Suicide vs suicidal; Thankful for friends who break the stigma of suicide and mental illness.

With the weather warming up and the sun shining, it feels like we have finally entered spring proper.

The weather in this area has been nasty over the past couple of weeks. Wind storms. Snow. Things have definitely been unsettled, but things seem to have turned a corner.

Nothing is permanent. Not the weather, not the moods. The weather will continue to get better through the summer, then continue to get nasty again as summer fades into fall. It’s a cyclical pattern that has existed for as long as time. Moods are the same way.

Things get better for awhile, and they get worse. No one can stay up forever, and as dark as things will seem, eventually the light will shine again and the moods will improve.

When someone is in the depths of darkness though, it makes it easy to feel that you will never see the light again. It’s easy to feel that suicide is the only way to end the pain. It’s in these moments of weakness that people struggling with mental health issues that need the compassion and support more than ever.

I recently saw a Facebook post comparing someone who completes a suicide vs someone suffering from suicidal ideation, and sadly there was more than a little bit of truth into people’s reactions.

The post said that someone who suicides is a tragedy, yet someone who is suicidal is seen as attention seeking. Th post also shared that people blame themselves for not seeing the signs when someone suicides, yet blame the suicidal person when they make an attempt. Based on personal experience, I can’t say I disagree with either of these statements.

At a time when people are struggling at their worst is not the time to pile on the guilt. It’s the time to light the path and guide them out of the darkness. The path is not easy. Having been on both sides of suicide, losing someone to suicide and attempting myself, multiple times, I get it. Dealing with a suicidal person can be scary.

I give my wife all the credit in the world for standing by me through my ups and downs. The path I’ve been on is not one I would have wished on anyone, let alone want to drag her along on, but she has stood strongly by my side and for that I am blessed. She has walked beside me in the darkness, holding the light.

When I look at the long view over the few years, I am better today than I have been in years, but that knowledge is tempered by the fact that I was in hospital barely a month ago. With my mental illness things can change, and change fast.

That being said, I’ve started making some changes. I’m getting up earlier, I’m reducing what I have on the go, and I am looking after myself. That includes spending time with Lynn, and saying ‘no,’ and not feeling guilty about it.

I was approached by a friend who I was delivering auction posters for, and I told him that it was a project I just couldn’t take on right now because I had to focus on my health. I felt a little bad about it, but he understood, and I feel confident in my decision. I’m definitely working on not over extending myself.

Thank you to Lynn and all of my friends who have supported me while I was in the darkness, a lit my path to the light. I can’t promise I will never find myself in the dark again, but I at least know I have the ability to find my way back out.

I wish more people had the strength and the compassion to be like my friends to help those in need. There would be a lot less stigma surrounding mental illness in the world if that were the case.

K

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