It is no fun to check celebrity news these days. Kate Spade was bad enough, but Anthony Bourdain kind of really shocked me. Never in a million years would I've thought that he was struggling from some kind of mental health issues.
Which proves, that mental illness is something you can hide pretty good. It is not about the looks, it is about the inner demons. And that makes it so hard to really grasp what depression, anxiety or PTSD is really about when you are not affected yourself. Mentally healthy people will never understand the agony we are/were going through. And that is a great thing, because I really do not want anybody to experiene what I did.
At the same time, it is what facilitates the stigma. I was lucky to suffer from a postpartum disorder, because it is not as stigmatized. Everybody heard of the baby blues, right. (Although I was dealing with something very different). It is the stigma, that makes people suffer in silence. It is the stigma, that makes sick people even more sick. Mental illness is bad enough, but suicide?? That's a taboo with limitless dimensions.
Suicide. There. I said it. It was something I thought about for 1,5 years. Every single day. On some days, it was all I thought about from dawn til dusk. My mental pain was so overwhelming, that it seemed the only way out. Did I think about my family? Hell, yes, I did. I was convinced they were better without me around. I was a burden. I couldn't lace my kid's shoes, so what was I worth? I wasn't able to take care of the simplest of things, like shopping for groceries, nappy changes or night time duty. I was hardly able to dress myself, so what kind of mother was I? A bad one. Worthless.
NO! I was a sick mother. That's about it. I was so, so sick that it affected my every fibre of being. At first, people were fine with it. Everybody thought that it will go away with a hospital stay. But after 1,5 years and endless hospital stays later, people lost patience. (So did I.) All I had to do was pull myself together (pissing my pants laughing here). Work more on getting healthy (Again, laughing uncontrollably). Be happy, because I had that cute baby (hahahahaha).
That's not how it works, folks. Mental healing takes time. Weeks, months, even years. Stop telling people to pull themselves together. Stop treating mentally ill like they are some kind of freaks. Stop telling them suicide is selfish, because it is far away from that.
Reach out to someone who is suffering. Listen. Again and again and again. Yes, even for years. Support them and help with everyday chores, insurance issues and keeping life organized. Don't push them to do things they are not comfortable with. Life will be fine again. It will. I promise.