I apologize for the timing of this post, being so close to Christmas and all, but mental illness and tragedy don't seem to take time off for the holidays so neither should we when it comes to our family, friends, pets and any other loved ones we have. In fact, it's a great time to appreciate this said group of people, kiss and hug them, tell them you love them and find out how they're doing. Lord knows we don't need the holidays for this but take advantage of the timing when you get to see so many in such a lump sum.
I have the giant burden of filling an entire hand with the people I know who have loss their lives to suicide. It's hit home enough for me to draw the line and make it a personal cause of mine to educate anyone and everyone who is willing to learn about mental illness and it's correlation to suicide. Mental illness is a disease, often undiagnosed or untreated. It's this disease that is often times linked with suicide. It's this disease, which comes in many forms, that needs to be talked about. The stigma needs to be dropped. Period. Just like any other disease, those affected by mental illness do not chose to be so. It's beyond their control and the last thing they need is to be judged for it. They need to know they're not alone, frankly, it's not uncommon, there is help and countless people really, really care.
I am not an expert, a scientist or doctor. I by no means claim to know anything about what anyone is going through or the problems they face or the obstacles they're up against. I'm looking to merely be a messenger of greater resources so that a conversation can be had. One of the greatest resources I've found is the organization SAVE. There are many more such as National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Let these be educational resources as well as sounding boards for any concerns or questions. They're also great tools to find local fundraisers and benefits happening in the name of suicide prevention. You can help raise funds, honor a loved one or learn more about these organizations through these events. Nothing seems better to help a person know they're not alone then when a mass of people can get together and say so.
Personally, I deal with anxiety and OCD, literally. Over the past year I've seen a counselor, started taking Celexa (anti-anxiety medication) and started running and doing yoga. I'm hitting my issues hard with a three-headed monster because I no longer fear it and know there are steps I can take to help myself. I'm sure I make some people uncomfortable by being so blunt and candid but I'm not trying to brag, toot my own horn or receive attention. I'm just saying it's okay to have these issues (many people do or have worse), to talk about them and to find resolve. I also know I will not need medication forever, but for however long I do need it, it's okay. I had to deal with some personal stigma at the onset of my journey but I've learned so much since then it's made an astronomical difference in how I feel about it or deal with it. I also know though, I'm one tiny, small, minuscule example in a world of examples which brings me back to my point. So many people are affected it's about time we start learning and more importantly, talking (or blogging).
Disclosure: Please know that I am not an expert on the subject, nor do I claim to be and anything in this post should not be read as factual. I am not a doctor, scientist, therapist or the like. I'm just a person affected by suicide looking to help educate others. Many are just the opinions of this mere person as determined by information I have read, learned or witnessed. Please seek expert help if needed or consult any of the sites listed for more information.