This is My Bag

Jennifer Butler Basile

This is the closest I’ve gotten to Kate Spade.

A purse that may or may not even be an original piece.

I don’t know her.

Yet, when my husband told me yesterday the breaking news about her death, my mood instantly plummeted. I stared at the black and white text and felt the sobs come.

Not because I know her. In a cliched way, I know her pain. In a frightened animalistic way, I see how quickly I could become her.

Facebook friends who know mental illness posted their sadness and support at the news. Some hinted at public posts with ugly comments and sage advice given too late. But I don’t read comments – of the general population anyway – for my own mental health.

And then one of those comments wormed its way into a personal post I saw.

It was easy for me to lament that stigma was still alive and well, that we’ve so much farther to go, and how sad it is that people still think that way – when I hadn’t read the comments. And then I saw how alive and well stigma is, how much farther we’ve to go, and how scary it is how some people think.

To think that suicide is a choice. To think that those who have reached the point of contemplating suicide are doing so as part of a rational decision-making process. That they eschew their many blessings in life purposefully.

Suicide isn’t supposed to make sense. That’s the fucking point. The mind, the psyche is not working properly. Depression is replacing the authentic voice of self with lies.

You would think the fact that it strikes down even people with blessing piled upon blessing would make people realize that there is something more to suicide than horrible circumstance and selfish choice.

May God save us all.

‘An Insidious Disease’

Source: providencejournal.com

I’ve had this article in my archives for a while now (click above for link).  Shanley offers a great primary source of living with depression.  Also, mental health’s place in greater society.

“Mental health has a bad PR firm.  It only seems to be on our radar when a well-known individual speaks to it, either in life or death, or when there is a mass killing.  Suicide is a word rarely spoken, and if so, only in whispers in back rooms.  Some of us know people who have stood on a bridge.  Some walked down.  Others did not.”

I Wept

For the pregnant woman
who loved her child enough to stop taking the psychopharmaceuticals she desperately needed
to guarantee its unencumbered growth –
and that of her paranoia and compulsion
until she threw herself and that unborn child off the top of her building

Because she loved her child so much and had run out of ways to keep her safe

For the grown man
acutely aware of his condition and how to manage it
with a cocktail of meds and careful counseling –
until one tile shifts out of place and sends the rest clattering to the floor in an instant

Because he thought he didn’t have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life

I wept for their stories, their lives, their pain
I wept for the syncronicity, the melancholy, myself

I wept
because there is never a safe enough distance from the places they – I’ve – been

 

 

As inspired by the June 6th edition of Fresh Air, “Pregnant Women With Depression Face Tough Choices, No Easy Answers” with author Andrew Solomon.  Click below to listen – well worth the time.

pregnant-depression

Unhushable

Suicide is often something spoken of in whispers.  The ‘unexpected death’ in an obituary.  The shadowy family secret.

Until something so very public happens, we cannot ignore the pain and problem for comfort’s sake.

suicide

Click image for news story of Placentia, CA teacher found in her classroom

As a devout Catholic, I grew up with a peripheral feeling of shame surrounding suicide.  Scorning God-given life was a sin.  Only He could determine the beginning and end of your time on earth.  But, then, individuals who consider suicide aren’t in their right minds, are they?  Only someone completely given over to despair and illness would consider such as an option.

I think we, as a society, forget that.  The public interpretation of my faith’s stance on suicide squeezed out that important part.  People of God and faith support fellow humans to become whole – not condemn them if they are not.

Excellent discussion of Catholicism’s stance on suicide.

Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t always feel that way.  Make the mistake of reading the commentary on articles about publicized suicides and ignorance shows its ugly face.  People lambasted this teacher for her selfishness; didn’t she think what finding her would do to her students?  Obviously not.  Couldn’t she have done it at home?

I agree that I would not want my children to discover their dead teacher in their classroom.  But to think that one place is better than another to hang oneself?  To think this teacher selfish for doing it?  Suicide is not an easy, thoughtless decision.  It is often a last resort after much anguished mental and emotional battle.

Honestly, I think this hatred and judgment comes from fear.  People don’t want to be pulled from their artificial bubble of safety.  If you have issues, fine, but keep them to yourself.  Keep your mess confined to your own home, world – don’t let it infect mine.

Suicide is not contagious.  Mental illness is not contagious.  Hate, fear-mongering, and ignorant attitudes are.

How many public hangings do we need to see before we as a society develop compassion and understanding?

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