Depression and Suicide

This is something I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time, but something that I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to write about. My hometown has lost too many people over this school year. Too many young people. Too many high school students. Too many friends. Too many brothers and sisters.

I want to make it clear that I am not here to talk about the specific incidents that have happened this year, because it’s not my business and I don’t fully know what happened and it’s not my story to tell.

Suicide is really hard to talk about. It’s taboo. It’s scary. It’s personal.

I have struggled with chronic depression for thirteen years. For as long as I can remember I was told that I’m a drama-queen and that I’m over-reacting or trying to get attention or making things up. And sometimes it was true, sometimes I just needed someone to acknowledge that I was still real and that I was hurting. But the problem with this was that I never got the help that I needed. I was told so many things: that my faith wasn’t strong enough, that I needed more prayer (I’ll admit that this has made me pretty bitter towards the church), that I needed exercise or a better diet. And all of these things contributed, but at the end of the day, an imbalance in your “happy-brain-chemicals” (as I like to call them) needs professional help.

There were days, even years, where I considered suicide to the point of knowing exactly how I wanted to do it. There were days where I had to steady my hands to keep myself from running straight into on-coming traffic.

It took me three years, new friends, seven doctor’s appointments, and a lot of tears to get where I am.

I tell you these things because I think it is so important that we acknowledge the real pain and emotions that all people experience. As a fairly healthy girl in a happy middle-class family, going to a top-notch school, with good friends, in a healthy and loving relationship I have never looked like the poster-child for depression. I don’t look like someone who needs help. We can’t write people off because we don’t see their struggles. We cannot dismiss people because they are “too young” or because they just “need attention”. This is never helpful. Never.

I don’t say this as someone that is cured, or even as someone that is “healing”. I say this as someone who is coping. Someone who is working every day to keep going.

I’m begging you to listen to the people in your life, to make them feel loved and cared about. And maybe you don’t understand why they’re acting the way they are, so ask. Don’t assume that you know exactly what’s going on. Don’t roll your eyes at someone who is expressing their pain for being “over dramatic”. And DO NOT, under any circumstances, tell someone who is thinking about taking their life that they are being ridiculous or “selfish”. These words are so damaging and will do nothing but push that person away from you.

I’m so sorry to all of the friends and families who have lost someone to suicide. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that this is your fault. I know how hard this is, please draw people around you who can love and support you.

If you are someone who is considering suicide or fighting depression I want you to know that you are loved and valuable and there are people in your life who will listen. Maybe that person is your mom, your friend, a coworker, or you can send me a message. I’m really sorry that there is something so hard in your life that this seems like the answer. Your feelings are valid and important and you are not crazy.

Here is a poem that I wrote to someone who is close to me:

please
know that
you’re loved

when you are
too sad to speak
and too afraid to
ask for help
know that there is
someone missing you

there are no
useless people
and no
meaningless lives
and you are no
exception

you are the sunrise
and you get brighter
with each passing
moment
but know
that you have
more warmth
to give before you
burn out

The National Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255
Chat with someone: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Love you,

Abby

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2 thoughts on “Depression and Suicide

  1. Suicide is selfish. The reason I want to do it is to benefit myself. It’s not to ease other people’s burdens but mine. That’s okay. My ex broke up with me for the same reasons and she has the right to do it.

    I’m not going to tell you you weren’t ‘really depressed’ or ‘really suicidal’. That’s condescending. I do think you misunderstand suicidal thinking a bit.

    I’m a part of suicide communities. I read plenty of their stories and their thoughts. Many of them had everything and still wanted out. Many aren’t dead yet not because they have a small bit of hope but, to quote someone, “Frontal lobe unable to override limb systems”.

    We didn’t choose to be born. Let us at least choose to die. Let us die peacefully and painlessly, in a way that’s not so horrifying and a way that will let us say goodbye. Life is bad enough. If you have compassion, you will help a person construct his exit bag.

    Suicide is like ending an abusive relationship, getting an abortion or exiting a theater.

    I want the same rights as you, only I want to die and you want to live. What makes your right more valueable?

    • I don’t think you understand what I mean at all. I understand that suicide is a decision that you make that takes your life into account. I think it is far more selfish for someone to ask you to continue living because it makes their lives better. My statement was not that suicide is not, by nature, “selfish” (though I think that word is condescending and unhelpful) but that telling someone this when they are considering suicide is in no way helpful. It’s often something that is said to discourage someone from committing suicide or something that is said after someone has died in an attempt to make it clear to others that suicide is not a valid option.

      And I’m not saying that you need to have a great loss to suffer with depression or become suicidal. I’m a person who has got a lot of good things going on in my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t experience internal pain.

      As to your last point, I understand what you mean. I personally believe that life has meaning and purpose and that my life was given to me to make something of. However, I also understand that not everyone believes or feels that. I understand that your life is yours, and ultimately it is your decision what to do with it. Is it fair to ask someone who is suffering or in pain or just has no desire to go on to keep living because I think it’s the right thing to do? No. That tells the other person that I value my comfort and my happiness over theirs and that is just not right.

      The point of this post was to say that it is so damaging to dismiss people, especially young people, who are depressed or suicidal just because they are young. I won’t say that being understood and having someone to talk to is always going to make things better, but it is a way to show a person that you care. And I believe that caring for people is so deeply important. There are so many things we say to people because we don’t see what’s going on inside that are so hurtful and I wanted to bring awareness about this specifically to my community that has lost so many young people who were”completely fine”.

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