Yesterday was my birthday. My 6th decade of life has been filled with awe, wonder, astonishment, extreme loss and unbelievable gratitude.
The tragic and unfathomable rise in suicides across the globe targets young, old, rich, poor, the disenfranchised, and the bullied with equal strokes of despair. Many of us were indoctrinated with the intrinsic belief that if we only had money, life would be perfect. With the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we know that assumption is false. We don’t know what demons drives someone to commit the unspeakable but what we do know is that their pain and angst are real. I’ve often believed that the drive to commit suicide is part and parcel the result of an unchecked chemical imbalance, much the same as someone afflicted with diabetes, Cushing’s Syndrome, or any other endocrine disorder. The difference is, most of us dismiss the pathos of someone experiencing symptoms of depression, yet no one would expect a diabetic to “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
Sufferers of mental illness walk a very frightening and lonely road. Imagine your own thoughts and feelings taunting you, betraying you, and encouraging you to behave in a manner that may be foreign to your very being. Afraid to admit that something is terribly wrong for fear of being judged, silence becomes your ally, your friend.
On my birthday, as I sat in my chair most of the day, fielding numerous calls from so many family and friends the sense of peace and contentment washed over me. For the past few years, I’ve become acutely aware of how blessed I am, yes, even with some of the many challenges and loss I’ve experienced. I’ve realized that whatever personal obstacles I’ve faced and will face, no one and I mean no one escapes trials, it’s all a matter of choice and how we choose to react to the situation.
If you’re feeling lonely, sad, angry, adrift, or any other uncomfortable emotion, please reach out to a friend, clergy, mental health professional, suicide hot line, hospital or anyone of your choosing but do reach out. Help is only a phone call away.
What seems darkest at night, will gain more clarity in the dawn of light. You matter!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.