Shame. It’s a hard emotion to overcome. Our egos are strong and it doesn’t like to feel vulnerable. We’ve all felt it at one point in our lives and all of our stories are so very different. That’s why it’s so important to talk about it, no matter what you may be going through. No matter how big, nor small.
There is so much to mental illness that we don’t even know about. It isn’t just depression, it isn’t just about suicide, it isn’t about schizophrenia or murder sprees though these are the extremes that have lead us to where we are today1. There are other things that we’ve been talking about for decades, like eating disorders and milder personality disorders2. Yet there is still a lot of stigma.
Stigma is the negative stereotype and discrimination is the behaviour that results from this negative stereotype.
— source: CMHA.
I normally disagree with the sharing of anything on social media when the motivation to do so is that some large-company-who-can-obviously-afford-to-spend-the-money will ‘donate a small amount per share’ BUT the fact is that what they’re trying to accomplish is bigger than all that.
I read something on a friend’s instagram this morning as I was browsing while still in bed and I thought it would be perfect to share. This happened yesterday in Colorado:
A 16-year old Standley Lake sophomore lit himself on fire in the school cafeteria Monday morning in what police call a suicide attempt. Nett tried to kill himself by dousing himself in oil and setting himself on fire just after 7:00 a.m.
He was taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. Nett did leave a suicide note on social media saying, “This is not someone’s fault. I had this planned for years. He went on to talk about his plans and how friends over the weekend tried to talk him out of it. He finishes the note saying, “If anyone says that they know why I did this…nobody knows and nobody will.”
— source: 9news.com
My friend went on to wonder “what has happened in our society that a 16-year-old feels compelled to take his life, in such a horrific way?” That someone could ever think that death would be better than life. The thing is that sometimes everything could be right in your life, and you would still want to kill yourself. I can only hope that he finds the help he needs; I hope that he comes out of this fighting harder than he ever thought he could.
I remember how I felt when I was 16, and younger. I used to be so full of rage; I had the worst temper and I felt like I had no one to talk to. Sure I had a lot of friends, but there was something missing. I didn’t ever think that they really understood me the way they understood each other. I never tried to kill myself, but I thought about dying a lot. I’ve gotten over it for the most part, but there are some days that I still feel pretty worthless. I eventually get over it by repeating whatever phrase will get me out of that frame of mind but that doesn’t mean it’s that easy for everyone.
I often wonder how I would have turned out if we hadn’t moved to Canada when I was 17. Something certainly switched when we moved here from Dubai. Hindsight tells me it has something to do with moving from a British Curriculum Catholic School in a Muslim Country to a Public School in one of the most open-minded countries in the world. Either way, whenever people ask me what it was like moving at that age – I should really tell them that I think it saved my life but they’d probably think I was just being dramatic.
Anyway, that’s enough about me. Mental health is important. People’s feelings are important. Yes, some people just need to suck it up but you don’t have to communicate that message with hatred. It is possible to be gentle while being firm3. You can give someone tough love without being a bully. Most importantly, remember that sometimes all someone ever needs is for someone else to listen.
Let’s talk, indeed.