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Remember The Woman Who Killed Herself?

Yes, I know this title is like "Damn". I'm sorry. I needed you to feel my point even if you never stopped to read the whole post. But hear me out. Do you remember her? Are you wondering "which one?", or maybe thinking "I thought it was a man?". What were their names? How long ago was it? Mmm. Think about it.

Whenever someone famous commits suicide there's always a hand full of reoccurring questions and comments. Some people are upset that "It takes a famous person to kill themselves to make people start caring about suicide prevention and mental health." Some people question "how can someone with so much fortune take their life?" The news reporters will talk about all the reasons this could have happened and social media will blow up. Within a few weeks, we're on to the next hot topic and we will revisit the topic again once another public figure chooses to take their life once more. And the cycle continues.

This is one context where it is appropriate to say the following sentence: All Lives Matter. Don't let it take another public tragedy to make you wake up and recognize that the people around you are hurting. We need to become more proactive with this topic rather than reactive. According to the CDC, in 2016 (only 2 years ago) suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and 4th for ages 35-54. People are struggling and hurting and feel like they have no way out. I've had to go visit friends in psychiatric facilities so many times, and they all showed the signs of needing help beforehand. It's scary to think about those of us who don't even show the signs; I know because I am one of them.

Few people know that I've struggled with depression. It was something I started realizing within my teenage years. It was a very dark time but I was so good at pretending to be OK that I just suffered in silence. And because no body knew, nobody could help, and it made me feel like nobody cared, which just added on to the depression... and the cycle continued for YEARS. My neurologist asked me about it one time, and I answered honestly "Yes I have had thoughts of Suicide"and he snitched to my mom because I had refused to accept his depression medication. After that my brother reached out to one of his female friends, Judy, and she talked to me. Judy was there like a big sister, and she let me know that I could always talk to her. As I got older I started to learn to express when I needed help (I'm still working on that but I've gotten so much better). I had to put my pride aside and learn to say "I am not ok", "I need space", "I need words of affirmations right now", "Can I have a hug please", and whatever else I felt and needed. I learned to be honest. I learned that people do care and will be there for you, it's just that sometimes you need to let them know that you need it.

Anyways, I didn't want to make this post too long, because it's a difficult topic, but it has to be talked about. We cant keep waiting for the next public suicide to restart the conversation back from the beginning over and over again. What I really want to say is these few things:

- There are too many people suffering in silence in this world, and you will be surprised how much a little intentionality in reaching out can actually do for a person. Pick up the phone once in while and just say "Hey, I was thinking about you. How are you." Ask that coworker that nobody talks to to eat lunch with you on Wednesdays. Knock on your sisters door and ask her "how was school today". Ask your parent "How was work?" When you ask someone "how are you" and they say "I'm good" or "God is good so I can't complain", reply with "ok now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, how are you really doing?", and actually listen to them. Remember Proactive not Reactive.


- To my people struggling, listen to me, I FEEL YOU. I've been there time and time again. I beg you, Speak up. I challenge you to go to a friend and say "I need help." You don't have to bare your entire soul all at once, but baby steps. "I'm not ready to speak about everything just yet, but pray for me (if you're religious). Be there for me." It's so hard, I know I know, but it helps. Seek the help that you need. I don't know about you but like I said earlier, when I was/am depressed I thought nobody cared about me, and when I was ready to get out of depression, I used that to my advantage. My thought process was, if nobody cares about me, I have to. I have to care enough about myself to make it to my counseling appointment. I have to care enough about myself to speak up. I have to care enough about myself to be honest with myself and really figure out "what do I need/who do I need?" And you will be surprised how many people actually care and actually respond to your SOS. Also, learn yourself, your triggers, and your signs, so that you can combat relapses head on. And if you need me, shoot me a message. I got you. Remember Proactive not Reactive.

- Black people, Caribbeans, Hispanics.. ect ... MENTAL DISORDERS AND DEPRESSION ARE REAL.

Just to clarify, Kate Spades is the women I was referring to. She was the latest public suicide. May she rest in peace. And may she be one of the lasts. I know one blog post is not going to change the world. But will you allow it to change yours? Your way of interacting with people? Your way of taking care of yourself? Your way of taking care of the people around you?

In the words of my good friend Joel: " Spread Love." Be Love. Be Loved.

Remember Proactive not Reactive.

(This post s to be continued. I invite you to share your comments)

- Woods

Lighting up the woods, one Syllable at a time

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