Growing up I always heard how selfish it was for a person to take their own life. But I always wondered, why would someone take their life? What could be so bad to make someone want to end it all? Parents leaving their kids. Brothers, sisters….family, all leaving before ‘their time’ and leaving the family to deal with the pain of their loved ones who are now gone. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly. It just didn’t make sense to me.
Then I watched my own family deal with mental health issues. My grandmother, my Uncle, my Aunt, my dad and as the years went on; even myself. Depression is real and can not be just swept under the rug. No longer can we ignore the subject and hope it will just go away. No longer can it be the ‘White Elephant’ in the room. No longer can we make others feel shame about their health. No longer can we remain silent.
Let’s Talk Numbers
We all must talk about this subject for the numbers are there:
- 20% of Americans will experience depression sometime in their lifetime.
- 65% of teens with depression don’t receive treatment from a mental health provider.
- 80% of people treated for depression get better within four to six weeks.
- 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental health condition.
90% is an astronomical number and even more when you think how these deaths could be prevented. So let’s talk. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day – September 10th. The month of September is also National Suicide Prevention Month. It’s a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.
We all need to be open and talk. To Share. To share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.
Sarah & Heather
My name is Sarah Clanton, I am a singer-songwriter and cellist based out of Nashville, TN and I live and thrive with Anxiety and ADHD. My friend Heather Mae, singer-songwriter and pop activist based out of Washington, DC, lives and thrives with Bipolar 2 and Depression. Together we got together to speak out and #breakthestigma in honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Our video is a call to action, a call for conversation, inclusion, and compassion to end the bias against mental illness.
Save a life, share this video. Together let’s take one step closer and #breakthestigma
When Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide in July 2017, I knew I wanted to cover a song in his memory. At first, the thought of covering this song was hard, but that’s how I knew it had to be done. Conversations worth having are often the hardest. When I first remembered this Linkin Park song I thought of the good times driving around in my Jeep Grand Cherokee in the early 2000s with my bestie Amber. When I sat down to review LP’s songs to figure out which song I would sing I teared up, my stomach turned, it broke me open as I realized: here was a man so seen, yet so unseen. Every lyric asking for help, trying to process how he was feeling. Meanwhile, millions who relate sang along, struggling with their own mental health, including myself, and I had another realization: we have a serious cultural epidemic. We can all do better, we can all choose our words, take better care to pay attention to those around us. We can all be better listeners. It’s real, and it is right in front of us, it is in us. And it is nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel lost. There’s help. You are not alone.
Hello, my name is Anitza, there are only 36 people in this world with that same name. I found out that Schizoaffective Disorder isn’t that rare and I’m actually grateful. I am currently 21 years old and have been battling my disorder since I was 11 years old. My family and doctors believe my mental disorder started to manifest after my Great Grandmother died. I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar disorder, apparently, it’s common for people with Schizoaffective to be diagnosed with that at first, and for the longest time, I went along with it. I’ve attempted suicide 11 times starting at the age of 12. I haven’t tried any attempts for a year now. It’s not because I’ve finally gotten help or I’m on medication, I’ve tried and I have great insurance it’s just the agencies that say they’ll help really don’t. I suffer from agoraphobia, among many other things, which hinder me to actually push myself to be better. Another reason I haven’t attempted again is well…I’m so depressed that I don’t have the energy to kill myself anymore. I’m just over it. I try to make do with my situation; I remind myself that others have it worse than me but it’s okay that I’m like this.
My mother is a former Forensic Psychologist, so she helps me the best way she can. My father and I are estranged, even though we see each other every day. I have three siblings, one of them suffers from autism and another who suffers from depression. I’m also a mother of a beautiful little girl, I won’t lie…it’s hard being a mom with this disorder but I think I’m doing pretty good with the whole motherhood thing.
At a very young age, I was rejected, emotionally, by my parents because they didn’t understand emotions – mine or their own – and because my needs for sensitivity and openness triggered fears in them they weren’t ready to face. In their own fears, they pulled away when I needed to be shown the way, and since then, I’ve lived with this trauma. Because I wasn’t seen or acknowledged or openly given affection by them, I became afraid to be seen for all of the things that I now cherish – honesty, open-mindedness, authentic love, and most importantly, the right and freedom to be emotionally alive.
As I grew older, my fear of being seen kept me from being real. I hid behind what Glennon Doyle Melton called the representative. I put on a face in school and with my friends and later on in life, at work and within my passion and hobbies. I became someone who was fun-loving and carefree and willing to do everything for the greater good (but that really meant others), but inside and alone, I was still the little girl who wasn’t seen. And because of my lack of family affection, I created my own definitions of what love was: if it wasn’t returned, it was a rejection. And rejection meant that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t enough. And no matter how much I justified rejection as a teenager and later as an adult, that childhood trauma grew. It grows every time I give it power to. …..
Our traumas are never going to leave. We can’t wipe them out, because the lesson from them lies not at the bottom of the pain that they’ve caused. The lessons are in the moments that make us smile. I’m sure of it! They’re in the moments where we lock eyes with our forever after as we say our “I Do’s;” they’re in the divine seconds of seeing our child come into this world; they’re in simple moments where life just seems so absolutely perfect, and they’re in absolutely terrifying moments like writing this post and showing it to the whole wide world. Because our traumas force us to get up and chose to rise above, even when we’re scared, even when we’re not seen, even when our legs shake. They remind us that every day and choice that is bestowed upon us is another chance to do it over again, to be better, and to tell our story.
I wrote this a while ago, but it has never rung truer than today. September is National Suicide Awareness Month. If you’re having problems, please know that you are strong. You are worthy. And you are not alone. More importantly, you are not a burden. To anyone. Seek help. It’s here.
Hello, I am Laurie. I was a caregiver to my mom for 25 years. She suffered from many conditions including anxiety and depression with bipolar mixed in as well. On February 3rd, I went to the gym and did some classes then came home and took my 2 dogs out to get my license plate for my new car. We ran a few errands paid the rent and came home. She had been sick all week with the flu. I checked on her at 12:45 and she was in bad shape. I helped her to the bathroom and called 911. I wanted to get her to the ER. I could not get her down the steps on my own. I sat her down while we waited for the EMT’s to get there. I think by the time they came she was already dead. I watched while they tried to save her life. They had to put a breathing tube and did chest compressions. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life. I was her caregiver and my family all blame me for not getting help sooner. I still play the what if game. I have played the day over and over trying to see what I could have done differently. Because of that day, I suffer from Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. I want to make a difference in someone’s life. I had no support while dealing with everything.
To Read More Stories, Visit NAMI at www.notalone.nami.org
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about suicide.
- Talking about hopelessness and worthlessness.
- Being preoccupied with death.
- Suddenly being happier and calmer.
- Making unusual visits or calling people one cares about.
- Making arrangements or putting one’s affairs in order.
- Giving things away.
HOW TO HELP
If you think someone is suicidal tell them you are concerned they may take their own life.
Ask them if they are going to kill themselves?
If yes, ask them if they have a plan (the more detailed the plan, the greater the likelihood that they will act on that plan). Do not leave the person alone and get help! Call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), 9-1-1, or their mental health clinician.
Can also text the word ‘HELLO’ to 741741
I have shared many times how I myself suffer from depression and anxiety. Having both can at times be exhausting, to put it mildly. The anxiety makes me think about the negatives more and in turn worry more. The worry triggers the depression which makes me then feel even more negative and just continues in a circle.
Growing up I have always been a happy person. One who looks at the bright side. Heck, for two weeks when I was 17 we thought I had thyroid cancer and I still was being positive and looking at the bright side of getting the tumor out and finding it before I felt sick.
But as I got older and having to have my entire thyroid removed, dealing with PCOS and then a child with special needs….life just got the better of me. My husband refused to talk about depression as he himself had dealt with his own mother having it and it left him with a negative view on the subject. This reminded me of my grandmother and what she was like and I didn’t want to become her. I thought if I had depression, then I was my grandmother.
I went about a year ignoring the signs and just getting by. But I saw it. I saw how I didn’t want to go to events like I used to. If it wasn’t something for the kids, I wanted to stay home. Then I was always tired. I was napping all the time. It got to the point where I would spend more time in bed than up with my kids. One day I saw in myself what was happening and I was worried about what kind of mother I was turning into for my kids. And why? Because of fear. Fear of what my husband would say. Fear of being my grandmother. But the reality was that if I didn’t face this head-on, how could I get better? Nothing would change unless I did. So I made the decision to call my Doctor.
I went into my Doctor’s office within a few days. When asked what brought me, I explained what I was feeling. What I was seeing in myself and how I was worried about my kids. My doctor listened, looked at my chart and then said the words I will never forget:
I’m surprised you lasted this long.
My history. My life situation. It all added up to depression. I still remember how relieved I felt hearing her say those words. That is was okay and understandable.
She wrote me a prescription that day and while I still have my bad days, I feel more me again. I also don’t care who knows. Yes, I have depression. Yes, I’m on ‘happy pills’ as I call them. And by being open, not only has this allowed myself to get the medical help I need; but I also have been able to get the emotional help and support of family and friends.
My father went through cancer a few years ago and this left him with depression symptoms. He too recently was found to have a mass on his thyroid which had to be removed. So we sit and joke how we’re both falling apart and need the same medications. Without the stigma there, we can laugh, support each other and know we will be okay.
I ask you all to not only read this but to share. Share with anyone you think may need to hear this or a friend of a friend. Also, know that October is Depression Awareness Month which goes hand in hand as was mentioned at the forefront with suicide.
If we all talk openly about these two subjects, then we can all help.
#SuicidePrevention #StigmaFree #StopSuicide