Today I am mourning Anthony Bourdain. And Kate Spade. And Robin Williams. And everyone else, celebrity and non-celebrity, who has chosen to take their own life.
I mourn not because I knew them, but because I've been in that dark place that causes someone to choose death over life. I've been there and I know it. I know the feeling of life being so heavy that a forever nap seems reeeeeeally good. I know the feeling that motivates self-harm and the subsequent relief and guilt that comes from acting on it.
I also know that life has a lot of good in it.
Today is my birthday and I can't help but reflect on all the good that has happened to me, good I would have missed out on if I'd acted out of despair when things were as bad as they can be.
And I know that when you're in that dark place that shit doesn't matter AT ALL. You know others may be sad but the promise of relief is even more tempting. You justify that they'll move on, get over it. They'll be okay. And you will be able to rest at last.
Please. Let me tell you, as someone who still feels the tendrils of the dark place reach up to claim me from time to time, it's ok to be there. And it's ok to not be okay. My advice is to just get through the day. And then get through the next day. Let one person in. It will get better. You are more loved than you can even know. Take it one.day.at.a.time. The darkness can't swallow you entirely if you do that one thing. Just keep going.
I'm grateful to the friends who stayed up with me all night when I was falling apart during my absolute breakdown ten years ago. I'm grateful to my roommate who dealt patiently with my inability to adult and to my best friend and her boyfriend (now husband) for picking me up, taking me home, and then watching over me the night I fell apart the worst. I'm grateful for my parents who drove out to bring me home and take me to the hospital when I needed more help than they could give me. I'm grateful for the few people who didn't abandon me as friends when I was DEFINITELY super shitty to be around. I'm grateful to my sister who knows me without me having to say a thing and for my mom for always knowing the right things to say or do when I'm at my worst. I'm grateful for my friends who have also seen the dark place, too. I'm just grateful.
I post this today at the risk of sounding sappy. This is not poetic. This is real life. And real death. Reach out to others. Be kind. Be available. I am. I don't care how well we know each other, I will ALWAYS be present for you if you are suffering. Or call:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255