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Disclaimer: Anything I say (as well as anyone else on the internet) should never be taken in lieu of in offline evaluation, treatment and supervision of any medical or mental health issue or crisis. If you or anyone you love is in crisis, please call 911 or seek medical or mental health treatment immediately in acute care facility.
It’s been hard lately for me to watch or see the news. So much bad happens on a daily basis. While a lot of good happens and social media is an outlet for people to express themselves in triumphs and tragedies, it’s a very mixed blessing and also a curse. As everyone has an opinion and sometimes it does a lot of harm, the opinions that we all are able to so freely and easily express.
One of my primary goals as a medical and mental health activist and advocate is to dispel if not eradicate, stigma. While I’m not a clinically trained professional, being honest about what my mindset was when I tried to commit suicide over 5 1/2 years ago, has helped other people. Whether it’s people who’ve been suicidal themselves, parents and children who’ve lost their loved ones to mental health issues or have had their lives altered in a fundamental way by having someone they love with moderate to severe mental illness. Because my mental health issues effected negatively post suicide attempt, of how I was treated when in medical crisis has also helped others. But there is multiple reasons I’m an activist and advocate. This just goes into some of the reasons, why.
I’ve been nothing short of horrified, of how we as a society, both in social media and online as well as offline, is still stigmatized by mental health issues. Whether it’s suicide, chemical dependency, hoarding, eating disorders/body dysmorphia/weight and self acceptance issues, as well as many other things.
Sadly, it took the designer L’Wren Scott’s tragic death, yesterday and her boyfriend, Mick Jagger’s comments, today, to make sense of what my purpose is and a fundamental truth about ANY mental illness, addiction, or life circumstances that end in tragedy. Or that effects people’s medical and mental health well being in an adverse way if they still are alive. In a more of a concise fashion (which due to my cognitive disabilities, I Iack the ability to think and express myself in a logical sequence of order, concisely and I no longer can write intelligently, even though I’m capable of some intelligent thought) then I’m known for because of that.
Mick Jagger wrote a beautiful tribute to L’Wren on his Facebook page, today regarding his relationship with her and the woman she was and the legacy of who she was.
Sadly a song that the Rolling Stones recorded and that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote, before I was even born (I’m almost 44 1/2) you can find one of the fundamental truths in mental illness. Even if the song was not meant to be interpreted this way. If you believe the following….
” You can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, but if try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need”
The Rolling Stones 1968/69 ” You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
The factor here is barriers in people being able to rationally know what they want and what they need that won’t harm themselves or others and their barriers in any have any ability in the time of crisis to act in their best interest of themselves and/or others without horrific consequences on the ones they love the most. Sadly those of us who have this, we don’t love ourselves, we can’t see those who love us and sometimes we can’t see the help that is there, or sometimes there is no helping hand and people suffer and (sometimes) die (or believe) in horrifically painful solitude in horrible ways.
But we are human beings, it’s not as simple as I’ve stated above. It’s quite multi-faceted and complex. Mental Illness encompasses a lot of unhealthy behaviors, actions and has consequences to different degrees on every single one of us, to some degree. No one can say that they haven’t experienced to a degree some kind of mental health duress or affliction or have not been negatively affected by it. No matter what your color, race, gender, age, weight, religion, education and socio-economic level, unfortunately mental health issues, whether they are minor or huge in magnitude, effects, each and every one of us.
Why then is there still a stigma attached to it? Why isn’t there more resources for evaluation, treatment/supervision and other resources in place? How many more people have to die because of this? And why because of the internet and social media do we sensationalize people’s tragedies and then forget about them, so easily? People do not choose addiction and other forms of mental health issues that lead to tragedy or a barrier from being able to freely enjoy their lives.
While I do personally struggle with my own mis-actions as a result of my mental health issues that affected my loved ones, adversely when I tried to commit suicide, 5 1/2 years ago, at the time that was because of my barriers and my irrational thoughts and behaviors. I wouldn’t have chosen this for myself or my loved ones. At that time, I really believed that I was worthless, I was in so much physical and emotional pain and I was irrationally convinced that everyone I loved was better off without me. That was my irrational side talking. I know this now, sadly though I did NOT know this in Summer of 2008. I was not trying to be selfish or punish those I love the most. I can tell you this NOW. I could not tell you this, THEN. Or the 2 years prior to that with my children when I was in a disassociative state. While I can’t speak for everyone who’s tried to commit suicide, I think my reasons are more common for suicidality and have root in those who are fighting addiction issues and lose their battle. I can’t speak for those who commit homicide then suicide, because I luckily was able to understand how precious life was at least to those who I love and anyone else. I just couldn’t find the value of my own life.
Things are ONLY going to get worse, not better, until we can talk freely with the eradication of stigma and judgment about mental health issues and have the appropriate resources in place. And become a society that works harder to try to find empathy instead of judgment and hate.
For those of you who’ve lost loved ones and for those who lost their battle with mental health, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Especially L’Wren Scott and Mick Jagger where her death sadly, was a catalyst for this blog. While I’ve had unfortunately in their deaths been motivated as an activist, such as with life and death of Zach Sobiech, who inspired me and has made me a better activist in what I do best which is mental health. His battle with osteo-sarcoma as tragic that he lost his life to childhood cancer, please keep in mind, that mental health issues sometimes are, in my opinion, an “emotional cancer”. Not trying to offend those who lost loved ones due to diseases of strictly physiological origin, just trying to say that NO ONE really chooses to a die an untimely, medical and mentally devasting death. Whether it has psychiatric origins or NOT.
R.I.P L’Wren …..
Some resources regarding Suicide Prevention (and people in crisis or those who love them)