I posted about this on Instagram and Facebook, but I wanted to take the time to expand on it here as well. There’s a radio show that’s happening as I start writing this called “I’m Listening” that has really inspired me to speak out about mental health and my own experience, and the core idea is that we need to break the stigma of talking about depression, anxiety, and other mental illness and especially suicide and the risk of taking your own life.
I said on Instagram that you know someone who has considered ending their life, and I wasn’t just saying that because I figured most people knew me. Statistically speaking, every person in this world probably knows someone very well who has considered it. You might not realize it, you might never know who it is, but someone you know has considered it. You may have even saved their life.
I have struggled with depression for many years, but it became a huge problem in my life following my health issues hitting a peak a few years ago and becoming seemingly unbearable. I truly felt that I had nothing to continue living for, and ending my life would just be an improvement, but I wasn’t willing to tell anyone else that.
I’ll get into the details of that in another post, but for now, just know that the reason I’m still here is that someone (my wife) showed me that she was listening, and that she cared. Medications have helped, sure, and were probably instrumental in keeping me from continuing to return to that point so far, but what turned my life back around was her. Listening. Even when I wasn’t talking.
If you know anyone going through a rough time, or going through happy times, or just know anyone (and yes, that intentionally includes every possible demographic, because anyone in any life circumstance can be suicidal), let them know you’re willing to listen. That’s being a good friend even if there isn’t a mental health situation going on, but it’s a lifesaver if there is.
If you’re interested in the show I referenced or in knowing what you can do to help, check out imlistening.org