Tag Archives: speaking out

stigmatization through silence

you don’t have to spend a lot of time leafing through therese borchard’s beyond blue: surviving depression and anxiety and making the most of bad genes to find some mention of suicide. here, for example

i understand why people who haven’t experienced severe depression believe that a mother who commits suicide is extremely selfish and totally careless in leaving her children to deal with that ugly and permanent baggage. but the truth is that i envisioned my suicide as an act of love for them. i was sure that by removing myself from the picture, i was affording david and katherine a chance to lead a normal life, as they would be no longer victims to my moodiness and despair. the way i saw it, if eric remarried a nice woman, my kids would be far better off than if i stuck around. so i began to search for a suitable bride and mother. i felt pressured to execute the plan as soon as possible, before david and katherine formed memories, before my depression shattered their innocent lives.

i tear up whenever i write this, but it was BECAUSE of, not despite of, my ferocious love for my children that i wanted to disappear.

i think we need to read about things like this more often. have you read about the common suicide myths? two of them are

talking to someone who is suicidal about suicide just makes the urge even worse

and

suicidal thoughts need to be kept secret so as not to embarrass or upset anyone.

such myths contribute to people keeping mum about the topic. they help bolster the feeling of discomfort or panic that many people feel when the topic is raised. “do we really have to talk about this?” “this is not the right time to discuss this” or “now you’ve spoiled the mood!” are typical reactions, uttered aloud or under the breath, when the word “suicide” rears its supposedly ugly head.

i’m so tired of mental health being a non-issue, and of life-and-death matters like suicide being brushed under the carpet because they’re not pretty. that’s why i’m glad that people like therese borchard lay out her suicidal thoughts for all to see. because you know what? bringing them out in the open goes hand in hand with her talking about how she made it out alive, how her children can keep hanging out with one cool mama.

in recognition of the importance of opening our mouths about this, versus keeping nice and quiet, raul and i have decided, in our limitless hive-mind wisdom, to dedicate this year’s MentalHealthCamp  to “stigmatization through silence”. neat, huh? (only we’re looking for a catchier phrase. can you think of one?) oh, and the camp will take place on july 10.