Since talking about my personal struggle with Depression in a blog post on the 6th of August 2016, a moment that SO many people talked about locally and thanked me for bring out in the open, and still do, there have been, going on the known average, 1395 more suicides in Australia.
1395 deaths in 4 months!!!!! WOW!!!!!
It’s a forgotten number. A dismissed total unless it hits you personally, and when it does it’s just a single number and it weighs you down more than any statistic could. It’s real. It’s not a number. It’s death and incomprehensible loss.
But the thing is, until or unless it happens to you, no one ever thinks it will.
1395 … and it will be 1403 this time tomorrow. Think about that for a while. And if you’re not reading this straight away, think about how many have died in the time since. On average … 8 people die from suicide every day in this country. It’s so scary … and it’s important. It’s SO important.
Life is a funny thing.
Time is devoured by our past at a more violent pace than any of us, or at least any of us over 40, like to admit.
We turn 18 and life is never-ending. We hit 25 and suddenly we feel like we’re old but have no idea that we’re still a child. 30 arrives and our friends and family jokingly tell us that life is over as we know it. Then, out of the ridiculousness of nowhere, 40 arrives. What the fuck? 40? How the hell did that happen! 40!!
Is such a crazy premise even possible in the reality of what we thought life was? The answer, unfortunately, or fortunately, for many, is yes. 40 arrives before we know it. At 43 myself, I haven’t made it far enough to know yet, but I’m sure that 50, 60 70, and hopefully years beyond that exist too.
I’m a very lucky person, in that both of my parents are in their 70s and are very healthy. I have many friends that aren’t as blessed as I, and I don’t take this luck, and it really is luck, lightly. I don’t see or talk to my parents as often as I should, and the same goes for talking to my two older sisters too, but I can tell you without a word of a lie that I have a better relationship with my family than most wish they could ever have. We all have so much fun in each others company. It’s so good that it almost feels like I’m going to wake up one morning and find that my family is all a dream. I’m an incredibly lucky son and brother. But … I’ve just never been one to need constant family contact, even though that has no bearing on my love for them.
Why I’m bringing all of this up is pretty simple. Topics like depression get mentioned, but are soon forgotten by most unless it’s kept in the public eye. This isn’t because people around us don’t care, most really do, it’s because there are so many life-changing issues to grab our attention from day to day. But we need to remember that life, a journey that slides by at a permanent, out of control rate, can seem fantastic, but it still gets the best of us down. It drags us into hell even when it seems like we have everything that we want. It’s a total bitch! From the outside, everyone else’s life looks easy, perfect, and even what you would wish for. In reality, there is always pain or struggle hidden beneath the surface that everyone else doesn’t see. The life you see as perfect, isnt. The people you want to be like are no better than you. But, your mind sees everything differently and wants this imaginary life that others live in. Our brains are ridiculously funny things and we shouldn’t be scared to tell them to fuck off.
In saying all this, I’m happier at the moment than I remember ever being in my life. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that fact that I survived, to this point, severe depression and am far more conscious of dealing with the triggers that set me off. That doesn’t mean that I don’t hate my life from time to time and don’t want to drag myself into a dark hole and hide away from everyone, it just means I’m surviving … so far.
Most know that I fully admit that I will suffer from depression for the entirety of my life. That’s a truth I don’t hide from, and shouldn’t have to.
There are many moments, mostly obvious but many unknown, that have allowed me to move forward in my life and still be here today to be able to type this, but the main reason is resilience. I’m not the toughest guy on the planet, but I don’t want to die yet. I want to know what else is possible and what else is in my future. It’s all so unknown and I don’t want to miss that, good or bad. I’m not saying I wont have dark moments in my future – I’m a realist – but I’m not planning on giving up on what could be.
So that’s me. What about you?
What about the people you know. If you’re not suffering from some form of depression yourself, people close to you are. That’s a fact. We’re good at hiding it because we still don’t feel like talking about it is accepted. It still makes us feel like we’re weak in your eyes. And because of that, we drink too much, we act like we hate you, we cut ourselves in places you can’t see, we keep ourselves away from others, we think about ways of ending our lives daily, our work suffers, our relationships splinter, our friendships crumble, and we want to run away from everything.
Unless you have suffered from depression, you just don’t get it. That’s not a bad thing, but you just can’t understand how it feels. I encourage everyone who cares about this subject to find out more information so you know how to deal with people around you who suffer from it. Just saying “Snap out if it” or “Just don’t let it worry you” doesn’t work. Depression isn’t a runny nose that you blow to fix, unfortunately.
I’m going to stop typing now because, odds are, you haven’t made it this far. But if you have, you care, so share this post on your Facebook page and help me keep this issue out in the open. Please. You might save a life. It might even be mine. I’m not scared to admit that. Every day is a different day.
If you need someone to talk to, or you know someone who may need help, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. They really can help xx Please don’t give up xx There’s so much love out there waiting for you xx