I’m very pleased to be joined by Katie O’Leary for this week’s mental health guest post.
Trigger warnings: suicide, stigma against mental illness
In recent weeks, we have seen a rise in the following statements:
“If you need to talk, reach out to someone. Speak up. Talk to someone. You are not alone. You are loved. Call [insert number].”
“Suicide reminds us all that we have so much to live for, we have so many people who love us, so many who need us. We just have things like depression and anxiety inside us, so hard to combat.”
“Depression and anxiety don’t know numbers – they don’t follow money. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, your mind will tell you that you don’t matter. You don’t belong. You should disappear.”
You know what is missing? Where is the post telling us all it is ok to talk openly about our problems? Where is the post saying, “You can post the horrible thing that happened to you and your friends will be there for you”? You can tell your sister the worst thing that has ever happened to you, a violation of the soul that rips your mind apart every night, and you wake up screaming into pillows wishing for death. Death from the pain in your heart and the physical pain in your body. You can call your friends and tell them the worst thing that happened to you and tell them, and they will listen because even though they might not know the perfect thing to say, they will IMMEDIATELY say they love you. They won’t hang up and or tell you they “don’t know what to say, but man that sucks. That sucks. That sucks.”
If the sum of our problems is equal to the ability of our human compatriots’ ability to solve them, we are failing at a massive rate.
We put these goals and moronic comments of “We’re here for you!” and then we link arms online and skip away, our backs turned as the sick and lonely watch and shout, “But we do need you, NOW, we have things we need to say, we have things we WANT TO SAY.” But by then we are gone. We posted our things, we said suicide and mental health awareness is important, we said we would be there, and now it’s time for Netflix and oh look! Puppy videos!
Love and understanding. We are supposed to learn that from family aren’t we? But so often, I am learning that lesson from other places. I don’t find it at home. I find it in the absence of love in the place I yearn to belong. The place that rejects me for questioning the toxicity of the Kool-Aid. I’m not perfect. They might be better off without me.
“But no! You are worth it! Don’t do it!” The mob cries.
I’m not doing anything. I’m angry as hell and I’m tired of being the Ed Exley of my family and having the Irish fool send his goons every time I go home (film, L.A. Confidential). I’m staying where I am, I’m breaking the cycle, and I’m embracing the people who answer the call. Who say, “Ride or die, scream or cry, I love you – you are not alone.”