It is so good to see you again. A full year since we last met in recognition of World Suicide Awareness Day.
This year I sat for, what felt like an eternity, thinking about what to write. Did I want to cut and paste a cheery blog?
Not really. It seemed too dishonest.
So, I sat and asked myself the pivotal question, “How do you give someone hope, when you’re running low on it yourself?”
For the past 4 months, I have been losing my vision. I say the past 4 months, but it happened much like Ernest Hemingway described bankruptcy, “Gradually, then suddenly.”
Since then, I’ve seen over six specialists, been diagnosed, but I am still trying to find treatment options. For a writer to struggle to read is reminiscent of a cruel universal joke. Even to write this blog will take tremendous effort.
So why bother?
I’ve been lying here, feeling sorry for myself. I get it. You get it. I’ve cried myself to sleep. I’ve looked around for a friend and realized some of the closest people in my life have vanished.
I’ve wanted to vanish.
So what stops us? Those of us suffering depression, suicidal thoughts? What stops you?
Sometimes I make a list, of the big and the little things I’d miss.
What will my brother’s wedding look like?
Will my sister’s kids love Mary Poppins like their mom?
Who will win the Game of Thrones?!
…Sometimes it’s hard to find any reasons at all.
Even those of us who suffer depression can’t always sympathize with others who feel the same way.
When I heard news that Robin Williams had killed himself, I was outraged more than empathetic. He had it all! Money to live ten times over, a family, awards, etc. Then I learned he’d just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and that struck a chord. I understood that. How illness on top of mental illness can be the tap on the glass that shatters everything.
But for a lot of people, that tap takes a different shape. Not always an illness, but a loss of a loved one, a missed opportunity, yet another disappointment in a universe that seems to have forgotten about you.
I was standing in the middle of my own tragedy, ignorant and judgmental of others and theirs.
Suddenly I felt ashamed, and I knew I had to talk to you.
You see, this is how I'd like to spend the next year.
Remember that everyone is fighting their battle. Remember that sometimes the most tortured have the biggest smile. The girl carrying an empty box can harbor the most hope for those around her. Be human to one another because you have known the struggle. You have fought the demons through the night only to realize that the sun does not whisk them away come morning.
Less than a week ago, the World Health Organization released an official report on worldwide suicide. It had taken them an entire decade to complete. The results took my breath away.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life.
That comes to approximately 800,000 suicides a year.
The official statement pointed out that out of 172 countries, only 28 have government implemented action plans for suicidal persons.
Without realizing it, in roughly the time it has taken you to reach this point in this blog, 3 people have taken their own life.
Three people in an expansive world of learning, infinite possibilities, Gelato, cotton candy, birthdays, sunrises, sunsets, thunderstorms, Christmases, and wishing on stars, will be lowered into the ground or be carried away by the wind.
So I beg you, don’t become numb. Don’t become so lost in your suffering that you truly forget that you are not alone. We may feel broken, but the flaws, as you will eventually realize, make you compassionate and wise.
Arm yourself to keep fighting. Find your reasons to stay, as big or small as they may be.
LAUGH…LIKE A LOT.
The battles can be hell, but continue to fight and in the end the things you fought for will bring you more joy than that infinite darkness ever could have.
I will see you next September.
With Love Always,
OR CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE
Worldwide Directory of Suicide Prevention hotlines, online chat, text-lines, and resources