This week there was so much in the news about suicide in light of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I suppose it is shocking to many of us considering that they seemed to have everything as judged by society. I remember when Robin Williams committed suicide it made an impression on me. He was someone that I loved as he was corky, average in his appearance and yet was so gifted to make the world smile. His death made my heart hurt so much for him. I read about how despite sharing his depression and what other issues he suffered from, he ultimately felt so low that it was not worth it. Not being, seemed easier.
Interestingly, while everyone has their opinion, I don’t see suicide as a weakness. I see it as sad and horrific for those that are left behind, maybe even selfish (I am sure many think this) but I can’t see it as weakness.
Here’s my reasoning… How much strength or despair does it take to do it? To hang yourself? I can’t imagine that moment when you let go and dangle there… I can barely count to three and prick my finger to check my sugars, knowing that sting is coming despite the sting lasting a split second, it is something that still makes me pause. What does it take to make that one step of no return?
Suffering from depression over the years, there have been many a time of the 40+ years that life ending seemed so much easier than life continuing. Depression is a very dark place. It is a very lonely place. It is a place that can be so paralyzing. Sleep, that kind of sleep that is so deep, that shuts out the world is a place of such comfort.
Everyone says talk to someone, and I too suggest strongly doing so. Any yet, talk to someone that you feel safe with. Talk to someone that will really listen. Talk to someone that gives you relief by sharing. For me, this is my therapist. It took a lot of long, dark lonely years to realize that I was not finding the right person. Journaling helped me. A lot. I know this isn’t for everyone. Some people find exercising a relief. Some find eating a relief. Singing, dancing, sports, cooking even cleaning can be someone’s relief.
There are so many times when it’s all so hard. There’s so many times that I hate my pills knowing without them, functioning as a somewhat sane person would be impossible. I hate the craziness that is a constant in my head. My mind is in constant motion. My mind finds no rest in sleep. My sleep brings about dreams, more often than not, stressful or full of boogie man kind of stuff that I need a light on for me, not my kids. God is truly the One that held my hand and walked with me, often carrying me. I know this is a constant. Ending it… has come to mind… when I was the lowest… After being rape, I thought of it a lot. I was alone. After being hurt over and again by my parents, I thought about it. I was all alone. After pregnancy, not realizing it was severe postpartum depression and there WAS help, I thought about it. At my lowest of lows, over the period of time that mental health was in a very bad place, I thought about it. I felt all alone (even though I wasn’t). There have been moments in time, when it was SO HARD. And yet, actually hurting myself, I was too scared. And God had other plans. So He again, carried me. Till I could stand again. Till I could see again. Till I found hope again. And, I know this is His promise when/if that horribleness returns.
PTSD sucks. Depression sucks. Anxiety sucks. Moodiness sucks. Eating disorders suck. Addiction sucks. Personality disorders sucks. OCD sucks. And the list goes on…
My life is a yo-yo as far as my depression and anxiety goes. For the most part, my meds, doctors and therapist are able to keep me pretty balanced and I can function as a decent mom, wife and friend. Then something happens, such as watching my mom dying and then die and then finding my balance after all that pain and the emptiness that comes with her gone, forever. I find myself off balance. All that pain from yesteryear, all the things that caused my brokenness, that caused me to be labeled someone with post traumatic stress disorder comes crashing down. All the abuse and betrayal that come with being victimized by the church/ clergy never seem to be far away and then I feel so weighted.
I hide it. Well, I should say I try to hide it. And then they come, “What’s wrong?” You don’t seem like yourself, are you ok?” The one that cut me, my son, “You know I love you, right?” When I question this, as he is usually my child whose love language is not verbal but rather acts of kindness, he said, “You look sad.”
I’m not suicidal. Yet I see it differently. Those that do it, that end it… I don’t see them as weak. I see them as ….strong in their pain that it must end. I am not advocating suicide. I am NOT encouraging suicide. AT ALL.
I am just saying, all the hash tags that are linked to suicide… #talktome #suicideprevention #depression #mentalhealth etc. there’s so much more to the hashtags. Sometimes reaching someone that can’t reach out to you or anyone outside themselves is important. Sometimes instead of asking “how are you,” in passing, ask “how are you” and take time to encourage the real answer. I think that the key to truly changing mental health is to see that someone that is really struggling with mental health, is stronger than you think. They survived yesterday. They are trying to survive today.
I really don’t know how much strength it takes to end it but I assume it must take a lot of darkness and weariness. I do know that somedays, getting though 24 hours is a super human feat. I do know that many a day, only God grants me that strength.
I am not alone. If this is you, then know you are not alone. Yet know that while we may feel alone, maybe surviving the 24 hours will bring a day that is much better. There is alway hope, if we get past this moment.