Today is an important day; a day about awareness, truth, hope, and choice.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I’ve had this day marked on my calendar for over a month, ever since I got the first email TWLOHA sent out on August 12th. I marked it down that day, intending to start writing something early on and continuing to work on it and perfect it in the weeks leading up to September 10th.
But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I sat down several times – in front of the computer, on my phone, with pen and paper…but I couldn’t put even a single word down. Fear gripped me. Because there are parts of my struggle with depression that I have never shared, things that I may never be able to put into words. As I type this now, I see that blue “Publish” button looming in the bottom right corner of the page, and I’m not sure I can click it when I’m finished.
But today is a day to set aside fear.
There are still so many misconceptions about depression and mental illness in general, primarily that depression equates sadness. But that’s not really it, not in my experience. Hopelessness. That’s what depression boils down to for me. And hopelessness is far worse than sadness.
You know those inspirational quotes you see all the time, saying something along the lines of “you just have to choose to be happy?” It hate those, because it’s just not that simple for me. I can’t always choose to be happy or joyful or even content, but one thing I can choose is this: no matter how hopeless I may feel, I can choose to be here tomorrow.
One of my favorite people I’ve never met, Jenny Lawson a.k.a The Bloggess, says it best: depression lies. And that has become my mantra. I repeat it over and over to myself when I get lost in the throws of my depression. And when my thoughts begin to go to the worst possible places, those two words help lead me back to the things and the people that will bring me back to myself.
Depression and mental illness are real issues that millions of people live with every day. LIVE with. That’s the key.
So make your choice: choose the day-to-day struggle, and choose to be here tomorrow. Because you’re story isn’t finished yet.