About a couple of months ago, an acquaintance of mine killed herself. I didn’t know her well, but we often talked about our similar struggles. We would vent about how our life before kids was easier and how we thrived. We would share stories of battling depression and other forms of mental aggravations. We would share our stories of joy and how we conquer our demons.
But then her demons got her….
Because of social media, I have been seeing conversations with this woman pop up. We are chatty and silly and she seemed so far from darkness. I just don’t know how to handle the fact that a year later, she is gone. Every time I see this, I cry. Not just for her, but because I see myself in her. I’m relatively stable and have a huge support system, but these demons seem so apparent in my isolating life as a stay at home mom. Sitting. Waiting. They came for her and she couldn’t fight them off anymore. What happens when we can’t fight ours?
I used to think suicide was something that you did. We had a family friend that died many years ago from this affliction and I just thought it was selfish of him. “How could he do that to his family,” I would say, before I really knew better. You don’t DO anything. It comes for you, sneaky and slow, always around the corner.
I’m sure this is probably terrifying for my friends and family to read, but it NEEDS to be said. Living in a constant state of healing yourself means damage is always happening to you. I have been struggling with mental health disorders since my first child came into my life. I could have never seen this coming and might have even given my life circumstances a second thought. I wanted to be home with them for years and years, but I can’t survive that so they will have to share me with my own passions and career so that I can thrive again.
I’m choosing to see this darkness in me as an opportunity to be brave and speak up. I KNOW of many people who have fought these demons and survived, but kept quiet until long after they needed support. “Fake it till you make it” is not a thing. The reality is that you fake it until you have a mental breakdown or major health issue. It’s seen as weak to be in this state and that is so far from the truth. Its strength that faces the demons. It’s so, so hard and I cannot do it without the army of support around me, so they must know what they are battling with me. I’ve faced darkness before and prevailed. I do it now and I’m scared, but know deep in my heart that I, we, can prevail again. I’m not asking people to fix me or cushion my life. I think Glennon, from Momastory (a massive inspiration to me), says it perfectly: “I used to say: I’m broken. Fix me. Then I grew up a little and said : WAIT A MINUTE. I’M NOT BROKEN. And now I’m a real grown up so I say: Of course I’m broken. And I love, love, love myself that way. If you’re comfortable with that – come sit with me and we can laugh and cry and be broken and beautiful together. But don’t try to fix me- I didn’t ask for that. I just asked for some good company in which to be human.”
I just want to be human with everyone.
Hopefully this can be an inspiration and we encourage each other to speak up about our demons. They come in many forms from suicidal thoughts to addiction. We should be able to talk about this without feeling weak and unstable. Being in battle with ourselves is more common than we think. Admitting it makes us human. We HAVE to start talking to one another. Once a story comes out, more will follow and soon perhaps we won’t feel so alone in this epic battle of life.