#RIPBilly: When Suicide is Apparent but Sadness is Unknown

Sometimes, I wonder if blogging about inspirational and motivational stuff is worth it. I just think that most things I blog about are common sense and everyone already knows them. “Who cares anyway?” are my thoughts when I don’t feel motivated enough to share another post. However, I always end up reading a new in media, or seeing a tweet in my timeline, and I remember why I’m doing this. This time, what remembered me why I’m doing this is the hastag #RIPBilly in Twitter. Billy was a 17 year old who committed suicide after leaving a series of clues in social media, mainly Instagram. He first disappeared from his country, USA, and was later found in a river in Canada. Here is a picture timeline of the events.

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(Clues left in Instagram)


(Missing alert)


(He was found)

When I first saw the hastag and the Instagram pictures in my timeline I was quite shocked. My first thought was “this a twitter troll”. Sadly, there are a lot of people in social media who like to fake suicide, mental health problems, and diseases for attention; sorry for my skepticism. Nevertheless, after going through the hastag, I realised the story was true, and it felt like a punch in my stomach. This sort of stories always make me feel like this, because suicide is preventable in most cases. I always wish I was there to help the person and share my advice and give them the strength I give to myself. I’m such a believer in hope, and I love spreading positivism with others. Negativity just knocks me down so much. This story knocked me down.

I was also puzzled by the fact that he left so many clues, but nobody seemed to help me. However, I won’t run and say “nobody cared about him”. People have already reached to those conclusions in social media, and this was a response from someone within Billy’s circle:

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I agree 100% with this note. Some people hide their sadness behind a smile, and you may never know about it till it is too late.

Suicidal thoughts are considered a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean that you commit suicide because something is not working in your brain. Sadness is a real killer. It is an emotion that drugs people to a point in which they can’t even help themselves. Calling people who commit suicide “coward”, “weak” or “selfish” is ignorant. Life is not brilliant for everyone. Not everyone has good things to look forward too. Not everyone is full of hope. Not everyone has someone to give them strength. Not everyone believes that things can get better. Life is life.  Everyone says it is worth living it. However, is a life full of struggle and tragedy really worth living? No. But you can always try and turn the struggle and tragedy into something positive. It is about perspective.

I always say that there is no point in living life if you are not happy. But in NO way I encourage suicide. What I mean is that if you aren’t happy, you need to change things in your life. Neutralise what is making you sad. Chuck it away. Block it. Run away from it. The real issue here is knowing how to do this… Not everyone finds a way. Billy didn’t. The rest of thousands of people who kill themselves every year don’t neither. And this is reason enough for me to keep this blog running.

From Billy’s story, we can all get a message: pay attention to what people say and do. You may think they are overreacting, attention-seeking, being dramatic etc; but sometimes, people NEED help and they feel embarrassed, helpless or alone, and they don’t want to ask for it. We have to learn to read between the lines. If you notice someone is sad, try to cheer them up, rather than just asking what is wrong. Make them feel loved and understood. Show them they aren’t alone. Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t matter if the person is just your classmate, or someone you see in the bus stop every morning. The smallest actions also make people the happier, trust me. A simple “Hello, how are you?” can help. And if you think their problems are really severe, you shouldn’t hesitate in getting in contact with a professional and refer them. Counsellors and clinical psychologists exist for this sort of situations.

I will conclude this post saying that my thoughts and prayers are with Billy’s family and friends, who are probably having a horrible time accepting this. Billy was loved, as the following pictures prove. I suggest you have a look at the hastag #RIPBilly to read more from his friends and family.

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Sharing a true sad story,

Emilie H. Featherington ❤


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