This is the most personal post I’ve written. I am putting a trigger warning on this post, so please consider that before reading.*
I debated posting this. I always want to create a positive experience for my readers (whether that’s readers of the blog or my books), and this is a very heavy subject. But, more and more through my 100 Days series, I’ve decided that showing you some of my struggles doesn’t make me weak and hopefully won’t turn you away.
The suicide of Anthony Bourdain has really affected me. Any suicide or even death does, particularly for artists or professionals that have impacted my own life. Anthony Bourdain was no exception to that.
I was first introduced to him through No Reservations. He was brash, he cursed (you know how much I love cursing), and he visited places I often dreamt of going. More than that, when he visited those places, he never thought himself better than the food or the people there; he was always there to learn, always there to embrace local culture and food, and highlight what about that culture makes them great. Something we definitely needed, never moreso these days.
Depression is a difficult thing to talk about, no matter your culture or country. It’s rarely spoken of, though I’ve many people struggle with it, even in my own family. Even me.
High school – really all school – was awful. Though my skin tone means I can pass for an Italian or other European in a large city, growing up in the deep south was decidedly different. I loved school (and books, of course), but I felt removed from everyone else, so as a result, I was also terribly shy. I know people have had worse experiences than me, but I was depressed for most of my schooling. I was not just depressed, but severely depressed at times. I did (*deep breath*) think about walking over that metaphorical ledge, on more than one occasion. I never acted on it, never did anything but think about it, but in those moments I’d never felt more alone.
To reach a point where you think about taking it all, just for some relief from life, is a dark and terrible place. You are so completely in despair and just do not see any way out. You just feel pain and more pain all the time, and you just don’t know what to do; all you know is that you don’t want to feel pain anymore. You just want someone to reach out and comfort you, give you a hug, to acknowledge you and your pain. And, most of all, you just want someone to help you.
You just want help.
You just want help.
You just want help.
And you don’t think there’s anyone out there to help you.
But that is complete and total BULLSHIT.
There is ALWAYS a hand reaching out towards you. In the fog of depression, you may need to try a little harder to see it, but it’s there. Never doubt it. You may not find it in those who are supposed to be close to you, sometimes it’s the friend you rarely see that helps you through. I know better than anyone that not everyone around you has your best interests at heart, but instead only have their own interests as priorities. Learn to recognize who those people are, and distance yourself from their negative energies.
Depression is something, in my opinion, that you must live with every day. You have to learn to manage it, to control it, and know when to ask for help. I’ve called the 1-800 numbers, I’ve seen a psychologist, I’ve spoken to friends I trust…it takes time to learn how to manage it, but you can do it. I did.
And I’m so fucking glad I did.
I look at my life now and wonder at that extremely painful part of my past that helped define my future. I’m writing – me, writing! – and people like the books that I write. My dream job – writing full-time – isn’t quite close enough yet, but it’s getting closer. Fuck, yeah, it is.
To those of you struggling – things WILL get better. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or next week, but they will get better. YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS. And you will find it.
Remember, fog never lasts. It might reappear from time to time, it might make it harder to see the road, but the fog will lift again.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. For help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. To find a therapist, you can check your insurance company for approved therapists, this database on Psychology Today’s site, or Open Path Collective for affordable options.
And for everyone else – reach out into that fog towards someone who haven’t heard from in a while, or someone you heard from an hour ago, or a day ago, or a year ago. Don’t be afraid to reach out. The person who seems the strongest could be struggling the most.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT a psychologist or trained mental health professional. I am speaking about my own experiences only. Please see the resources above to speak to or connect with a trained professional.
This is Post 68 of 100 as part of the #100DaysofMKAuthorLife.