I am having one of the happiest times of my life. So much amazement, joy and so, so much boundless love. I like to talk about that and celebrate that as much as I can. But very sad and worrisome things are happening everyday too. I have already posted about Joe's best friend, Brian who is battling leukemia right now at John Hopkins. My best friend's aunt Ann, was in a horrific car accident and is currently on life support in Virginia. The other thing that happened when I was on maternity leave was that my niece, Jessica, lost a close friend to suicide. I was deeply saddened when I found this out. I have had too much experience with this issue. When I was in high school a good friend tried to take her life. Then the next year, my close friend attempted as well. My dad's little brother died by taking his own life. I have struggled with depression myself and it has been so crippling and painful that I have wanted to end my life before. It is a very dark place that I don't like to talk about, but we have to talk about it. People have to know that they are not alone when they are feeling like this. There is help out there and people need to know that they can be honest about how they are feeling and how much pain they are in. When my niece posted a picture of this beautiful girl and Pink's video "Perfect" all I could do is cry. My heart is breaking for her family and her friends.
I volunteered for a organization called the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program. I did the walk, I raised money and attended services. It was such a journey in healing but it was so sad and painful too to see these other families who have lost someone they loved so deeply to suicide. I love the site Post Secret because they post about suicide prevention and the hot line number so that people who are desperate or considering it can reach out and just talk to someone.
The ignorance and stigma attached to depression and anxiety and all mental illness is still very present. There has been a lot of progress about educating people about depression but people still don't respect it as a very powerful disease. If your liver or kidney were failing people wouldn't judge you and say well just stop your kidney or liver from failing you. Yet people still think people can "get over it" and "stop being sad". Then they wake up when someone takes their life. People shouldn't have to DIE before people wake up and realize that it is a real, debilitating disease that robs you of the ability to function, feel like yourself, feel joy the way you used to. There are many REAL physical symptoms of depression as well. Body aches, extreme fatigue, irritability, etc. So please educate yourself and have compassion for others. Too many people are crying out inside for help and some of them die before they are really heard or listened to or taken seriously. I will continue to stand as an advocate for all of those who suffer like I did and I will send a message of love and understanding to others to say I know it is hard, but if you can just hang on one more day and get help, there are wonderful, smart, loving people out there who want to help you and who will!! Here is a picture of my niece's friend, Tegan