Photo credit: Amira Rahman

Humour has it that youths are nuts

What's so funny about 'Wanting to die'?

Amira Rahman

Published: 20 October 2017, 12:00 AM

Have you ever had one of these days?

Bought a top on impulse lol I hate myself.

FYP is so hard just kill me.

I love getting anxiety.

But do you really mean any of it?

It was funny to hear my friends say these at first, but after the next few hundred times? Not so much.

Eventually, I started to wonder what it meant for all of us who keep using deprecatory phrases in daily life so casually. These thoughts don’t actually plague us like they do with people diagnosed with mental illnesses, and we should stop using them so carelessly.

Perhaps we use such self-deprecating humour because we know that we don’t mean it. Depending on the context, we could have intended for it to come off as sarcasm, or to make light of a serious or daunting situation. Sometimes, we might have used it as a form of coping mechanism too.

Or maybe we’ve just developed an unfortunate, dark sense of humour that comes with growing up. Unsurprisingly, that makes sense, too.


We seem to like using these terms in our daily lives over small, insignificant problems.
Image credit: Screenshots from Twitter


Another possible reason why we keep using these terms is because it is easier to express how we feel. I admit – I have used similar phrases like ‘Kill me’, simply because it helped to describe how stressed I felt.

But I never actually meant any of it.

I was surprised to find out that a friend who occasionally says ‘I want to die’ sometimes meant it, and thought that death seemed the best option in certain situations.

However, are you aware that using such terms may potentially trigger people who actually suffer from such thoughts on a daily basis?

Saying “I hate myself” jokingly in front of someone with depression or “I want to die” to a person with suicidal thoughts isn’t very tactful. You may come off as mocking them despite not having that intention at all.


The number of teens who called a suicide hotline for help with mental health issues doubled between 2014 to 2016.
Posed photo: Youth.SG/Amira Rahman


It is alarming to note that teen suicides reached a 15-year high in 2015, particularly for young people aged 10 to 19.

In a recent study by the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) in July this year, youths mentioned several stressors, such as stress with studies or work, social interactions and feelings of loneliness.


For World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, SOS also released a video that showed how everyday phrases such as “Kill me now” and “I want to die” are trivialised today.
Image credit: Screenshot from SOS’ Suicide Is Serious video


That goes to show that not everyone will find your jokes about stabbing yourself funny, or laugh when you say “Wow, anxiety is fun!” no matter how sarcastic you are.

We should try to cut down on using such terms, especially around people we may not know suffer from mental health problems. We can always find other non-destructive ways to express ourselves.

Besides, I’ve always thought memes have worked just fine so far.

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