Just a few weeks before my Junior Prom, 17 years ago, one of my little brother’s closest friends took his own life. This was a boy who had spent countless nights at our house, staying up late, and playing video games with my brother. He lived just down the street from us. We grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone, and his family was no exception to this rule.
We all knew he had been having a hard time. His parents were divorcing and he’d recently been put on anti-depressants, but no one imagined just how bad things were for him, and if they did, no one took him seriously.
I remember feeling terrified after I heard the news. I was so worried about how my brother would handle such devastating news. He was such a sweet boy, so sensitive, and I was always more of a Momma hen to him than a big sister. What if he couldn’t handle it, what if he spiraled down the same dark hole and did the same thing? He was my main concern, making sure he was ok.
At the time it didn’t even occur to me that a Mother had just lost her baby. I was only 16 and as I said, I was so worried about my brother that I didn’t even think about how others would react. Only now, as a Mother myself, can I fully comprehend the agony and despair she must have felt, and likely still feels to this day.
I’m incredibly lucky that during my PPD I never struggled with suicidal thoughts. Sometimes I would wish for endless sleep, but never a sleep that I wouldn’t eventually wake up from. Not all Moms battling PPD are as lucky, not everyone will have a second chance at happiness.
I found it so difficult to admit to myself that I had a problem, and when I finally did it was even harder to admit it to my husband, my family, my friends. I can’t even imagine the shame and embarrassment I would have felt having to tell them I was suicidal as well. Not that one should feel these emotions, but with the negative stigmas attached to mental illness today, I can only imagine that is how I would have felt.
There are far too many people shamed into silence. They are slipping under the radar, hurting silently and alone.
If you need help, or know someone who does, you are not alone. You are not broken and you are not worthless. You are loved and your life is worth living. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.