I lost a friend in high school in 1986. Then, a good friend I grew up with ended his life February 27, 1988. I still miss him. I've lost several more friends to suicide since that time. Most recently, my cousin ended his life on April 18, 2017. I don't want anyone else to give up on life. I want people to know there are people who care, many treatment options, and most importantly there is HOPE of better days.
One of my friends, who is dealing with severe depression due to child loss, has a secret support group on Facebook. She asked me and a few other ladies to be a member of her support system. The group is used as a safe place for her to reach out when she struggles. Becoming vulnerable is one of the strongest things she has done. She said the video below was helpful to her and might be helpful in understanding her. So, I am sharing it because if it helped her, maybe it can help someone else.
I have a few friends who tried to commit suicide and were saved by hardworking paramedics and doctors. Some of them were helped with people reaching out to them after their attempt. They needed to give voice to their pain and know they were loved and valued. Others needed counseling to examine the root cause and to change unhealthy thought patterns. A few learned they were deficient in certain nutrients, corrected that through diet and supplements, and found they had much less trouble with depression.
Another friend needed to get their serotonin levels higher with medication. Another learned their depression was seasonal and learned how to give helpful self care during those times. Some of my friends have been on prescription medicines and have gone through several changes in medication. Others had to completely change their routines and parts of their lives. The answer(s) can be simple or complicated, but with effort, they found things that helped.
One friend, with a long family history of mental illness and a diagnosis of severe depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety issues, and PTSD, had electroconvulsive therapy twice. In addition to that, he has been in treatment centers for weeks at a time trying to find answers that work for him. I applaud him for his commitment and great effort to find a solution. The only change in my attitude towards him is that I admire him more. He witnessed a horrific event in childhood and has carried the weight of it his entire life. I'd wonder if he was human if he did not struggle. He's a strong, brave, incredible, and beautiful fighter.
There are five women on my Facebook who have lost children to suicide. There are two women who have lost husbands that way. Then there are the siblings, cousins, and friends. I think it is a safe bet to say most people have been affected by suicide through at least one other person.
There is nothing wrong with seeking better health and that includes mental health. Unfortunately, there is a stubborn stigma about mental health issues so people hide their suffering and try to deal with it alone. I think if we acknowledge we are mind, body, and soul then we should also acknowledge all three parts can suffer. There is beauty in the strength it takes to reach for help to escape something ugly. There should be more dialogue to emphasize that.
"I believe people change people because people need people. We need to embrace being human and all of the beauty and ugliness that comes along with it." Sara Liberti
Dear Reader, If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to reach out. If the first person/place you reach out to does not help, reach out to another. Repeat as necessary.
You are worth the search for better mental health.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255