People have a weird way of basing their degree of sympathy over how someone died. A baby is stillborn. Tragic. A woman dies while fighting cancer. Brave. A person gives in to their depression and commits suicide. Selfish. I am a firm believer that all life holds the same value. A lost life, no matter the cause is still painful. Even a drug dealer killed in a deal gone wrong was loved by someone. So what I don’t understand is how cause of death is really about how you feel.
I think this is a huge problem, especially when it comes to suicide. I think it time people stop focusing on “How?” and start asking, “Why?” Why did it come to this? Why did they feel like they couldn’t reach out for help? Why did they feel like this was the only solution? I think a huge part to why people don’t understand suicide is because they truly do not understand depression. And that is because depression is difficult to describe without using the word sad. I mean life sucking swirling rabbit hole of emotion is kind of a mouth full. It also sounds life the title to a bad Sci-Fi channel movie. But the word sad is the most relatable descriptor we have. I mean I even use it to try to explain depression to people. But sad it honestly too broad of a term. It can be applied to too many everyday situations that create sadness from a loved one dying to finding out your favorite show that was canceled.
This is why I think the public has such a hard time grasping the concept of depression. They are unable to distinguish the difference between the feelings of being stood up on Taco Tuesday from being unable to feel any joy at all. I often think that numb is a better way of describing depression. Maybe it is just how my depression is. When I am depressed, I can’t feel any emotion. For a lack of a better term, I am more like an emotional zombie. I go through my day-to-day without feeling a thing. It was why in my younger days, I turned to self-harm because I just wanted to feel something. I think if we stopped associating depression with sadness, we will stop thinking it is an easy fix.
I mean what do you do when you are sad? You find yourself a quick pick me up. You go buy yourself flowers. You buy a puppy. You watch your favorite movie. You do things that you know will bring you positive emotions. Yet depression don’t work that way. One can’t just snap out of it. Putting on your favorite dress isn’t going to suddenly make it all better.We are a society of quick fixes. Unfortunately, depression is not something that can be instantly fixed. Sure the “fake it until you make it” theory which has shown to be effective. However I feel like it is a double-edged sword. My problem is that sometimes instead of helping you out of depression, it becomes a mask to hide behind. I feel like the number one reason people keep their depression to themselves is because they don’t want to feel like a burden. This is why some of the happiest people you know may be battle depression right beneath your nose.
And when you feel like you are a burden all the time that is when thoughts of suicide start to creep in. So why did she kill herself? Because we have failed as a society. It is our fault. Suicide is a preventable death. It is an unnecessary death. You want to ask how? Ask, how can we stop this? How can we make a difference? Start by talking about it. Depression, mental illness, suicide, none of these show be taboo subjects. They should always be open to discussion. Many keep it to themselves because they don’t want to be judged as weak or needy. It is really a simple small step that can make a huge impact. Sometimes people need to know that they are in a safe space to voice what is going on inside of their head. They need to know that they are not alone in this and there is help. Secondly, we need to take the stigma out of treatment. No one should feel ashamed for getting the help they need. Support at home is seriously vital to a person’s treatment plan. Sometimes a person needs to hear that they are doing the right thing by getting help.
There is such power in awareness. People often feel like there is nothing they can do to make a difference. However, just by being someone who a person with a mental health problem can go to can huge. Every big change starts with one person. Be that one person. You never know, you could possible save a life.