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

We are so similar. 125 to go…

We as humans are so similar to one another. We have so much more in common than we have differences. We have the same needs, desires, hopes, secrets, fears. And yet, we allow our differences to tear us apart.

We all have the need for purpose. We all want to know that we are on this planet for a reason and if we think we know our purpose, we pursue it. Some find purpose in religion and some find purpose in YOLO. The problem is that, instead of acknowledging our common desire for purpose, we judge one another based on how we find our purpose.

We all desire love and companionship. We all want to be special to someone and we all want to be loved. Some find that love in friends, some find it in Taylor Swiftly, some find it in a significant other, some find it in family members, some find it in sex and some find it in cats. Instead of acknowledging that We’re all going after love, we laugh at the way other people feel that love.

We all fear being alone forever and being useless. We fear being unneeded and unwanted and we handle those fears very differently. Some hide using substances, some hide behind loud personalities, some become bitter, some pursue relationship and some pursue religion. We are so quick to judge the way someone else addresses those fears.

We are all struggling with greed, lust, shame and lying. And yet we call ourselves better than those who struggle differently.

Do you see the point? We are slowly eroding one another. We are hurting and breaking and scraping and judging and crushing eachother’s souls and spirits.

Sure, We’re all different and you may not agree with something that someone is doing, but that certainly doesn’t make one of us any better than another.

If we are all on this boat together, why can’t we take the time to listen to why people deal with things the way they do? Why can’t we be open minded to dealing with things differently and realizing that each of us are on our own path to happiness and healthiness?

This is what leads to people taking lives, whether it be their own or someone else’s.

I obviously still have death and suicide on the mind…

Love you!

Abby

Chris and death. 126 to go…

This is a post that’s been coming for a while, I just haven’t been able to write it.

I wrote this post back in October, Ronald and Death. 323 to go… About a boy who I used to know who died several years ago. It makes me really sad that I have to write another one like it.

There was a boy in my grade named Chris. We were new to our school the same year, in 8th grade, and I remember all meeting at this new student social and him being very nice. I honestly don’t know much else about him aside from that. He was incredibly funny, even though the jokes were never meant for me.

He went missing last week and that was incredibly scary. But his body was found just a couple of days ago. He had committed suicide. Now, the details, the reason and any of that is none of my business. I won’t pretend that I know everything or that it is my right to know anything. And I won’t pretend that we were great friends, or even that I knew him. Because It’s not true.

But here’s what I do know, it makes me incredibly sad. We had been so proud as a class that we hadn’t lost anyone. There were no post-prom horror stories, no terrible car accidents, nothing. It looked like we were going to walk away alright and then this happened. This was a boy who walked across the stage with me just a couple of weeks ago. A boy I saw in the hallway. A boy who suffered through four years of high school alongside of me and my classmates.

Death is so deeply distressing. Life seems to end at the drop of a hat. There is no way to control it. It is one of the only three things that I know I believe in.

You know what makes death so sad? We simplify people down to their parts. The bits they’re made of. Their skin and Bones and tears and blood. We look at people and often fail to see the rest of them.

When a body dies, it shakes us. How do we wrap our minds around the idea that someone’s physical existence, the only part we know, is dead?

The truth is that our existence is more than just our body. Our soul, our passions, our experiences and our thoughts make us who we are.

Maybe we need to spend less time taking care of our physical and outward needs and cater to our real side. What would happen if we all took care of one another? Suicide rates would drop. People don’t kill themselves over their bodies, It’s about what the rest of themselves has been exposed to.

I am so sorry to the family of Chris. I’m praying for you and for strength…

Love you!

Abby

We are building empires. 188 to go…

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon… We are documenting every second of our existence through pictures, tweets, statuses, videos and likes. We are building models of ourselves that exist on the internet.

There will be a day when I am dead and all of my information and records and moments will still be out there for other people to see. There will be parts of us that cannot die because they are trapped in this confusing web that is the internet.

In putting so much of ourselves out there, we are building empires. Empires dedicated to ourselves. We are building and recording a history, we are establishing a culture, we are implementing a dialect, we are gathering followers and we are conquering new territory. We are expanding our little corners of the earth by stretching into the unknowable.

I often wonder whether someone could look at my tiny empire and could take my place. My tiny empire says everything about me: favorite color, worst fear, words I randomly capitalize, way I speak, books I like, friendships I have, nerdy Quirks I have. All of it is stretched across my internet empire. Could someone study my empire and become me? Or at least understand me.

I believe in the soul, but so much of soul has been poured into my empire. My blog, my pictures. Is it possible to see glimpses of a soul through someone’s empire?

My empire is more personal than most because of the relationship I have with you, but I’m neither the rule nor the exception.

I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but it is certainly something worth thinking about.

Love you!

Abby

284 to go…

Do you ever hate life so much that you want to hit a tree with your car? That’s how I feel right now.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I just don’t. I feel stupid and clueless and absolutely useless. I feel like I just can’t do anything right no matter how hard I try. I come back from Florida and I have done everything I can possibly try to be a more positive part of my family and to be happy and to get things done. But it all feels so useless. I feel so worthless. Like a disappointment.

I feel the weight of these invisible standards and these invisible expectations and I just want to hide somewhere and die. I feel so incredibly overwhelmed. So, so overwhelmed.

The worst part is not knowing who to talk to. I am that friend. The supportive one who listens and encourages. I love that. But I feel like these are the things I can’t talk about. This deep sadness I feel hanging over me, the anger and the pain. This deep fear of failure and ending up alone.

I’m in need of a hug. Or maybe six. But the hugs I yearn for are so far away. The hugs I need are unavailable.

I feel so incredibly alone. So alone. Utterly and hopelessly alone. I also feel like I’m stark raving mad. I can’t make anything make sense. I just want to go home. But I don’t know where home is any more. I have always felt this desire to go “home” but I can never figure out where home is. It’s so weird. I’m so weird. I think I need to get some help, and more than that I think I need to get some sleep.

Abby

Living and dying. 295 to go…

I have something to write about today.

I was talking to a really good friend of mine today and I said “We’re all dying. We spend our whole lives dying.” To which he responded “So, living and dying are the same thing?” He was being sarcastic. But I think he’s right.

From the moment we are born, the end is inevitable. Unless Jesus comes back or you’re sinless, you are going to die. It’s a date that we are all aware of but don’t like to talk about. From the moment we are born we are destined to die. (I know three things about life. It’s going to end. It’s going to suck. It’s going to be beautiful,) from the moment we are born, we begin dying.

This poses the question: is dying an act or a process. I think that dying is a process. It takes time, it has factors and it has a climax, which is the end result of death. So death is a process carried out from our birthday to our death day. If death is a process then life must be also.

So, this boy asked me when the climax of life was. Hmmm… It’s not when you die and It’s not when you’re born. It is whenever you choose it to be. It’s different for each person.

So here is what I want to know, how does the fact that living and dying are the same change how I live? Because that’s knowledge that changes you. Or at least me.

Question of the Day- thoughts on this?

Love you!

Abby

Ronald and death. 323 to go…

I’m going to be really depressing today, and you’re going to deal with it.

Four years ago today a boy I knew died.

We were in Mrs. Kline’s fifth grade class together and sat next to one another for the first couple weeks of school. It was my first day in a new school and I remember him asking to borrow my purple crayon and introducing himself as Ronald. I got to know him pretty well that year. I had a major crush on him for a large part of the year and he was pretty flirtatious for a fifth grade boy. He was charming with his blonde hair and blue eyes. He was a nice kid who I liked a lot.

Less than two years after I moved to where I live now, he died. He was my age, either thirteen or fourteen. I wish I could say that I know exactly how he died, but I’m afraid to say in case I botch the truth.

It scares me that we were so young and so close and that now he is gone. I’m not claiming to have some deep and personal relationship with him, but I do believe that every person we come in contact with changes us.

Life is ending so quickly. The whole planet is falling apart. People I know are dying, family members are getting sick, friends are getting cancer, family friends are losing their jobs. It just isn’t fair. This is not how we were created to live.

At CORE tonight, we talked about legacies. What will people say when you’re gone? And how are you striving to make your life something worth talking about? I never truly think about it, because I always have this sense that I have so much more time. I’ve got years and years to go to college, get a job, open a bakery, do a video blog, get into an art museum, get married, see the world, hike the grand canyon, have kids and then die. But It’s times like these where I am reminded of how quickly and surprisingly life ends.

I want to leave a legacy that is more than: she gave good hugs, she was nice, she was funny, she was smart. I want to be so much greater and so much more useful than all of that.

“I’m not saying that everything is survivable, just everything but the last one is.”

Love you!

Abby