Today I was going to participate in the Finish The Sentence Prompt hosted by the fabulous Kristi of Finding Ninee and her friends Mardra and Kenya. Instead I am sitting here with goosebumps, sick to my stomach.
We lost another person to Suicide, Anthony Bourdain.
I have written before how I have survived suicide. Unless you have been on that brink you have no idea that “surviving” is real. It is a triumph. It is something that you never speak of, you are ashamed you almost threw away your life. It is something no one speaks about and very few address. It’s something you think you should be ashamed of, that we have been conditioned to think of as being a selfish choice. Suicide isn’t a “choice” and it’s not an “easy way out”. Not to speak for everyone who has gone to war with suicide, but for me (as a teen) it felt like the only option. There was no door #3 to choose from.
I have lost very good friends to suicide. I have friends who have lost their parents or siblings or children. Those left behind when their loved one lost the battle of the dark. I can only imagine what their personal demon was, what led them to believe that it was better to leave this world than to be a part of it. Just as we are all individuals, a person who is battling suicide has a personal battle. I can only speak to mine. For me, I truly believed I would be doing my friends and family a favor not to be on this Earth anymore.
I was only 12 years old, the first time I thought to end my life.
I could not see that I had positive impact on them, that I was needed in their life. I now know I was wrong, but there really would have been no convincing me otherwise. I see that now, as an adult who fought the battle and survived. I will also admit that it was seeing the carnage of the families left behind have increased my chances of keeping suicide at bay.
I say at bay because I know I might have to battle again. Not today, but I can never let my guard down. I hope with every fiber of my being that I never again think, for even a millisecond, that my family would be better off without me. It’s one of the many reasons why I arm myself with my village. (Though they probably didn’t know that until just about now). It is why I am determined to live my life as one of gratitude. It’s why I might not always be the nicest person in the world but I try to be kind. It’s why suck it up butter cup is my mantra (and have learned to be patient with those who cannot). It’s why I always end on a positive note and see the silver lining. I try (and yes, fail) to not judge others and their decisions/actions. I try to be there for my villagers like they are there for me. I admit that they are there more often than I am. I’m not perfect and I can allow myself to be flawed.
I try and every day I count as a win.
No one knows what lets suicide win over love. Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade and other celebrities you know and admire are the unwilling public faces of suicide. We question why? They were successful, funny, they had everything you wish you possessed. The questions begin: how come they didn’t get help? Obviously a person must be in a dark and deep depression before the battle against survival begins, but it is not always easy to seek help. Before you think you would “of course” seek help, ask yourself:
Would you tell someone you were depressed, struggling, fighting a demon? Would you face the judgement of: you have a perfect family, you have a million dollars, you have fans and friends that adore you–what “right” do you have to be depressed? Would you be willing to fight the stigma of mental illness? Would you be willing to have people question your judgement as you fought to stay in this world? Would you be willing to have a frank conversation about what you are dealing with, all the ugly and cauterize it from your being? Would you be willing to admit that you don’t have it all together, that you have been living a facade and are barely holding yourself from shattering into a million pieces for absolutely no reason you can articulate? Would you overcome your fear that you might lose your child or your job? Are you willing to go to a doctor and possibly take medication that could alter who you are?
I hope so. I hope there is a safe person in your life where you can lay your demons bare. I hope there is one thing, just one minuscule thing that allows you to wake up on the right side of the grass tomorrow. I hope you arm yourself to battle suicide with every essence of your being and every tool at your disposal. I know it isn’t easy to share, you feel embarrassed or not worthy or (insert your reason here). I know those feelings are real. I know that what you are feeling cannot be explained.
But I have seen the faces of those families that had a loved one who lost the battle of suicide and the carnage they had to wade through to rebuild a life without them. I hope I don’t ever have to see that look on your loved ones face.
I’d rather see you instead.
I am not a psychiatrist or mental health professional. I am a wife, mom, daughter and friend who has battled back from the dark. Please believe me when I tell you that you are strong enough to kick Suicide’s ass. You can win, you just need your villagers.
If you feel you are losing the battle, please call the Suicide Prevention line 1-800-273-8255. If you are in crisis call 911.
Just please, please do not give up.