You are loved, you are wanted, & you are important.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I’ve got to say, as I type this post I find myself struggling to collect my thoughts & form a coherent jumping off point. Where do I begin? I guess let me begin by reverting to what I’ve already said; you are loved, you are wanted, & you are important. These are easy words to say & easy words to hear but I know, at times, they can be difficult words to accept. We unfortunately live in a society that still treats mental illness like a fantasy; despite the science & the mounting evidence, depression is still seen as an excuse for the unhappy to be lazy. Counseling is seen as weak & confessing that you are not okay makes you come across as needy or over dramatic. Believe me, I know, I’ve been there. I struggled with depression for a lot of years, & while I eventually discovered the root cause of what ailed me, I still live with the constant fear of sliding back into it. You are not alone in your struggle.
I was first confronted with suicide when I was still in high school, a childhood friend of mine’s brother took his own life one November afternoon. I remember it vividly & in incredible detail. More than the news itself though I remember his memorial service. Hundreds of people from all around, all walks of life, & all ages, came to pay their respects to his family. Hundreds. I couldn’t fathom that. How could someone who had hundred of people mourning him feel so alone & low that he had to take his own life?
A few short years later I began my own battle with depression, at first I thought I was going insane. I began to have violent mood swings; I’d be happy one moment, then weeping the next. My family did their best to be supportive, my parents were especially helpful & helped me get in contact with a councilor. However, I remember one Easter lunch I began to have a breakdown & a family member told me to “suck it up” because “this day wasn’t about me.” Sometimes people won’t understand. Sometimes the preconceived ideas of reality get in the way. Know that what you are feeling is valid. No one can discredit the way you feel.
Eventually the therapist I was seeing passed away too, and while I’d made great, unmedicated progress I began to slide back into depression. However, something she’d said to me always stuck in my mind. She told me to find a lyric in a song, or a simple phrase, that I found comforting. When I’d start to have a breakdown I was to repeat the line over & over until it became the entire focal point of my mind. It was a lifeline to grab on to when I was drowning in my own mind. For me, a huge Beatles fan, the line can be found in Revolution. “Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright? Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright? Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright?”
Without my counselor though my depression worsened, I eventually went off to college where my depression went untreated for far too long. It cost me a lot; relationships, time, as well as my basic sanity. It wasn’t until I found myself sitting on my bathroom floor with a knife to my wrist that I decided enough was enough. I wish I could say that happened once, or even twice, in reality I got to the brink of ending it all three times before I picked myself up & began the search for help.
I am not ashamed of that. I am not ashamed to admit that depression almost got the best of me. For so many people it does, but I promise you, life it worth living. Through the sorrow & the moments where you’re staring down the crossroads of life & death; life is worth living. It may not seem like it today or tomorrow but I promise you better days will come. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; if you can’t ask a friend or family member, ask yourself for help. Look up a psychiatrist, send them an email, call their office, book an appointment, but get yourself help.
It’s okay to need help sometimes, we all do. Again, you are loved, you are wanted, & you are important. I pray you find peace & health. Love yourself & love others & know that life is worth living.