Get ready. You and I are about to have a really candid talk together. And we're going to delve into a topic that many people shy away from. Suicide. Now before you click away from this page, I'd like to invite you stay here for just a moment and keep reading.
This is a post that I've wanted to write for a long time because it's a real issue. But because I know people aren't too keen to talk about painful, uncomfortable, delicate matters, I figured that no one would bother to read it. And now that there's been a tragedy that really seems to have caught people by surprise, the time has come for me to write and share.
What we're afraid to talk about has power over us. When you talk about something, and learn more, you now take back control.
I tend to take a very different view than most people (heck, even most therapists) when it comes to suicide. I came out of therapy sessions one evening to find out that actor Robin Williams had died, due to apparent suicide. All through my Facebook news feed, there are comments about how many lives Robin touched through his humor and movies. People were naming their favorite movie lines and sharing condolences about how he will be missed.
He certainly will leave a hole in our hearts, along with the countless others who, too, lost their lives to a topic that people are terrified to talk about.
We talk about cancer. We have walks and fundraisers to aid the cause. We wear certain colors and light up nights. We wear red to increase heart disease awareness. We allot an entire month to help spread the word.
But do you know when suicide prevention month is? Do you know what color ribbons people wear to bring attention to this issue? Probably not.
This past week has been Suicide Awareness Prevention Week. Sadly, thoughts of hopelessness are more common than you think. Suicidal thoughts start out seemingly small.
But when those thoughts continue on and on and on, with no end in sight, you can begin to lose hope.
And that's when things get really scary.
Gee. Today is a hard day. I can't wait to get home and put this day behind me. (I bet you have thought this one many times. It's a pretty normal thought, so don't be alarmed to find it here during this conversation. If you haven't progressed beyond this thought, then it means it was just a bad day and you were able to work through it. 🙂 )
I don't know how to do this. I just can't go on. Every day is such a struggle. Even getting out of bed feels like having to win a war. It takes so much energy.
When is this going to end? No matter what I do, it seems I can't get ahead and I just can't win. No one cares. No matter how hard I try, things just seem to be against me.
Make it stop…why won't this sadness end?
I'm all out of hope.
This is never going to end.
Ever. It's always going to be this way.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
Once these thoughts begin to take over your life, your hope dries up. That's when the really difficult thoughts start to drift in. And then they hover and stay. Thoughts like this are more common than you think. And people think about it more often than you know.
Why are people so scared to talk about something everyone has heard of? Why are people afraid to bring up a topic that many people have thought about at one point or another (whether or not they were serious about taking their own life or they had a fleeting thought)?
I believe that people are scared to share their own vulnerabilities with others. In the past few weeks since Robin Williams' death, the topic has come up more in my conversations with people. Still, they are afraid to admit that a random thought has crossed their mind, even if it was one that they wouldn't act on, or it only stayed about 10 seconds.
Sharing your story isn't weak. It's a huge sign of strength actually.
This video has been a few weeks in the making. I hope you find it helpful. In it, Angela Savitri and I talk about:
- Why women experiencing depression may not seek support (hello, judgment)
- How to create a sense of safety when you choose to share something so personal about yourself
- Our top 3 DOs and DON'Ts if you experience depression
- What not to say- and more importantly what to say- if your loved one is feeling depressed and going through a hard time.
I hope this is helpful to you. Please share this. And let me know your thoughts, either down below or by email (I get this can be a personal topic).
And hang in there. You're not alone.