Choosing Life

Let's discuss some of the serious issues that we tend to keep from one another. Those little secrets we hide that begins to eat away at us with word left unsaid. Yes, I am talking about the leading causes to the big S word (Suicide). In this month alone, we all read the news of two major celebrities who took their own lives (Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain). The world was in complete shock that these two celebrities would commit suicide. They apparently had it all. They were successful in their respective businesses, great family and friends, and well, the world loved them (respectively). It's almost as though_ we measure fame and fortune on a pedestal where mental health doesn't exist. Well, let me be the first to tell you mental illness affects everyone at least once in their lifetime. I for one am not afraid to admit that I suffered from postpartum after my second pregnancy. Inadequacy of being a mother, fear of going outside, extreme fatigue, and a huge lack of desire for doing simple things for yourself becomes an overwhelming chore (showering, eating, getting dressed, laughing, living e.g.).

As I browsed through my facebook for things to post, I happen to stumble across a video. It was a speech by Terry Crews for Safe Horizon, involving his childhood witnessing domestic violence (spoiler alert my next book will be speaking very profoundly on this topic). In his speech he said something along the lines of "Success is the warmest place to hide." This statement resonated with me on so many levels. All I could think was, he is so right. As we become successful in our crafts we forget to work on our most important masterpieces_ ourselves. We forget that money doesn't make the monsters go away. Money doesn't mute the silent screams that hide behind our ear drums. 

Fame and humor doesn't erase the sadness in our eyes. Fame sometimes can isolate you even more from the person you wish to become_ happy. Did we forget about Robin Williams? We need to get rid of the stigmas. We need to remove this thinking that people change as they become more successful. They may change their clothes, they may change their address, they may change who they trust, they may even change the size of their circle. However, I need you to understand, what causes these changes. These changes are put in place so they can protect themselves from the tics that want to suck them dry. It is their form of protection, it is not a personal dagger. During this protective tactic however, there are some bad habits that develop. They (we) forget they're still human. Which means they are perfectly imperfect.

Sometimes, people believe "status" means they cannot admit to being "broken" or "in need of help." So they keep these secrets, these whispers that hunt them. Until the whispers become so loud that it breaks the speakers of their heart beats. I'm not sure if you know or are familiar with any suicide facts, but according to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US of all ages. Below are a few more important points that stood out to me:

  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Please visit the site to read more about the staggering and mind blowing facts. I share this because I have been there. I have stooped this low and I know what hitting this rock bottom feels like. Obviously, I survived death (I will elaborate more in "The Rattlesnake In My Room" book) but only half the people live to tell their stories. I have a nephew who is autistic and I witness the amount of rejection and neglect he deals with constantly. These experiences often leads to depression. If we have a hard time coping and we are considered "normal" by loose definition, imagine someone who suffers from mental disabilities. 

Rejection is something that we serve to each other as an appetizer. We quickly reject each other before we compliment one another. This needs to change. We need each other more than ever. We need to learn from one another. We need to check on our neighbors, our family, our friends, on each other the old way. Go visit each other, pick up the phone and actually talk to each other. No not an instant message, a text, a facebook status update, or a tweet. I mean actually "HUG, TOUCH, LISTEN" to each other. Imagine if we just cared a little more about one another, maybe, just maybe, we could make the dark tremble, just a little. 

Tell me how you have changed someone's life. Tell me how something may have changed your life during some of your lowest points below in the comments.