Let Me Tell You When.

When I was a young teenager my best friend since childhood took his own life. There isn’t many life events that have affected me so deeply as that. I can remember the sights, the sounds, the smells so vividly even many years since. I’m not going to get into the details of that day as it isn’t what this post is about. What I will talk about is the questions that arose from that and how they are always the same questions we ask when someone ends their own life.

The big question is always “why”. We try to make sense of a senseless situation. The answer is never one we want to hear. We don’t want to hear that someone we love was suffering so deeply and we didn’t see it. We don’t want to know that someone in our circle would ever sink so low that they saw no other option. It’s a simple question that does not have a simple answer and really it could be the wrong question. We will be angry with them for it; we will call them selfish, we will scream out that we will never forgive them. When you analyze it we make it about us somehow. Maybe the question we should be asking is “how can we stop this from happening again?” This is the tough question and I think the answer begins with treating depression and other mental illnesses as what they are; an illness. We need to make those who suffer inside feel that they can talk about it, just like if they were talking about a cold or the flu. We need to make help easily and discreetly available. I know this will not end mental illness and I know that it won’t cure those who suffer; what I do know is that it will give people like us a fighting chance. We all need to look at what we believe about depression and suicide and mental health and we need to understand what it really is: a painful, frustrating, isolating illness that can leave us feeling hopeless and terrifyingly alone.

If you understand this feeling, get help. If you know someone who feels this way, help them get help. Everyday go out with the intent to understand those around you, you will be surprised who needs your helping hand.




3 thoughts on “Let Me Tell You When.

  1. WOW Ryan, this sums up many of our feelings very well. I too still remember that day (as well as the others that preceded it, but this one in particular) vividly and often wonder what we all missed. I agree that those who suffer from mental illness should be able to seek out help, just as some one with the flu or cold would without the stigmas that are often associated with mental illness.
    Every time your mom shares one of your blogs I read it and I have to say that you have opened my eyes to a completely different world that I will not even try to pretend that I understand. Thank you for this and please do not stop blogging. You are reaching more people than you would ever think possible.

  2. Ryan,
    Please keep writing. Mental health is such a part of our society and culture and the stigma around it is not necessary. There is no reason for anyone to feel shame. Those who have a physical disease (heart disease, diabetes, pick one) get treatment, talk about it, go to support groups, and it’s all part of life.

    I will continue to write mental health articles and post them on http://www.goodhealthgoodmind.com and welcome any suggestions for topics.

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