Thursday, January 22, 2015

What if?

I made it.

4 years have now passed since the day I found my Daddy after he ended his life. I used to utterly dread the month on January, which happens to also be my birth month. As new years would creep up, I would slowly start to spiral into the depths of depression. The days would pass as I began to isolate myself, sobbing into my pillow hoping the agony would disappear. Like clockwork, the days and weeks prior to the anniversary filled my head up with intense grief. Too many horrific memories flooded my brain with poisonous thoughts. It sucks. It's overwhelming, and just plain exhausting. I wouldn't wish this feeling on my worst of enemies.

It was all so surreal. The gruesome reality of it all still seems like a brutal nightmare. 4 years later and I can recount the whole day in its entirety, down to the most appalling images. Even writing this, my hands quiver and my eyes begin to swell with emotion.

January 19th will forever be horrifically etched into my memory bank. The minuscule details that are still so prevalent and easy to access. "Do you need anything?" The last words I spoke to him. "Do NOT go outside!, call the police, I'm sorry" The last handwritten words he left me. The blue kiddie pool, where he laid lifeless. Falling to my knees as the paramedics rushed to the backyard. It just cannot be real. Sadly, it is.

I know now that these memories and the emotions that accompany them, will never go away. They are a part of me now. This can be a blessing or a curse though, and until recently, I only saw the negative affects. I only felt the grief. I only experienced the gut wrenching pain. While swept away in the negative whirlwind of emotions, I tried to push through the pain. Never allowing myself to really grieve. To really let the bad stuff to work its way to the surface. I began to become my own worst enemy. Setting unrealistic goals, trying to convince myself I was okay. Putting on a happy face when everything inside of me was dying. This is where I made my biggest mistake. Fearing what others would think if I really lived my truth.

It has been anything but easy. But I feel like I am finally getting back to the person I was prior to January 19, 2011. I owe so much of this to my recent hospitalization, and for that I am very grateful for being given a second chance. I can't believe how close I came to ending my own life. The stigma that surrounds suicide attempts is overwhelming. The shame and ignorance spread throughout the internet is astounding. I now truly understand how important mental health is. More than that, I understand how incredibly important it is to keep sharing my story. To never allowing the stigma to win. I will not stay quiet, and I will never give up.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that someone in the United States dies by suicide every 12.9 minutes. To put that into perspective, I have been writing this entry for over an hour. That means that while trying to spread my message, almost 5 people took their own lives. These terrifying statistics are rarely the topic of conversation. This is very disheartening considering nearly 90% of suicides involve a mental health illness that is un-diagnosed or not being properly treated. In 2012, the National Institute for Mental Health reported that 43.7 million adults suffered from some sort of mental illness. Each of whom who are at a greater risk of suicide. This also means that if you yourself don't or haven't encountered some sort of run in with a mental illness, that you either will or may know a loved one that will.

What if you could save just one of these lives? What if you could help bring mental health into the forefront of household discussions? What if???

I refuse to allow another second to pass without opening my heart and brain to those who are suffering. We need you! Each and everyone of you! To be our voice when we are too broken to speak up, to be an advocate for those too ill to fight, to be a shoulder for those who cannot stop crying. Help me let them know that they are not alone in this battle. That we as a nation care and want to better the lives of those who are trying so desperately to just get through each day. You might just be the reason someone holds on. You might just save a life!