The days that happen

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I reckon everyone who has a Facebook account has had the same images and the same statements of shock and sadness regarding the death of one man:

Image by Monty Brinton, at www.imdb.com

Image by Monty Brinton, at http://www.imdb.com

And it is shocking. It is sadIt’s horrific to think that there are depths of sadness and despair that can eventually swallow a life up, permanently snuffing out the flame of existence.

The thing is, I wish it wasn’t so shocking. I don’t want us to be so dumbfounded when suicide occurs. I want us to know that this is what can happen, when depression and mental illness spirals out of control. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom of depression. And if you don’t know what it is like on that precipice of life and death, let me tell you:

Hope disappears. There is no more will to live. And regardless of every single spark of brightness around you, there is a certainty that it is not of you. It is not a part of you. The sparks do not belong to you, and the sparks shine regardless of whether or not you are there to see them. There is no light. No hope. No reason. And rather than ending with a moment that changes the world, in your suicidal state, you know that yours will be a simple and silent end of being. A relief, not just to yourself, but surely to every single person you interact with.

I don’t want this to be unknown. I don’t want you to have no idea of what it is like.

Because if you know, then you are aware.

And just like that, a scrap of stigma is stripped away.

We need to talk about this shit.

People often thank me for the more revealing posts I write, about mental health and my own times of total and utter despair of life. And I always reply the same way: Someone has to write about what it’s like. Someone has to be telling the truth and breaking the silence about this. And if I had to experience this stuff, the least I can do is try to force something good to come out of it.

Because, there are people.

There are people now, envying Robin Williams.

Thinking he had the right idea.

Wishing they could do the same.

Knowing beyond a doubt that this is the only answer to the way they are feeling.

And if that’s you, I can’t offer you a solution. Because mental health just doesn’t work that way.

But what I can offer you is this: Just… wait. Give it a day. If a day is too much, give it 12 hours. Still too much? Fine. Just put your plans on pause for an hour then. OK, half an hour. Take half an hour. And if you are inside, go outside. If you are outside, go inside. Change the scenery.

And then, count.

Not happy thoughts, not blessings or good things or any of that. Because right now, they just don’t cut it.

I want you to count what you can see. Grass? That’s 1. A wall? 2. Your feet? 3 and 4. Keep counting until you’ve run out of things that you can see. Then move on to things you can hear.

And as you feel those internal systems slowing down and calming. As you start to catch your breath. As you manage to lift your head, know this: It isn’t over. This is a battle. A battle that you are going to want to lose. A battle that seems to already have been won. No… it isn’t over.

But you did get through.

Now what?

Ask for help. Please. Find someone to ask for help. Your GP. A friend. Your neighbour. There will be someone.

I’m not going to tell you that your life matters, or that it’s a bad choice. But I am going to tell you that there are alternatives. You just need to slow down and put suicide off for long enough to start working out what those alternatives are.

And I’m sorry. I’m so very, very sorry that you are in this space. It’s fucked up. I know that because I’ve been here, too.

Which proves that you are not alone.

Which proves that survival is possible.

There are days like these. And the more we can talk about them, the better.

Image source unknown.

Image source unknown.

If you need someone to talk to, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat to them online at http://www.lifeline.org.au 

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11 responses »

  1. Hi there,

    Just want you to know that I think you’re awesome, my husband has depression, he’s well now but 12 months ago not so much, it was a shitty time for all of us, our son was 12 at the time and had his Dad sussed out pretty quickly. I told him that Dad was a bit sad and it wasn’t our fault and we just had to love him and be helpful, he then asked me if Dad had depression. Clever kid. The following week he suggested that Jeff contact http://www.menstherapy.com etc, an ad he’d seen on the telly. Gave us a big laugh.

    Anyway, we have our husband and father back now, and I know that he will go and see his GP if he starts feeling crappy again.

    Anyhoo, you’re awesome and I’m sorry that you are having to deal with your own crap times.

    Cheers Maree

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    • Hey Maree, Thanks for this. It’s great you have your husband back, and your (very smart!!) son has his Dad back!! Good on you for standing by him, too – so often this just doesn’t happen. Hang in there xxx

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  2. Excellent post. Thanks for telling it like it is. When my 15 year old was suffering from depression people always asked my why she was sad…like there needed to be a specific reason. I can say that I didn’t understand depression at all until I saw all of the hope drain out of her and the spark leave her eyes. She suffered in silence with only her family by her side because it is too “weird” to be depressed publicly. The constant pretending was very difficult and really wore her out each day. As a middle school teacher, I’m aware that many of my students suffer from depression as well. I wish there wasn’t such a stigma attached to this so they could reach out for help more easily. Thanks blogging so openly and honestly about depression.

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    • Thanks for reading. There doesn’t need to be a reason. Or maybe the reason lies in brain chemicals, which is another unspoken cause of depression. It’s so sad when you hear of it playing havoc with young people. I hope she’s doing OK now; sending her (and you) huge squishy cyber hugs x

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  3. Thank you – good post! It is absolutely peculiar that there are things”we don’t talk about”. Epilesy is another one – but it’s better now than it was. I suffered from post natal depression after a baby. I had constant terrifying panic attacks. I read a book by Dr Claire Weeks about floating on top of them until they faded. She said that’s the worst you will ever feel in your life. I struggled on for about six months “floating” whilst drowning actually. I never told a soul! I remember walking past a lovely flowering hydrangea in my friends garden, feeling no joy, and thinking to myself “It would be so easy to kill myself and my children, and get it over with”. The thought SHOCKED me. I was more terrified than ever. I took myself off to our family doctor (those old fashioned things we had once!) and got myself sorted out. It’s the problem of NOT TALKING about this because we feel weak and “insane” – so people don’t share in a world where they have no opportunity to comfortably talk about mental illness. I had never heard of post natal Depression, Panic Attacks – or even Depression! It is far, far better nowadays. Progress IS being made. People ARE speaking out. I see huge progress thanks to people like you – thank you for writing about it.

    Namaste

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    • Hi, I so agree with you. My Divine Miss L who I write about occasionally has epilepsy. I so want there to be a time when stuff like this isn’t shocking and upsetting. It’s a reality for so many and when it’s unspoken, those people wind up isolated. I’m so glad you saw your doctor, and I’m so glad to hear you talking about it, too. Hang in there xx

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  4. A brilliant post! Your comment about there being people out there who envy Robin Williams made me stop and think. And your strategy for dealing with depression is great… Thank you so much for sharing!

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  5. Pingback: Prevent it. | The Naughty Corner of Social Niceties

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