Today I woke reading the sad news of another celebrity suicide. That is two in the last few days and my heart hurts thinking about it. I watch the news and see many people mourning the loss of these people. People are beginning to talk about suicide because of these deaths. But, why now? Why not before? Why not talk boldly about it BEFORE someone chooses to take their life? Why can’t we start the conversation before we glamorize the life of a person who decided that a conversation just wasn’t going to cut it? Why is suicide a stigma, so taboo that no one wants to touch it until it’s too late?

Seriously. There is NOT ENOUGH talk about suicide. Or depression. Or mental illness. There is not enough talk about anything that makes someone “broken.”

In 2016 suicide took 45,000 lives. Think about that. 45,000 lives. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. It is in front of causes like homicide and car accidents. Think about that stat. Homicides include the mass shootings that never seem to end. And yet, suicide sits above it where no one is talking about it.

It is well documented that Kate Spade suffered with depression. Anthony Bourdain showed his drinking problem on his show. Within days of each other they took their lives. Suddenly you have masses of people talking about suicide and how no one talks about it. Well, why the hell not?

Let me be the first to start the conversation.

As a teenager I was suicidal. I suffered from depression and post traumatic stress. I couldn’t cope well. I didn’t trust anyone to have the support system that I could have. So, instead I found ways to hurt myself. I once cut my wrist but didn’t go deep enough. It hurt like hell and the pain alone was enough to make me not try it again. So, instead, I self-mutilated myself. Over and over and over again. With knives, scissors, lighters. Anything that could hurt me I used. I needed help. But, I also hid it well. I hid the pain and the cuts well. I would only cut and burn places on my body that no one could see.

I never told anyone this, but I was once beaten so badly by someone where I spent a good part of two weeks in a jacket. When I would shower I picked at those bruises relishing the pain that it caused because it meant:

  1. I could centralize the pain somewhere other than my heart
  2. I was still alive
  3. The depression didn’t seem so bad when I had something to focus on
  4. I was still breathing
  5. I didn’t have to remember the pain of the sexual assaults because I had pain somewhere else
  6. I still had hope
  7. I knew someone detested me as much as I detested myself
  8. I was still alive
  9. I knew someone wanted to hurt me as much as I wanted to hurt myself
  10. I was still breathing

Yes, you read that list right. In the midst of my darkest days I still had hope that somehow I’d make it out of my darkness. I just needed someone to reach out their hand and say, “Hey, we’re going to walk through this together.” I needed someone to see that I was screaming for help. I was hurting, breaking, longing for help. I was alone and terrified but just needed one person to help anchor the stormy seas.

As much as I wanted to end my life I didn’t want to die. I only wanted to die because it would have allowed all of my loved ones to not have to worry about the messed up girl that I had become. It would have allowed people to move on and not look at me in pity as I dug myself deeper and deeper in the dark abyss. I didn’t want to die but I thought it would have been better for those who claimed loved me.

I should have died.

But, do you know why I didn’t? Because someone started the conversation with me. Someone reached out their hand and said they’d walk through it with me. Someone helped me anchor the stormy seas. I didn’t die because someone saw the non-verbal cries of help and wouldn’t let me go. What could we have done to save the life of Spade or Bourdain? We could have started the conversation. xoxo