The first time I felt suicidal was when I was seven. I was being bullied by my classmates and teacher during the day and then at home. I didn’t see how life would improve. It didn’t for a long time.
I’ve never purposefully attempted suicide but some could look at my past behavior and say I was subconsciously hoping it would happen naturally in due course. Reckless behavior aside, I’ve managed to cope for many years by medicating myself legally or otherwise. Then I had children.
My mental health was a dangerous secret that I couldn’t hide any longer. I was failing at managing it on my own and the last thing I wanted was to fail my children by being incapable of caring for them.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month but really it needs to be every day. It’s absurd to me that it’s marginalized or cause for shame. Would you withhold insulin from a diabetic or criticize them for needing medical attention? Would you chastise someone with asthma and tell them they needed to “suck it up”, “get over it already”, or ask them, “Is it really that bad?”
A coworker of mine many years ago happened upon me in the midst of a crying jag as I was hiding in my car. She admitted to me that her son struggled with depression. I’ll never forget her words, “He can’t help it. Asking him to snap out of it would be like asking a man with a broken leg to ride a bike… You can always talk to me.”
So if you are sick of hearing about depression, anxiety, and mental health then please help others in your life receive care and support so it doesn’t have to be discussed in terms of awareness but as a health condition instead. Someone’s kids will thank you some day. Someone’s family might never have to think about the pain of losing the person they love to mental illness.
Your kindness can make the world of difference in someone’s life and their family’s. I know that Baby Blues Connection did in mine and my children have them to thank.