Can I add one thing to the really good discussions happening around suicide and depression right now? I love that I’m seeing more acknowledgment of the fact that “please reach out and talk to someone” is well-meaning but not always helpful advice. (When it takes half an hour to convince yourself that you are in fact capable of putting on your pants without triggering a domino-effect catastrophic event and listening to a voicemail feels like the mental equivalent of climbing an active volcano, calling someone up like “Yo, kinda wanna die again, talk me out of it” is a bit of a stretch.)
I like the acknowledgment that depression can hit anyone (although it’s a bit amusing to hear the “It doesn’t matter how little you have and how rough things are right now, that’s not what joy is about/Wow, it’s crazy that people can be that depressed even with all that wealth and success!” juxtaposition.)
I like the acknowledgment that folks can seem super happy and chill and together right up until the last moments, and still succumb to suicidal depression.
That’s all super helpful, but please can we also acknowledge the validity of those darkest feelings? “You don’t have to feel that way; it will get better” is often only half true. Sometimes you DO have to feel that way, and having others try to talk you out of it can feel demeaning and overpowering.
There are times when folks get sick of keeping on the company smile, of letting down those they love by not keeping up the facade that’s so clearly expected every day. As someone who has lived there and frankly, still visits frequently, I’m asking you to please also acknowledge your friends’ reality in those darkest times. Sometimes the most helpful thing, the ONLY helpful thing, is to have someone say “This fucking sucks so hard, I hear you, hey scoot over and let me share the dark with you for a minute.”
*I wrote this on the fly, waiting for the oil to heat for the pancakes this morning, so it’s kinda incomplete… I want to add that it’s really really important to remember that sometimes that darkness is simply part of a person, as is the intense aversion to seeking connection for the sake of connection. So when people try to talk that darkness out of you or force you into conversations you don’t want to have, it can have the opposite of the intended effect. Rather than making us feel better, it reminds us of one more thing that we’re doing wrong. It confirms our idea that we don’t belong in this place. It’s not that we want to fit in where everyone else is, but that we want to feel like where we are is valid too.