It's national suicide prevention week. As this project has evolved, I've gotten a lot of questions about losing someone to suicide. What are the signs? What could I have done differently? How do I get past the guilt? The short answer, I honestly don't know. The long answer, well, there are warning signs but they're usually minute, if they show outwardly at all. I believe it starts with being open and bold in our conversations about mental health, depression, suicide, self-harm, addiction, etc.
The guilt question is the hardest for me to address. I think, as human beings, we're wired for it; and someone you love taking their own life will leave you with more questions than answers. The more uncertainty we face, the easier it is to look inward and blame ourselves. All I can offer is this, depression is a disease and for some, it's a losing battle. You don't blame yourself for the person you love getting cancer so why do we think we can take on the weight of depression? The hope I have is that, while cancer is more or less in the hands of science and skilled medical professionals, mental health support isn't. We have resources, and they're growing everyday. We're having the right conversations. We're erasing stigmas. We're making medical advancements in treatment. And we're not doing it alone anymore.
So, to you, whoever you are, wherever you are, You Aren't Alone. We are better together and the world is a better place with YOU in it. Please don't take that away. Today, choose to stay.
For more information and resources, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
If you think someone is thinking about suicide, assume you are the only one who will reach out. Here’s how to talk to someone who may be struggling with their mental health.
Traumatic events left untended that grow into demons that become almost unbearable to face.
Don't let it get to you, you'll be fine, just push through it.
I made it through the rest of my shift fine, laughing and joking around per usual, but when I left that night, I crumbled.
I would sit on whoever’s floor, and I would sob, begging my friends to help me because I was tired of fighting alone.
That became my norm. Drunk everyday after shift, crying alone, but smiling in front of my friends and co workers so that know one would know I was slowly dying.
When I was 21 I had an episode that I can only describe as some sort of psychosis where I was having constant panic attacks for 3 days straight and couldn’t distinguish between reality and dreams.
My story actually started on this day, six years ago and along with it so came my daily struggle with anxiety and depression.
I believed that the sadness started on the day that my husband left me.
I had a son roughly 7 months ago. He is my third child, my second son. By around a week we knew he had issues, but by 3 weeks, I knew something was wrong with me. I am the 1 in 7. I had PPD.
My mom who is the best mom anyone could ever hope for doesn’t understand depression. She just did not understand what was wrong with me.
I have flashbacks of that day sometimes, hearing people laughing and having the time of our lives, feeling the sun beating down and the slight breeze from the water, all the while having no inclination of the tragedy that we would soon have to endure.
At times my depression felt like it danced with my trauma but stepped on my soul in glass shattering steps.
Funny how someone else's PTSD and depression basically triggered my own.
The days, months and years to follow have been a constant struggle between wanting to live for him and not being able to live without him, wanting to tell my story but also not wanting to be defined by it and more deeply feeling the constant anxiety of losing those closest to me.
I couldn’t simply feel better. I couldn’t say…didn’t know how to articulate… that the sadness was growing.
Living in a dark hole of fear and sadness is so foreign to them, but to those of us who live with it daily, it's an all too real prison.
What if…I mean what if…I don’t notice that the semi in front of me stopped for railway tracks? The other driver would be okay. And I wouldn’t have to feel this growing thing inside me anymore.
I will never forget where I was when I literally wanted to jerk my car off the road into a telephone post.
What does PPD look like? It knows no bounds. It does not discriminate on the basis of age or race. It doesn't care what your religion is or how you were brought up. It doesn't care how much you love your children, how hard it was for you to have them, how you got there, or how long you waited and prayed for them. 1 in 7.
The longest journey of my life (a 10 year process) was looking at the scars and acknowledging the depression flowing inside my body.
As she writes, she realizes that the end of her life as a child sex slave, was the beginning of a beautiful life (foreordained by her loving Father in heaven), which she could have never imagined possible.
My name is Dianna Pippins and I am a US Army female Veteran that suffers from PTSD and anxiety due to Military Sexual Trauma while serving my country. Everyday is a challenge and it very hard to just live. I and others like me have suffered in silence for way too long.
I had the overwhelming fear that the people I loved would be taken from me and it was a fear I thought I had to live with, I thought it was my burden to bear until I woke up one morning and decided to get help.
Hope saved me in the same likeness like when a wildfire is finally tamed and controlled.
Food can truly change someone’s life and often makes me wonder who else is suffering because of the food we consume.
I found a therapist the following week. I vomited the Darkness in front of him as brutal as I could stomach. His response, “You’re not always going to feel like this.”
I didn’t get help until I was standing on a desolate plain behind the remnants of bombarded walls.
It was honestly a hundred little things that helped me survive. It was baby ducks coming up to me by the LSU lakes, it was laughter and connection, it was deciding that I wanted more from life, and it was acknowledging that I could be resilient despite all the trauma and darkness.
Other’s transparency about their own mental health struggles helped me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Nothing feels more comforting than realizing that what you face every day, and what seems insurmountable, is not unique to you; you really are not alone.
I AM FREE. And to think IT all had to do with diet. I am truly convinced I am not alone in this food thing.
I could learn to live with myself, and not let my PTSD and depression be the definition of my life. I don't know that she'll ever know it, but that counselor saved my life.
Depression and anxiety are very real and though some forms come from experiences such as mine and others from chemical imbalances, the most important thing to know is that YOU AREN'T ALONE and I'm not alone. We are all in this together.