The holidays can be hard…hell, for some, every day feels hard.
We’ve recently been reminded of the silent struggles, their far too often occurrence and ultimate, permanent and devastating end by suicide. Struggles so many of us are facing – yes, the “strong” ones, the “happy” ones, the “funny” ones, the “successful” ones.
This season can dredge up forgotten feelings, persistent pessimism and calculated comparison. It can feel lonely, full of expectations, packed schedules and non-stop thoughts.
I know because this season has been hard for me too.
Many moments I have been near tears. Sometimes even desperate for relief.
I’ve tried all of my usual go-tos to get out of this funk, to get out of my head – exercise, sunshine, prayer, quality sleep and more.
The bottom line is this: No one knows what’s going on inside the mind and in between the ears of others. No one knows the suffering, the heartache, the desperation, the depression, the anxiety, the overwhelming weight and the mental and emotional pain and more that so many of us silently face every moment of every day.
Suicide is not just something that sometimes happens. It’s occurring far too often. Recent reports suggest that there is a death by suicide every eleven and a half minutes.
Suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate based on age, race, ethnic group or economic status. Suicidality can look different for different people — it might be obvious or completely unknown and unexpected because it’s hidden by a smiling facade; suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone.
But there is a huge difference between a desire to end the pain you are feeling and ending your life.
To those of you who are struggling: Take a deep breath. Put one foot in front of the other; take it one minute at a time, one second at a time if you have to. Stay. Hold on to your life; you are worth fighting for.
For us all: It will take each one of us to show others that their life is worthy. It will take everyone to show others that we want them to stay because the pain passes with the right intervention. I know that better days do come.
Silence isn’t working. Stigma is preventing those who need help from seeking care. Let’s not let the chatter online and on the airwaves about the importance of mental health stop.. Let’s keep the conversation at the forefront and be proactive in making mental health a priority, for ourselves and for one another.
Now is the time to start showing those you know and love YOU MATTER. It’s never too early or too often to share those words. I, for one, certainly know I don’t ever want it to be too late.
For confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, dial 9-8-8 and press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VETERANSCRISISLINE.NET/CHAT.