Today has been a good day – a tough day, but a good day. Since March 2016 there have been floods of bad days. More bad days than I would care to remember. Suicide stormed into our lives, made it personal and never left. It was oppressive, blinding and made me question whether or not I would be able to survive each day.
Today I am grateful to the bereavement and primary mental health professionals who have worked with my family to get us back on mostly solid ground. I understand that there will be flare ups and that we will never be “back to normal.” That’s ok. It’s understood and we are learning to live with it.
Today on World Mental Health Day it is important to me that I share that mental health issues have impacted my family in devastating ways. My wish is that we would have done things differently from the start. The challenge is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If we had known, we might have made some changes, but each and every one of us was out here living life to the best of our ability, including my nephew Coby and my aunt Elsie.
It’s important to me that I say their names and that I send them love because I miss them, every single day. There is no shame, stigma or stereotype so important that it takes priority over getting mental health support. The support is for you, not for the world and how they see you. In the big scheme of things, when your mental health is compromised, nothing else matters except your well being.
Today I wish that you feel comfortable with wherever you are in your process and that you are willing to reach out for help if you need it. My hope is that we get better at making mental health treatment available to those who need it and that we stop judging and punishing those people living with mental illnesses.
Today on World Mental Health Day, I am thankful for therapy, medication and all other forms of treatment that help human beings live productive lives and manage the stress and demons of their worlds.
Today I am sending love to those who struggle in public and even more to those who are struggling in private. You are not alone. Please come into the light.
If you are in need of help please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255