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


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.


  1. evan, you’re the second person who suggests the word “shunned”. i think that in this connection, that word is much better than stigmatization. it is the looking away, the exclusion, that we’re talking about here, not the branding that is meant my stigmatization.
    .-= isabella mori (@moritherapy)´s last blog ..stigmatization through silence =-.

  2. My son died by suicide. I can not begin to tell you the friends we have lost, the people who have turned away from us – all because we choose to be forthright and open about his suicide. The newspaper would not allow us to enter that his death was by suicide. They said it would make people copy what he did!!! We didn’t want to provide all the details of how, we wanted to provide the why…. No dice. My son died because he was afraid to say – I’m thinking about suicide. NO ONE should be afraid to talk or speak up about how they feel, what they think or suicide in general. We have definitely felt we have been “shunned”.

  3. @Isabella YAY you and @Raul for furthering discussion and awareness about mental illness via #mentalcamp. I’ll do what I can to promote it when the time is nearer.
    @Wendy all I can say is I’m so sorry that not only did you have the grief of your son’s suicide, you also have experienced being shunned. Thank you for leaving your comment on Isabella’s blog.
    .-= nancy (aka moneycoach)´s last blog ..Money coaching tip, Jan 29, 2010: Run, don’t walk, Run to open a … =-.

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