On May 1, 2012, at approximately 10:30 am, this writer was ambushed with a demand for a divorce. Much of my identity was tied up in my role as a husband and father so this hit me extremely hard. For the rest of the day I was in a daze and about 8:00 pm I started having very, very dark thoughts. Fortunately a beautiful young Canadian National choose that time to ask me how my day was going. I’m sure she got much more of an answer than she bargained for but she suggested that we Skype. She refused to hang up until I assured her that I was okay, at 3:00 am my time and 6:00 am her time.
When I awoke later that morning, I heard reports on the radio that Hall of Fame Linebacker Junior Seau had taken his life that very night. As I was listening to the report I received an I love you text from my 13 year old daughter. That news report along with that text woke me up like that shot of adrenaline from that gigantic needle which John Travolta used on Uma Thurmond in Pulp Fiction. To this day I don’t know if I would have made it through the night without that Skype marathon but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.
A few days ago I was touched by the typed words of a beautiful, courageous, young mother named Leah Edison who form my observation, always seemed to have it all together. Leah Stated:
“If you have a bit of time to spare, there’s something that I’d like to share… Several months ago, I revealed that I suffer from Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). In addition to that, on June 9th, 2014, I was diagnosed with severe depression and OCD. On that day, I was suicidal…it wasn’t the first or second time in my life, but I can say with confidence that it was the last time. That day I decided that it was time to openly admit that I needed help. Still, until now, very few people knew what was going on. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that I am now taking medication for. I was hospitalized, inpatient for 5 days…partial inpatient for 4 weeks.
My psychiatrist told me the other day that I should brag to people about how I’m on mediation and how well it’s working, because it may help them to realize that they might need some help too. At first I was like “Say what!?” But then I realized, why not? Why not tell everyone that I was diagnosed with an illness, that could have been terminal, but I’m being treated for it and HEALING? Should I keep it a secret because it’s depression and not cancer? No. I will not remain silent. I admitted I had a problem and that I needed help. In my moment of utter despair, I looked into the mirror and asked Yahweh (because God is too general of a term) to save me. To heal me. To stop my suffering.
I reached out to family and friends, admitted I needed help and received the help I needed. Sooooo, not only am I here to brag that my medication is working, I’m also here to brag that My Creator, Yahweh, saved my life and is working with me and through me. This is my testimony and I am unashamed. People imply that we shouldn’t talk about mental illness. I say that we don’t talk about it enough. It’s ok. It’s not your fault, any more than getting cancer would be.
Talk about it. Get help. But above all, admit it and know that it’s not your fault (that’s worth repeating). There is treatment out there. You don’t have to suffer any more. During my time in the hospital, I learned so much about life, love, energy, compassion and what it really means to be human. Life class. I even told the boys that I was off of work because I had to go to class. It truly was a daily lesson in life. Not only was it therapeutic to spill my guts and life story to a group of strangers (who woulda ever thunk it?), having other people sharing their stories and me feeling compassion for them and them for me…restored my faith in humanity. It also has inspired me to return to school and get a degree in psychology so I can pursue social work and make a difference in people’s lives.
I pray that, in the meantime, me sharing my story with you has, at the very least, made you feel something positive. **Please note that my depression was very “masked.” If you think that you or someone you may know, may be suffering from depression, do some research. There are plenty of online resources detailing the different types of depression and their symptoms. And lastly, if you think or know that you suffer from depression, reach out… there are plenty of relatives, friends, doctors, and (only through the hands and grace of Yah) complete strangers who are ready to catch you and to help you on your road to recovery. ”
Reading these words from Leah made me realize that this issue needs a voice and so I contacted Ms Edison and got permission to publish her testimony. Our hope is that if it reaches even one of you who are struggling with thoughts of suicide that you seek help and realize that things can and will get better but you got to keep on living in order for that to happen. We are alive and for he who has life all things are possible and remember, suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it along to those you leave behind.
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