On Dealing With Depression and Suicide
Remember when I wrote a post about how people should use their social media platform wisely? Remember how I said there's a good side and bad side to being on social media? Well, when it comes to the bad side of social media, Twitter experts are on top of my list.
I'm a firm believer that if you aren't well informed on a subject, you probably shouldn't add your two cents. But due to the first amendment, we're all entitled to our opinions. However, if you don't have anything nice to say or don't understand a certain topic, you should probably shut the fuck up.
Insert the death of Robin Williams. Williams tragically took his own life at the age of 63. After bringing happiness to our lives through TV and films, it saddens me that he didn't have the same happiness in his life which led him to the choice he made. Truth is, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors and are unaware of how people choose to deal.
Insert Twitter experts or better yet, the peanut gallery. For the first hour or two, my timeline was filled with sympathy and sad tweets related to Williams' death. Then it suddenly shifted to he was selfish, people with depression should just get over it, and my favorite: pray about it.
As a person who is going into the mental health field and has personally battled (and continues to) depression and attempted suicide, it's not as easy as these so called Twitter experts think. So here's my POV and truth about depression and suicide:
1. Depression is a mental health issue.
It goes beyond just being sad or having a bad day. It's much deeper than that. It's a bad + sad day x 10 that feels like it's never going to fucking end. Of course we wish we could just get over it. Don't you think we would if we could at the moment? You think we want to be depressed? Getting over it is easier said that done.
2. Everyone battles depression differently.
Not everyone who is depressed automatically wants to kill themselves or actually does it. But doesn't mean the thought doesn't come to mind once in a while. However, people deal until they heal in different ways. Some people drink incessantly. Others abuse drugs. I happened to be one of those people who chose to cut themselves which lasted for about 7 years.
3. Sometimes, it takes more than a prayer.
One thing I hate, especially in the black community, is that we need to pray on everything. Now before you come for me, I am a praying woman however, praying doesn't magically make the pain go away. You can pray all you want but sometimes you need help. Like real professional help to get through in addition to praying. God only helps those who help themselves.
4. I don't think suicide is selfish or unselfish.
I always feel like if you are NOT in my shoes, please don't tell me how to live my life. That's how I feel when folks say suicide is selfish. "You're going to hurt your friends and family," they say. "What about how they feel?" they say. Right but what about how I'm feeling? In my pain and hurt, I'm supposed to think about others?! What kinda shit is that? These others sometimes aren't thinking about me and when they do, it might be too late. I feel that people shouldn't immediately view suicide as a selfish act but that's my personal view. People may opt to choose suicide because they may feel that's they're only way out regardless of whether we agree or not. As someone who has attempted suicide in the past, it saddens me when people immediately jump to conclusions and call me selfish. Try asking me what is so bad in my life that I feel the need to end it. That's a start.
5. It can and does get better.
Not going to lie, I still battle with depression here and there but that desire to kill myself no longer exist. To be honest, I probably should've gotten help a long time ago but depression, suicide, and mental illness is so taboo in the black community that I felt ashamed. I was 14 when I first wanted to kill myself. I voiced these pains to my mother and she called me a coward. Since then, I always kept my depression under wraps. But it sucked. I should've gotten help. That's why I'm going into counseling. People need help out here. I do believe that life is about choice. Is falling into depression a choice? Definitely not. But how we choose to deal with it is. Therefore, if you or someone you know is battling depression, please get help. I didn't and I suffered longer than I should have. Somehow I managed but there's a chance that I wouldn't have gotten through. Talk to someone that is a professional or is a person you can trust. It may not seem like it at the moment, but it can get better.
Depression is real. Suicide is real. Don't judge. Lend a hand and be a listening ear. Sometimes that's all a person needs.
Peace & Light,