This post may be troubling to my group of friends who lost an amazing person recently. It discusses the circumstances of her death in relation to how society reacts to such events. And, there’s a lot of anger and hurt for our loss in it as well. As such, I let you choose whether to read the rest of it or not by clicking below for the rest of the entry.
But I want this part to be public.
No matter who you are, if you are in my life, you are very important to me. Even if I don’t know you and you stumble on this blog, I still am asking you this. I am going to ask each and every one of you for something big. If it’s the only favor you ever do for me, I will be forever grateful.
If you ever, EVER, feel like the pain in your life is unbearable and you cannot go on, please PLEASE PLEASE make one phone call. (One phone call where you actually talk to someone. If you have to dial several people, DO IT.)
If you have my number (I have a google number on my Facebook, or email me and I’ll send you my number), call me. OK, I am horrible at answering unknown numbers. Leave a message saying who you are and why you are calling (mention this promise if you want) and I promise to immediately respond! Any hour, any day, any time.
If you don’t have it, or don’t want to call me, call your closest friend or relative. If you can’t or won’t, then call 1-800-Suicide (1-800-784-2433).
That is all I ask. Thanks. (Click “more” below if you wish to read further.)
A community of online and offline friendships suffered a great loss last week. A beautiful girl who appropriately went by Bella committed suicide. I have been angry and hurt and sad, and I know my pain is a fraction of the pain of those who were very close to her.
We all are asking why. Why did this happen, to someone who always had lighthearted and kind words, who was optimistic, adventurous, humorous, and supportive to everyone else. It’s shocking to know that behind the public face, for at least a brief moment, she felt so alone and afraid to continue on.
But it only took that moment and there was no turning back.
Yes, I’m feeling the various emotions associated with loss, and one of them is anger. But what I’m angry about right now, I feel pretty passionate about it and I don’t believe it’s misdirected.
In all of the discussions and notices about the loss of our friend, on Facebook, on our private online board, in the obituaries… There’s a word that is not mentioned, only in private communications and whispered like old ladies who gossip and whisper “unmentionable” words.
Yes, she killed herself. Yes, we want to remember her as the bright, positive, shining soul that we all knew and loved.
But I feel from the depths of my heart that we do a GREAT disservice to every single person in this world when we try to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist, it didn’t happen.
I’ve struggled with mild depression and unlike some who think they don’t understand how she could do it, I can. I have never come close to wanting to end it, but I have wished for an accident to end my life. And I see how close that edge is to wanting to do it yourself, and like I said, it only takes a moment. And I’ve had some dark moments, so I get it.
Depression is still not perceived as an illness but as a mental or personality defect by too many people. And when you are going through it, you feel that you are the only one in the world who feels this way, no one could ever understand and you are utterly, completely, alone.
If we continue to suppress any discussion of suicide when it does happen, we are supporting the belief that it’s something to be ashamed of, that people would not understand. And if someone is depressed enough to consider ending their life, then we need to do exactly the opposite to show them how much they are loved and supported.
I don’t consider losing someone to suicide any worse or better than losing someone to an accident or sudden illness. Why is it treated as a black mark on their life that must be hidden?? I do not look worse on Bella’s life for the circumstances that surrounded her death – in fact, I realize how easy it is for us to only see what someone chooses to present, a happy facade, when they are feeling the opposite inside. And it’s making me realize that I shouldn’t wait to hear of people going through difficulties or admitting depression before offering help and love to them. This is the lesson we should all take away, and hiding the terminology around her death does not help anyone – in fact I argue that it continues to cause harm.
What we don’t understand or what we are afraid of, we hide in the dark. It’s only when we bring these things out into the light that they lose their power over us, and we are able to conquer them.
No idea what to do from here, but my anger at the silence of how she died is on behalf of her, and all of those in the future who consider, attempt, or succeed at ending their life. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. All it takes is a moment.
I feel pretty helpless right now, but like I said at the top, I want anyone who finds themselves in that moment to try to remember my plea, and call and talk to just one person. Please. For Bella. For me. For yourself and those who love you – I promise you someone does even when you don’t feel it.
And tell people that you love them. Often.