“This pain is too much to handle.”
“This loneliness is deafening.”
“My worth is nonexistent.”
“They would all be better off without me.”
“I don’t deserve love, let alone life.”
“I want to die.“
These are not the senseless ramblings of an attention-seeking, mental case. These are the desperate cries of a hopeless friend, son, neighbor, brother, grandson, roommate, RA…
These are the thoughts that have burdened my mind for years.
Before you jump to any conclusions, or panic… I AM FINE!
I am not writing this to express a desire to end my life. I simply want to share a small bit of my story.
The truth is:
- I suffer from bouts of depression.
- I have entertained thoughts of suicide.
- I often feel irrationally lonely.
- I paint on a smile to prevent anyone from knowing.
For the longest time, I felt that sharing these dark spots in my life would be my undoing. Who would want to be around someone so crazy? Who would want to be lead by someone who can’t even lead themself? Sharing my struggle was never an option because I would lose all that I had.
Do you see the flaws in my thought process? No? Well here they are:
- Depression and suicide DO NOT equal craziness.
I am not crazy because I have felt hopeless. Neither are you. Feeling as if you cannot go on living is not a sign of insanity. It is a sign that you need support and someone to talk to. Had I accepted this fact, I would have sought help so much sooner. Find someone and talk.
- No one ever said leaders are immune to struggles, so why should I be the one exception?
Being an RA has caused me to act like I have my crap together. Well now you all know that I definitely do not. I have allowed myself to believe that because others look up to me, I can’t show weakness or reveal cracks in my armor. Well, reality check: my armor is pretty banged up. I may desire to be a fearless leader, but I can’t live in the lie to show my pain is weakness. I believe vulnerability is the root of leadership. Would you rather go to war for a General who has hid behind a mask, or one who has revealed himself for who he is?
- I have nothing to lose by sharing my pain, but everything to gain.
While there seems to be much risk in sharing pain such as depression and suicidal thoughts, isn’t there so much more to gain? What if by sharing my pain, some of it is alleviated. Or what if my struggles hit a chord in someone else’s heart? Why in the world should I keep this pain to myself when both myself and others could be changed for the better by sharing it?!
Normal people suffer from depression. Depression often comes with suicidal thought and ideations. Therefore, normal people experience suicidal thoughts and ideations.
Am I trying to normalize suicidal tendencies? No. These thoughts and behaviors are definitely cause for concern. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should talk to someone immediately.
Am I daring to say that we have a tendency to label people with suicidal thoughts as crazy? Yes. And until we develop an understanding that suicidal thoughts are not synonymous with craziness, who would want to share their struggle in this area?
My goal in sharing this struggle of my own is twofold:
- To be vulnerable and share a piece of my story that has burdened me for too long.
- To express to others who suffer with depression and/or suicidal thoughts who are too scared to reach out for help that YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.
My story has reached a chapter that exists without these thoughts of suicide. Through counseling, prayer, and a whole bunch of humility, I have begun to fight back against the lies I let myself believe.
My challenge to those of you struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts:
- Talk to someone TODAY!
- DO NOT SIT IN THOSE THOUGHTS!
- Engage your thoughts in a safe, healthy way.
September 6-12 is National Suicide Prevention Week.
Let’s not allow suicide to take any more lives simply because they were too scared of what people would think of them if they shared their struggles.