on you through their tears.
You think at the time this better be the worst thing that happens in your life.
You are offered a nice old lady to give you counseling and then realise the only thing that can help you is to forget it ever happened.
You never talk about it with anyone else outside his other friends every couple of years as you drift apart.
A problem shared is not a problem halved.
People who commit suicide never think of the person who will find them, least of all if it is a child finding their parent. It was bad enough as an adult a decade ago.
If the crank call was not made this woman most definitely would have been alive, but it does not mean it killed her.
She killed herself, which is actually technically pretty hard to do. I have had one friend try and fortunately fail. I asked him when he regained consciousness what he thought about as he was trying.
He said he felt and thought nothing, not of himself or others.
Another person present in the conversation could not get his head around being in that state of mind.
Some people just cannot and they are most vocal in blaming others in situations like this. It is not that easy and never fully explained in a note.
Many people commit suicide and it is not reported properly as such so the numbers are always on the light side.
People who commit suicide are not selfish, they are making a decision to end their life as they think at the time the future is not worth living.
It is not and never can be rational. It may not be reasonable to others still living, but short of not communicating at all with each other, people often upset others.
Choosing to live over killing yourself is probably the only decision ultimately that you alone have complete responsibility for.
Blaming others is neither helpful or fair.
Cathy Odgers is a Hong Kong lawyer. She blogs as Cactus Kate.