With the passing of two, well loved, well-accomplished people this week, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, from suicide it’s made me think one thing; when will it be me? This isn’t meant to be sinister or morbid, it’s a realization of living with depression. If two people like that can lose their battle to this mental illness, when is the time going to come that I do too?
I’ve thought about suicide in my lifetime probably a lot more than anyone would gather. There were actually three times in my life I can pinpoint that there was a time when I was pretty sure I was going to do it. Swallowing pills wouldn’t be that bad and it’d make it just as easy as falling asleep and never waking up. Simple and straightforward.
But for some reason, something stopped me every time. And I’m so grateful for whatever that is. I’m not sure if it’s my family or friends or just my stubbornness to not let this illness rule me, but in any case, I am still here. I’m still breathing. I’m still learning how to deal with my reality that this illness is a big piece of me.
We still belittle mental health in our society. I know this because of the passive comments that are often shot my way in the form of “well at least you’ve got all your limbs” or “at least you’re not actually sick.” I really wish someone could come over on a really bad day and see what happens. I wish they could see the physical symptoms and illnesses I go through every time I do a medication change. I wish just for one day, they can feel the fact that my anxiety butterflies cause my muscles to tense so tightly that I am in such extreme pain that I can’t move.
But no one sees that. Why? Because I’m ashamed of it. I’m ashamed of my depression and my anxiety even though we’re told that we’re all accepting of this. If this is true, why do people still feel the need to call in sick to work with either the flu or a cold instead of saying they’re just battling their depression today? Or maybe it makes me a coward that I’m too scared to say that and have people know that I struggle daily.
There are days where I stand in my shower and cry for hours. Hours. Not minutes or seconds, hours. I stand there till my skin is so wrinkled I’m not sure it’s ever going to go back to normal. There are days where I can’t eat because my anxiety is so bad everything I eat comes back up. There are days when I debate who I am and what my place is in this world.
Mental health conversations have gone a long way but we’re not there yet. This is evident by the huge losses we had this week. Kate Spade was creative and successful. Anthony Bourdain was blunt and inspirational. Both of them with families and everything to live for but depression convinced them otherwise. Depression made them feel worthless and that they no longer had a place here on this Earth. They wanted their suffering to end and I understand why.
So, if you’re struggling right now and trying so hard to remember your purpose, you have one. I guarantee it. I guarantee that you’re loved and right now you need to reach out. Please reach out. Please hang on. Please know that your life is worth it. You’re worth it.