This blog post is part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour in partnership with Debt Drop. If you’re dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, please know you’re not alone. And it might not seem like it now but it will get better. Maybe with medication, maybe with therapy, maybe with time, maybe with all three. But it will get better. And please, if you need help, reach out to someone. A professional, preferably. Especially if you’re thinking about suicide. You can find help at 1-800-273-8255 or via the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or text HOME to 741741
Whether we realize it or not, all of our lives have been touched, at some point, by suicide. It might be personal, it might be professional, it might just be from hearing about Chester Bennington or Robin Williams in the news. But we all know someone who’s taken their life. And, more than anything, it’s hard to understand how or why someone would do that.
There is no simple answer. Depression is a complicated, shape shifting monster that fucks with your brain in any way it can and has no regard for race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, or anything else (we can talk about statistics if you’d like but really, depression does not discriminate). It strips you of everything you love and feel one minute, makes you feel everything on steroids the next, and in between it gives you moments of respite. Like a dog, it’s always there, following you around, waiting to see what you do next. But unlike a dog, it never brings you joy or comfort. It mostly just pees in your bed and shits on your shoes.
Depression loves to kick you when you’re down, too. Just when you think you can’t feel worse, it ramps up. It tells you you’re worthless and no one cares about you and all the things we think people feel about us (and sometimes we feel about ourselves) in a loud voice that screams above all the others. Not only that, it says it constantly and on a loop. You cannot escape it and it eventually becomes fact. It’s irrational and irritating and shrill and bossy and sometimes so loud the only way to make it stop is to just stop being. When you get that low, the only way to stop the hurt is to not be here anymore.
Suicide isn’t a rational decision because depression isn’t rational. I wouldn’t even classify suicide as a decision or choice. It’s an action that’s forced upon you by a lying murderer because you can’t spend one more day feeling like you don’t matter and that no one cares. And when someone take their own life it’s not because they want to cause more hurt. Revenge or spite suicide isn’t a thing. Someone dies by suicide because dying is less painful than living.
If you’ve never experienced true clinical depression–and if you haven’t, I would never, ever wish it on you–it’s hard to wrap your brain around how someone can feel like that. After all, aren’t we just supposed to choose happy? Just wake up and put a smile on your face and take on the day? Fuck that. If you have a sick brain, you can’t choose it. Because trust when I say anyone with depression would choose happy over this shit any day.
It’s a horrible thing to think that someone feels so worthless that they truly believe the world is better without them in it. Which is why it’s up to us to make a concerted effort to understand depression. If you have a friend suffering (and, to be fair, you might not always know if someone is hurting. We are experts at hiding it so please don’t blame yourself if you aren’t or weren’t aware), call or text them. Let them know that they’re safe around you to be whatever they need to be that day. Let them know that you’re there for them when they’re ready. Be patient. Tell them they’re loved. Tell them something you like about them or recount a funny story. Reach out and keep reaching out even if they don’t respond. But more than anything, don’t give up on them. They need you.
For those of us fighting depression, we have a responsibility to educate. To help end the stigma and make it okay for people to talk about their mental illness. To stop hiding in shame. To tell our stories and provide comfort and hope to those who are suffering. To give them a comfortable place to talk without judgement.
And to anyone who is suffering, let me say this again:
If you are feeling like you literally cannot live anymore, please, PLEASE tell someone. Doesn’t have to be family or a close friend. Tell a random person on the internet. Text a random number. Email me or reach out to me on social media. But just tell someone. Because, despite what lies the depression is telling you right now, your life is important. You are a good person. You have gifts to share. You will find the place where you belong, with people who love you for who you are. You are more than your debt, your bankruptcy, your job loss, or whatever horrible situation you are in. I’d even be willing to bet that there are people right now who love you just as you are and don’t give a shit about the rest. You will survive whatever it is you’re going through.
You are worth life.