I’m honestly surprised we don’t discuss suicide and depression more often, if only because it touches us all. Since Robin Williams committed suicide a month ago, I’ve thought about it quite a lot. It has to be coincidental that many of his movies touch on suicide, but it’s hard to not to make connections to his own. Out of the last five books I’ve read, three have included suicides.
There are so many people in my life (surely, all of our lives?) who have been touched by depression, who struggle to escape from its grip. Thinking about writing this post, these are the people I thought of first:
–my dear friend who has been struggling with infertility for more than five years and struggles with depression because of it,
–my friend who didn’t return my calls or texts for over a year because she was so depressed,
–my grandmother, who has been depressed since my grandpa died six years ago (so depressed she can’t sleep, won’t do her physical therapy, and barely leaves the house some days),
–my mother, who suffered so much with postpartum depression that she checked herself into a Psych Ward, leaving my dad to take care of a baby on his own,
And of course, myself. After my daughter was born my thyroid was totally out of whack. I had doubted how powerful a hormonal or chemical imbalance could be–right up until I experienced it for myself. I was lethargic and totally depressed. I remember calling my parents and just sobbing.
I know that depression isn’t the same as suicide, but a quick Internet search reveals that depression does lead to suicide. Another friend of mine was so frustrated and depressed that eventually suicide started to seem like a viable, preferable, option. It’s not hard to imagine how one gets from Point A to Point B. I remember after one of my miscarriages, a friend stopped by to bring me some donuts. Not just any donuts, Gluten-Free-Costs-More-Than-They-Should Donuts.
When people are hurting and sad, it’s hard to know how to be there for them but it is sooooo nice to be cared for and remembered. So during National Suicide Prevention Week, remember to pay attention to those around you, even if it’s just to ask a friend if they’re okay.
Also, here’s a link to Warning Signs of Suicide from the American Association of Suicidology.