I am about to get real with you. Like with Mauro Ranello situation, I can relate even more to Chester Bennington’s death. I can’t speak for him but I can speak about the situation and want to kill some misconceptions about people who are close to suicide. Now this post will probably be career suicide but I am not going to hold back at all.
For the past 15 years, at least, every day of my life I have thought about committing suicide. I am 31 years old, that is half of my life and professionals think that I have had depression since before I entered Kindergarten.
Every day, even my best days. This is not an exaggeration. This is a fact of my life that I have learned to deal with. No matter what medications I am on, no matter who I talk to, no matter what I am doing in life, the feeling is always there to varying levels. I am not someone in love with death either, in fact death scares me. That is probably the reason why I am still here to type this.
I can’t blame it on drugs either. If I die tomorrow, you can’t blame it on drugs. This is a common misconception that I am hearing with people. He was fine yesterday, he must be on drugs since he died. Now with most of the celebrities, they probably were, but if you are battling suicide drugs are not always a reason. My guess is that in most of the cases, drugs were being used to mask the feeling of wanting to commit suicide. The person taking them, possibly abusing them, probably had these feelings anyway. I am not going to defend drugs and drug abusers but if you want to blame drugs that is like blaming the car when the driver was the one steering it. Sure the airbags and safety systems in the car could have helped save the person, but it was the person driving who needed to be stopped.
Speaking for myself, my best days bring the worst of this feeling in me. I am hanging out with my best friends, having a great time and then boom in the car ride I think that I don’t deserve this. I convince myself that I said a million irrational thoughts telling myself that I did something to push these people away during our interaction. Then a magical thing happens because they are my friends and normal people, these people come back or text me saying that we had a good time and we don’t hang out enough after the interaction. Even with that, it is still a struggle and fight with myself.
Saying that you are there for the person only does so much. I have gone through so many stages of this so I will cover them base by base.
– Some times I would take the person up on the advice and they would not be able to handle what I poured on them. I have lost numerous people in my life this way. These people probably meant well but they had their own problems and they couldn’t handle mine so they created a situation where I felt worse about myself when they reacted to me. In some cases, these people told everyone about my problems and reinforced the stigma that people with mental health issues face. In defense of some of these people, they genuinely don’t understand mental health issues, and react with brisk coldness. Mental health issues needs to be educated.
I will admit this. I have been on this side of the fence before. I have offered others help thinking that I could help them because I went through some similar things. Well mental health issues vary. When I encountered their issues, I found myself shunning them and using my situation as a comparable when it wasn’t. I would say to others “you think that I am crazy, what until you hear what ______________ said. I am normal right?”
Now there is a stage in between here that I have seen many do. They would know that others couldn’t handle their issues so they tell them everything in an effort to break the person and scare them away. It is almost a form of taking control of a situation that you know will be bad so you might as well control the crash.
– For a while, this caused me to resent anyone who everyone who offered help. I felt like “Ya, you don’t mean it. You are saying this so others can hear what you are saying but don’t mean it. Go fuck yourself.” I still feel this with some people but truthfully it is mainly in a work environment, where I don’t feel one should wear their heart on their sleeve. Now this is hard sometimes but if you lived with it long enough, you learn to manage.
Back to the people who offer help. To so many people suffering this feels like an empty gesture. It is good old American politeness at work. You mean well but do you mean what you said?
– Now I am at the stage where I leave bits and pieces to feel people out; if I feel them out at all. I am talking 95% don’t even make it to the feeling out stage on purpose. This is just maturity in the battle of someone battling mental health issues. Those that do, it is only because I will probably hang around with them more than once. Sometimes though, I just can’t hide it. I can’t pretend to carry myself like I am happy because I never am. It is a miracle that I can carry myself at all, even though I wish that I could happy all the time.
Some bits can be huge like this one; this is 1/4 of my story and way more than I share. In fact only a few people close to me know how often I think about suicide. I worry that I wouldn’t be able to do things that I love and do things that enable me to not think about what is going on in my head. You know things like coaching, working a full-time job, having a social life, being around people.
– Now I am at the point where I only talk about my issues with a select few. In my mind, it is a miracle that they have stayed around. These are the true friends though.
So you can post the suicide help line. You can say that you will be there for people suffering. That is a nice gesture but it is a selfish and usually meaningless gesture to someone suffering. What you probably should do is shake the person suffering and say let me hear you. Say “I know you want me to think that you are okay, but I know you are not. It is okay to talk to me.” Even then it might take a while for it to sink in with the person. I know thst I gsve a lot of what you shouldn’t dp but here is the best thing that you can do is be a good person. Say what you mean to the person suffering. The people suffering have been strong, and carry the weight of the world everyday. Don’t think any less of them when they break. That is the worst thing that you can do.