This is what I saw when I opened my Kindle last summer to quickly check on an email I was expecting. You read that right, a YEAR ago!
You know what I am talking about…..those brief ads that Amazon forces upon you every time you open your Kindle unless you pay their yearly “ad-free” fee. These ads are normally no big deal, but I was thrown for a loop seeing this advertisement for the book “The One’s You Leave Behind” …..
……as K and I were preparing to leave for the visitation of his 16-year-old hockey teammate. A little over a year later, and I still think about that odd coincidence of an ad. Even odder that it only appeared once, making me think that it was a figment of my imagination!
That simple phrase has wrapped itself around my soul, and it just won’t let go ….. no matter how hard I try to forget!
It came back in force when one of K’s classmates took her life this past Spring, and again two days ago when I heard the news about the death of the beloved comedian and actor, Robin Williams.
K’s friend and classmate didn’t receive National attention, as most suicide deaths do not, but if any good can come from Robin Williams’ death, I pray that it will bring depression to the forefront of our medical needs.
Natural deaths are hard enough for most of us. It is gut wrenching to lose someone you love, no matter how it happens!
I personally think it is a little more tragic when that death is self-inflicted. The pain that was once suffered by one, is now on the shoulders of many. Not only do these survivors experience the normal stages of grief (shock, anger, denial, sadness), but they can also feel ashamed and be embarrassed, wondering if the stigma of suicide will attach itself to them. The one that I don’t think I could handle is the feeling that I could have done something to save my loved one. I didn’t love, or worse yet….. I wasn’t loved enough for them to want to stick around. How does anyone ever get over that?
When K’s classmate took her life this Spring, Hunter Hayes song ‘Invisible’ was released. Some of the chords really struck home:
“Hear me out, There’s so much more of this life than what you’re feeling now. And someday you’ll look back on all these days, and all this pain is gonna be invisible.”
How do we get people to understand this? How do we get people to ask for help? Depression is not as obvious as a person suffering from cancer and going through chemotherapy. That is as easy to spot as their bandana wrapped head, or if they are comfortable…their bald head. Depression can be so much harder to spot, as I believe it is primarily an inner struggle within oneself, and show a completely different side to the public.
I am not a doctor, nor am I a psychologist. I cannot tell you the rhyme or reason behind most depressive states. I do know that there are various forms of depression starting with the most severe psychotic depression, and trickling down to bipolar disorder —> Postpartum —> SAD and the less severe Dysthymia.
Depression affects more than 19 million Americans a year! That is a lot of suffering souls! I read that 50% of these people do not seek treatment, thinking they should just be able to snap out of it, that it is a personal weakness they do not want others’ to know about. Don’t you think that we need to stop seeing it as a personal weakness, and start getting the medical attention we need?
Bottom line, we all have felt depressed at some point in time of our lives, most of us just calling it a ‘funk’. Depression is not selective and does not discriminate. It can take a hold of the young and old, the poor and wealthy, and it certainly doesn’t care if you are successful or not.
Yesterday PT asked how my day was, and my quick response was “I am sad”…. tears trickling down my face. He looked a little shocked that I was taking Robin Williams death so hard. I had to tell him that yes, I was sad that another lost soul could not be saved, but my main empathy and concern was for the surviving victims. My heart was breaking for THEM, not Robin.
As I said, it is all about the one’s you leave behind………
I have had a few discussion’s with my teenage boys on suicide and the devastation it can leave in its wake. I tell them that no problem is too big to get past or to solve with our support. I pray that they listen to me!!!!!!
Someone once said that “Suicide is a permanent fix for a temporary problem”, and I remind them of this every time we hear the news of a teenage suicide.
I realize you all know how to google and get this information yourself, but I thought I would compile a few quick links if you are seeking information on depression, suicide…. or surviving a suicide:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone # is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)