Suicide Awareness

I know it’s towards the end of the month and all, but honestly I’d feel like a complete douche if I didn’t make an attempt at a post about Suicide Awareness Month.

I find it ironic; September is a pretty depressing month with school starting and summer being over. I guess if you work in a tourist town, the ending of summer signifies less stress on you, but in my opinion September just sucks. It sucks. That should be a name of a band: September Sucks.

If someone uses that, I get a portion of your earnings, remember that. I will hunt you down, don’t think I wont. I’m fucking crazy.

On a more serious note, we’ve lost many people to suicide and a lot of families will forever hurt because of it. The good news is, suicide is highly preventable, it just takes patience, understanding, and the ability to recognize possible signs. There are classic signs–someone giving away valuable belongings, talking often about wanting to die even in a joking manner and especially if they’ve got a history of depression/depressive symptoms, withdrawing into isolation, or talking about being trapped in a situation without any sign of hope for the future–and then there are not so obvious signs. Those aren’t easy to spot because, well, they aren’t in your face. You’d have to be a trained professional for about thirty years to recognize them and even then you might not.

I don’t know how many of you are into “Let’s Play’s” on YouTube or whatever, but I learned of them through my boyfriend when we first started dating. He, his brother, and his sister watch a guy called Markiplier. I didn’t really get it at first, I mean it’s some dude playing a video game and making comments while he’s doing it. Couldn’t I just play the game for myself? But he was funny some times. I mean, I guess I was aware of PewDiePie, I remember when he started his channel, but I’d never watched him as obsessively as they watched this guy. Eventually I subscribed just because he entertained me sometimes, especially when I wasn’t feeling my best. I also didn’t know my subscription helps pay his salary.

I think as a subscriber I should get a portion of that money. I mean, it’s a lot of work searching the name on YouTube and having to put my aching hand on the mouse and click the button and . . . ugh, it’s so much work that I’d like a little compensation for my labor.

Anyway, I was shocked and devastated to find out last week one of the members of the group Cyndago that worked closely with Markiplier committed suicide. Last night before class I got a text from my boyfriend saying his uncle was contemplating suicide. So it’s all around us, every day, every hour, across the globe, and it hurts to think we’re losing so many to an invisible fight. I don’t think anyone has captured the depth depression plagues people’s souls better than this man on Facebook:

Alex Sunny Hur On Daniel Kyre of Cyndago: I’ve experienced suicide in my life and battle with major clinical depression personally, and have helped with many support groups over the years. Your burning question is “Why”. Why, when everything seems so great or promising in the individual’s life? Why, when they were loved? Why didn’t they feel happy, glad or grateful? Listen. Depression does not mean feeling sad all the time. 90% of the time, they feel nothing at all, a blank void where other emotions should be. The remaining 10%, the rough parts healthy people would brush off as inconsequential, are devastating to someone with depression. They have no buffers, no barriers to protect their soul from the day-to-day ills of life. It’s as if they have no immune system, so a common cold can be deadly. That’s what depression really is.

I also have brain cancer. When I die, it will be from cardiovascular failure or pulmonary failure or shock, but when people talk about it they will say the truth: I died of cancer. This young man, Daniel, did not die of suicide. Suicide by definition blames the victim. He died of depression, and don’t you forget it. There is your “why”. There is no greater truth. He had a physical disease, and though he battled it no doubt for years, he eventually succumbed, just like many cancer victims. Those who succumb are not at fault and are not to blame. They are not weak. There was no lack of love. After all, they’ve been fighting an invisible war all while smiling for you, and wanting to see you smile.

My heart goes out to all affected, most especially his friends and family who loved him. May you find strength and peace to your souls, and comfort envelop you like a warm quilt on a cold day.

He died of depression, and don’t you forget it.

A man with a terminal illness he knows will kill him, confirms that yes, those of us suffering through/with our mentality day after day are fighting for our lives just the same as those with Cancer are fighting for theirs. We’re all fighting together, there’s no need to stigmatize either fight.

It seems unless something horrible has happened, we don’t address how dangerous depression is. No one talks about it, we just shove you some drugs and say yo, you got this. Telling someone “they got this” when they’re gripping on the edge of a hundred foot cliff with their finger tips is not exactly helpful.

I won’t even get into the discussion of how much harder it is for men in western society to express their feelings against our psychotic requirements of masculinity. All I’ll say is admitting you need help is not a weakness in the eyes of reality like it is in the eyes of society, it’s a survival tactic.

I’ve spent half of my life battling depression demons . I’ve talked myself out of suicide multiple times because no one else would, and my first thoughts always go towards my parents, my boyfriend, his siblings, and even the people in my classes I never speak to. It’s a traumatizing experience to know the person you sat next to everyday just blew their brains all over the wall. I couldn’t knowingly induce that sense of guilt on anyone. In reality, it’s an issue I can’t think of one reason not to kill myself besides everyone else, and I know I need to learn to care more for myself, but right now it’s the only way I can think of keeping myself in this world. Sometimes that’s just enough.

Sometimes it’s helpful to contact crisis intervention services. If you have severe depression, and other disorders that cause this kind of thinking, and you also have social anxiety, try the chat websites and texting websites, I’ve used them more than once. If you’re not in the U.S, I’m sure google will have similar things in your country.

Learn to recognize the signs and be someone’s reason to live. Be your own reason to live. Every moment of eye contact is a moment you’ve made an impact on someone’s life and they’ve made an impact on yours. Remember, we’re all fighting this war for this odd thing we call life and your existence on this planet thus far is worth just as much as the rest of us. Not only are you loved, but you’re needed and wanted. We can’t fight this war without you.

And to all those who have lost the fight, they were not weak, they may have been the strongest out of us all. I don’t hear about even a thousandth of the people who commit suicide and yet I feel connected to them. I know their pain and I know how much courage it must have taken to lose every ounce of hope. They are our bothers and sisters and they died in the name of depression, hopelessness, active psychosis, and agony. And they will never be forgotten.

Let’s Talk About The Underrated Population

If you don’t know already, I’m a science freak. I love Chemistry, despite past struggles in it, I love physics despite some horrible experiences in the classes I’ve taken, and I love Biology, particularly neuroscience and biochemistry. In fact, I have the opportunity to do a paid internship this summer ($3000 hell yeah) in a biochemistry lab assuming I can pass this Chem class this semester. So when I hear wonderful things about some major scientific discovery that seems promising, I get way more giddy than I’d like to admit.

Similarly, when I hear not so good things, I get un-giddy.

I’m a little behind on the times since they seemed to have been reported on the tenth of September, but a cancer research expert by the name of Patrick Pollard died after suffering cardiac arrest as a result of ingesting 30 Valium tablets, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol.

I’ve never heard of the guy, didn’t know anything about him finding a link between diabetes and cancer, and I still feel a sense of loss. These people are brilliant minds doing the type of research they do and it’s always a blow to the stomach when I hear we’ve lost one of them. It’s a harder blow to the stomach to hear doctors recount his struggles with anxiety, depression, alcoholism. It reminds me how versatile mental disorders can be and why our stigma attached to these disorders are so shattering. I doubt professionals of his stature are ever comfortable with admitting to struggling with their mental health. If it doesn’t have to do with pride or refusal to accept the fact, I’m sure it has a lot to do with stereotypes and the threat of having colleagues look at them differently.

It also brings us into the stigma of addiction. I think a lot of people generally separate addiction from mental disorders but the truth is addiction is often a symptom of a mental health issue, if not a cause of it. I hear people regard addicts as “stupid” just as often as I hear people called someone with depression “lazy”. We generally see them as people who can’t get their shit together because they’re just not trying hard enough or they just don’t care. Ask any seasoned addict and I’m sure they’ll tell you they hate what they do, i’m sure they’ll tell you they’ve tried for so long, that they know what they’re doing is wasting their life and that, most of all, they wish they wouldn’t do it. The majority of addicts can’t just tell themselves not to pick up a needle. There’s a true, physical dependency with addiction that isn’t present in mental disorders and it’s what most people overlook.

Every problem takes work. I don’t understand why that’s such a hard concept for people outside of the realm of mental illness and addiction to understand. Having to work at something doesn’t make anyone less of a person, in fact it makes them stronger than ever. It gives them tools and skills others would have never developed. It gives them insight into a world others have never seen. It gives them the chance to feel emotions others will never feel. And quite honestly, I’m thankful to be one of those people. My life is full of substance. If anything, we need to respect these people; they fight for every day of their life, they know what it means to be grateful for an “OK” day,just as someone battling Cancer knows what it means to be grateful for life itself, to not see today as a waste of space but as a gift. We’re all here in the same fight, some just have to fight harder than others and those are the people who should be appreciated and revered, not Kim Kardasian.

The same goes for those suffering an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder. I don’t speak often on these things because I have no experience with them, but they’re just as important as the rest of the major mental illnesses. Anorexia is the most lethal of all psychiatric disorders and yet we look at them as if they’re some freaks of nature. We’ve created most of the illness and yet we’re calling these people stupid! Of course there are elements of them feeling out of control and wanting to control some part of their life so they control their food intake (so family/environment/social life is a huge factor), but there’s also the influence of the media and their messages of beauty. One experiment used an isolated tribe as subjects, where thick and curvy was still beautiful and introduced them to western television. Cases of Anorexia and Bulimia where the words had never been uttered or even considered, skyrocketed. Adolescents start puking to control their weight. This was 1999. So my fury with this (besides the destruction of a culture) is why the hell do you reprimand people with these disorders for trying to make themselves be how you are telling them they should be? They too should be admired for waking up every day, fighting against their brain, fighting against stigma, fighting against society, and fighting for their life.

My advice to everyone who has struggled with any illness, physical or mental, is look at each day like a victory. Because you’re fighting from the moment you wake up to the moment you lay your head on that pillow. The fact that you make it to bed every night means you’ve succeeded another day. You’re worthy of that accomplishment.

And let us think positively of the ones who could no longer keep up the fight.