Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Suicidal Thoughts

I've learned far more about suicide than I've ever wanted to learn this past month in the wake and sad fallout concerning Evan.  Since then, I've formulated some serious and important thoughts which I'll impart in my next post.  For now, I just found this from one of my anonymous students who I've been giving private art lessons to.  This student is a teenager. You never know what a person is thinking.  Here it is.  We need to deal with this, people.

'Hey guys. I just needed to get something off my chest tonight that I feel is very important and that needs to be said. My mind has been weighed down by this for a while and its time it got lifted. Please, if you have five minutes, read through this.

Almost a month ago on March 8, I lost a friend. He wasn’t close to me, but I knew him. He had committed suicide. A couple of days later I missed his visitation. Not because I didn’t want to go or had other plans, but I was in the hospital. I was admitted to ______, a mental health hospital on March 10th for suicidal ideation and actions. I stayed for five days. During my time in the hospital and my stay outside of the hospital, there have been a lot of realizations that I have felt torn on. This post isn’t about me, I am not seeking any attention from this. I do not ask for sympathy or anything like that..but that also makes me wonder, why not?

The first thing I want to address is the social difference between actual illnesses and mental illness. I see a lot of jokes these days about people who can’t make up their mind being bipolar, or girls being crazy, people who are different being psycho. These words are thrown around as insults to make fun of people, whether or not it is meant to hurt someone or just be a joke. However, the second someone uses a word like retarded or disabled to pick fun on someone, everyone freaks out about how awful that is. Why? Why is it okay to call someone who is upset psycho, but it isn’t okay to call someone who isn’t fast disabled? Is mental health really that light of a subject that it can be thrown around as an insult?

Also, if it is a light subject, why can’t it be brought up in a serious context. Lets pretend for a second that I am a chain smoker. One day, I will inevitably get cancer. Probably one of the first things I would do is post it on facebook - everyone would want to know and everyone would want to pray for me. Even though it was my fault that I got cancer, everyone would still overflow their pity on me and their love. But now that I am talking about my mental health issues, all of the sudden I have to put a disclaimer on it - I AM NOT LOOKING FOR ATTENTION - and the like. Why is it so shameful for me to talk about my depression in public that I can’t even mention it without making it absolutely clear that I do am not an attention seeker.

Of course, people usually think, depression isnt that bad. Let me tell you just what my depression feels like. When it is at its best, I feel tired. I feel like I didn’t get a good nights sleep and my attention span is about 3 seconds. I find joy in things, and I think things are funny and I can be happy and laugh. However, it sometimes is really bad. And really bad isn’t crying and feelings sad - in fact I hardly ever cry or feel sad at all. Its feels like I have been paralyzed. I feel like it would be impossible to pick my arms up or hold sometimes. Everythings seems so empty, and I feel so empty. Even my glass of water feels like the heaviest thing in the world.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re so lazy you can’t even pick a glass of water up? Let me tell you, there is a big difference between lazy and depressed. Lazy people do nothing and love it. Depressed people can’t do anything and we hate it. I am so embarrassed when I am on a date with my boyfriend and my depression hits. I hate it more than anything and I wish that it would go away and I could do things without the fear of my depression hitting. Depression is awful and it feels awful and it takes lives, just like cancer. And no, exercise, showering, or just getting over it doesn’t work. Depression, and other mental illnesses, are chemical imbalances in the brain that cannot be controlled. No one does this on purpose, your “quick fix” won’t work. Patience and never giving up on someone works. I’ve seen too many people leave someone’s life because it was too much for them, and that has honestly almost driven me to give up a few times.

We all know what cancer is. Not everyone understands mental. Please try to understand, even if you can’t totally. I know I didn’t cover everything in this post, and everyone’s struggle is different, but I did the best I could. End the mental health stigma. Learn the warning signs of depression and suicide and other mental illnesses. And please, next time you’re about to criticize someone for a mental health issue, ask yourself if you would say the same to someone with cancer. If you wouldn’t say it to them, don’t say it to me.

If you would like to talk more about this or need to talk in general I’m always willing. Tell someone something encouraging today. Thank you for reading, it means a lot.'

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