Mental illness. Shhh. Don’t talk about it. Recently, I’ve been gearing up for a Suicide Awareness walk that I’ll be participating in on October 18 at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds. One of the ways that I gain participants in events is to post and post and post because it raises awareness, attracts interest, etc. I like to grab images off the net to share because people like shiny objects.
One of the most descriptive explanations of depression I have ever seen can be found at http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com This girl gets it. Depression sucks. The whole world skews. Right down to your taste buds, nothing is what it was. If you have never experienced depression – not, “oh I’m a little bummed out because my team didn’t make the play offs” depressed, but “I really don’t care if I live or die and not even chocolate tastes good” depressed – then this might shed a little light on the experience. So, I shared her picture talking about suicide.
The reactions astound me. I get Wow. Which is supposed to convey to me that I am being inappropriate. Because, you know, it’s bad manners to talk about mental illness. Which is why people hide their symptoms, fail to seek help and ultimately commit suicide. Because that is better manners. Send me to Etiquette Hell (A most excellent blog) but I think I’ll take being considered rude over giving one second of credence to the idea that we must treat mental illness as a taboo.
Depression is certainly not the only reason people commit suicide. The reasons are as varied as the people who ultimately sacrifice their lives, not as a permanent solution to a temporary problem (which it is) but as an out in the absence of hope that the situation will ever improve. I simply believe that if those suffering were not ashamed and didn’t fear being stigmatized because they are struggling that more people would seek help. Fewer lives would be lost.
Next time you feel a little uncomfortable because a topic is emotional, I want you to stop. Just for a second. Ask yourself if you have any idea what is really happening in the minds of those around you. Nope, you aren’t a mind reader, so you don’t. Maybe, this is an opportunity to say something kind. And just maybe it’ll make a damned bit of difference. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. Stop spreading shame. They have enough of that.
Suicide Awareness Walk Information