When Will Mental Health Be As Openly Discussed As Physical Health?

I have a stomach bug today. I have a fever, and chills; I have been in and out of the washroom today, alternating between vomiting and diarrhea. My head is pounding my body is aching, and I sort of feel like I want to die.

You read this and think, “ugh! I hope you feel better!”, while thinking to yourself that you will try not to stand too close to me for a few days.

I have depression and anxiety. I cannot get out of bed; everything hurts, my head is pounding and I cannot stop crying. The idea of putting on my makeup and going to work sounds like climbing Mount Everest. I sort of feel like I want to die.

You read this and think “ugh! There she goes again. She really needs to get her shit together and toughen up. We all have issues, I don’t see what is the big deal. I was up late last night, and don’t want to get up for work, either,” while thinking to yourself I am going to mute her texts for a few days.

In both of these true scenarios, I am ill. I am feeling so low and so miserable; yet in the first scenario, I am deserving of your sympathy. In the second scenario, I am a drain on your energy. In the first scenario, you are avoiding me to keep from getting yourself sick, but I will not get sicker, and will probably start feeling better in a day or two; in the second scenario, you are avoiding me to avoid the irritation of my “whining”, but I will continue to get sicker.

Depression lives in a vacuum. Isolation makes it worse, and loneliness and shame are it’s food. When we are shocked when someone we loved has died, we feel sad; when we are shocked that someone we love has died by suicide, we feel angry. We act like this is totally unexpected, and how could we have seen it coming??

Maybe you could have checked your text messages, and come by to see if I have enough tissue. Maybe you could have called to see if I needed ice cream. Maybe you could have just come and sat with me. But most of all, maybe you should have listened, and let me know that it was ok to open up. Maybe you should have tried to feel more comfortable with my anxiety than you are with my vomiting.

Please stop feeling surprised that suicide is a thing. Please stop talking about this and sharing the suicide hotline only when a celebrity that you liked dies. Please be open to the dark, even if it is hard. No one wants to kill themselves; no one wants to be depressed or anxious; and sometimes, when we think you are pushing too hard and we get upset, remember you are doing the right thing. We need you during the darkest bits, even if we don’t want to admit it.

If you feel suicidal or depressed, and do not feel like you can talk to anyone please, please, please reach out to your local suicide prevention organization. Suicide Prevention Canada

*thank you to my family and friends who dragged me out into the light when I just didn’t know how to get there myself. You saved me and I am eternally grateful.

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