I wish that I could say that I automatically knew that it was suicide prevention week. I didn't though. I found an article on Facebook about it. Whenever I see a whole week devoted to mental illness my heart lifts a little. I think, "It's about time that we started talking." It's normally just a week and a chance to like someone's Facebook status and go on with their day.
I've been very open with my struggle with mental illness. I'm not ashamed of that. That wasn't a mistake. I'm not oversharing personal information. I may be one of the few people actually talking about it. Maybe someone will somehow stumble upon this blog and see a post. I want people to know that I have no shame in the fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety. It's a part of my life and 57 million people deal with a mental illness as well. I'm not the only one.
I've dealt with my mental illness for eight years now. They're have been good and bad days, months and years. You want to know how long it took me to get help? Eight years. I didn't even have the courage to ask for help. My doctor sat down with me at a regular checkup and asked me if I wanted to see a therapist. All I could do was nod and try not to cry. Looking back at that makes me sick to my stomach. Eight years of laying in bed, panic attacks, hair falling out, thoughts of suicide, laying on the floor in a ball crying etc. Finally someone noticed.
Then I did The Humans of Smithsburg. I never imagined it would have gotten the response that it did. It surprised me how much people cared. It's funny because at the time the post was posted I was at a all new low. My depression and anxiety came back with an avenge my senior year. I missed a lot of school, I wasn't active etc. The thoughts of suicide came back as well. I never thought that it would come to that. I hadn't thought of suicide in years.
This post isn't for the people who just think of this week as another week. It's for the people who actually believe that this world would be a better place without them. You couldn't be more wrong. I know how you feel. I know how lonely, sad and exhausted you are. I've been there and I still feel that way sometimes. You matter, you're loved and you are always enough. I'm not just saying that to say that. You have a purpose. The world would not be a better place without you here. You don't realize how much you are going to leave behind. Your family, your friends, the people you didn't know you made an impact on and the people that you were going to meet. They care, they love you. You don't just kill yourself. You kill all the people around you. That's what I thought about whenever I had suicidal thoughts. I thought about Swag, DL, Fiona and my other friends and family. What would they do if I was gone? Would they be okay? Would one of them commit suicide? I would constantly have to remind myself that I wasn't a burden to other people. I had to remind myself that I had something to live for. I still do. Ask for help, go to therapy, take medication etc. Take one day at a time. It's okay not to be okay. It's not okay to not ask for help. I can't say that enough. There is no shame in asking for help with a mental illness.