Just last week a young man in my neighborhood committed suicide – Today I see a “need to know” story titled U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-year High – and I feel like there is something that people need to think about.
According to my doctor, Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. One that I’m currently working through myself and have had bouts of throughout the years. My daddy passed away when I was 15. He was my best friend. There is a lot that he has missed in my life, both good and bad. Then my mom passed about 12 years ago. Again, so much she is missing in my life. I’ve lost all my grandparents in between the time I lost my dad and now. It’s hard. Life isn’t easy. I went to see a therapist who’s lasting message to me was “You are not an orphan. Your parents didn’t choose to leave you – they had to go.” Ok, I get it. I get it. I still repeat it to myself at least once a week. But just because my head gets it, doesn’t mean that my heart understands.
When dealing with someone in a situation similar to mind, try to keep these facts in your mind.
1.) Yes, we know we have a support system and tons of people that love us and care about us. We know we can lean on you for support, but you aren’t the person we are missing and we have to move beyond that fact before we can reach out to our support team. It takes a strong heart to admit that we need help.
2.) Sometimes it’s not the hard things in life that make our life unbearable. It’s the good things. I’ve never been more down than when I want to pick up the phone and call my mom to tell her I got a raise or that my dog learned a new trick. It’s not about being sad. It’s about feeling sad and not sharing good news is just as bad as not sharing bad news.
3.) Being left alone can be helpful – It can also be the most hurtful thing. I pull away. I don’t like to talk about my feelings. But I have friends that are relentless about texting me and making sure that even if I’m alone, they are always just a text, phone call or visit away. I actually have several friends who check in with me daily. Sometimes they are what keep me going.
4.) Talking about my parents is helpful if I choose to do it, but please don’t push the topic. I loved my parents more than anything. I’m an only child, so they were my playmates, study partners and friends. Losing them feels like I lost a limb. And it still has phantom pains.
5.) It gets easier – then it doesn’t. That’s why I’m stuck in the cycle I’m currently in. Like everyone else, we have good days and bad days. I can go years without medicine and then one day something just switches in my head and I need help. Thankfully, I have friends who can see this coming and they are there to encourage me to seek attention – I’ve been given the ultimatum to either see a therapist or go back on my medicine. For me, that’s one of the most helpful things that could have happened at that time. My friend could see the pain I was in and how I was able to cope with it better when I had assistance. This approach wouldn’t help everyone, but for me…
6.) Something else that has been helpful for me is finding a way to reach out to others. I love making other people happy. It means the world to me. I have a very giving heart. I recently found a website called More Love Letters that encourages you to write letters to send to either people they email you about or just random letters. I’ve found that I’m much more likely to do this on a “down day” since writing to cheer someone else up cheers me up.
Please note – I’m in no way a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is just some of the things I wish more people knew about me.