With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, there has been a lot of talk about suicide and mental illness. And I think it’s great that we’re talking about it, and I’ve decided to add my voice to the conversation.
Disclaimer: I am not suicidal, nor have I ever been. I have never had depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health issues. I have never personally known someone who committed suicide or had suicidal thoughts (at least, to the extent of my knowledge). The only knowledge and experience I am bringing to this blog post are 18 years as a human being and the handful of articles I’ve read on the subject in the past two days. But I think this is important, so I’m writing about it. If I say something ignorant or out of line, please forgive me and critique me so that I can fix it.
There are a lot of different ideas out in the world about suicide. Some say it’s a choice; others say that depression truly is the killer. Some say it’s selfish; others say it’s almost selfless. The only thing people can really agree upon is that it is a problem but that it can be prevented.
A big issue that is brought up is for the people surrounding those who are depressed, suicidal, otherwise mentally unhealthy, or just going through rough times. And what I keep hearing is this: listen. Care about the person next to you enough to notice when they aren’t doing well and do something about it. You don’t have to be pushy, though some people need direct confrontation. But just being there for someone is an incredible gift. People have been rescued because a mere stranger cared enough to listen to them.
I think it’s safe to say that every case of depression or suicide is unique, as every person is unique. For some, the thought of the suffering their suicide would bring on their family and friends is enough to keep them from the terrible deed. Others feel like a burden, and that they would be better off dead. So we come to the issue of worth. You are worth so much. Maybe you’ve done terrible things in your life, or maybe terrible things have been done to you. But you are still precious and beautiful. You can still bring light into someone else’s life, no matter how dark your past is. Let me say it again, you are worth the space you take in the world, the time it takes to tell your story, even the money and effort it may take to bring you healing. You are worth so much, and you are not alone. Please don’t throw it all away.
For professional help, here’s the number for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
And if you know me (or even if you don’t), and you just want to talk to someone (about anything, doesn’t have to be related to this post at all), send me a text, a facebook message, an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or write me a letter. And if you want me to write you a letter, I will. Just let me know what you need.
You are worth so much more than you think, and you are not alone.