16 9 / 2014
Don’t ask yourself, “Is this normal?” Instead, ask yourself:
Is this healthy?
Is this good for me?
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15 9 / 2014
"Mental illness turns people inwards. That’s what I reckon. It keeps us forever trapped by the pain of our own minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist."
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08 9 / 2014
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07 9 / 2014
"One of the most dangerous myths surrounding eating disorders is that they are a life sentence."
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01 9 / 2014
"I have a friend who asked me to promise her that I would call her before I killed myself. I didn’t make the promise – she was sort of a new friend and I didn’t know her that well and it seemed like way more than I was able to commit to, but we’d had a frank conversation about depression and she knew I’m bi-polar. The last time I was seriously suicidal I remembered that she’d asked, and I did call her. It felt stupid when I did it – I wasn’t in a place where I thought talking would help at all – but she’d been so specific. None of that generic, “I’m always here for you” (which is never really true, “always” is impossible for anyone, people have lives of their own), just the absolutely specific “if you’re considering killing yourself, please call me first.” Anyway, I’m not sure I even told her more than that it was a dark day and I wasn’t in a good space, and she said, “okay, I’m coming to get you.” She drove forty-five minutes, picked me up at my house, took me back to her house, and we decorated Easter eggs with her kids. I spent the night sleeping in a kid’s bedroom and feeling safe and in the morning I went home. We barely talked about how I was feeling. She didn’t push for me to answer questions, she didn’t expect anything from me, she didn’t need me to be or to say or to do anything – she just took me literally out of my dark place and got me through the night. I don’t know if it would work for everyone. But I’ve made her that promise now."
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27 8 / 2014
"I want you to remember who you are, despite the bad things that are happening to you. Because those bad things aren’t you. They are just things that happen to you. You need to accept that who you are and the things that happen you, are not one and the same."
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21 8 / 2014
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17 8 / 2014
The problem with a history of depression and anxiety is that you can never know if you’re “just having one of those weeks” or if you’re sliding back down into those places you swore you’d never go again.
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16 8 / 2014
It has never been easy. When I was sixteen, I knew every potentially fatal thing in my house: Nail polish remover under the sink. Bottle of rubbing alcohol beside it. Hammer in the tool box. Forty foot bridge across the highway. Traffic outside my window.
I thought about slamming my own head against a counter until I lost feeling. I thought about punching myself in the face until I stopped breathing. I thought about running out into the street at two a.m. and waiting until a car came.
I never thought I’d make it to twenty-five. But I told myself to stay. Just for a little longer. Just to see.
So I did. I sat silent amongst my friends, searching for a way to speak. I stopped leaving my house. I swapped sleeping for staying up all night, staring at my bedroom walls. When someone came into my room to talk to me, I started crying. But I stayed. Because I thought, if I plan on dying in a few years anyway, what do I have to lose? And some days I didn’t feel like I was being swallowed whole. Some days I sat by my pool and sang until the sun set. Some days I kissed somebody on their parent’s couch and didn’t feel lonely when I got to my own bed. Some days I listened to a really great song and felt understood, if only for a second.
I stayed. And still I thought about bridges. And hammers to the head. And swallowing acetone to cleanse my insides. But slowly slowly slowly I began to understand that it was okay to cry, and shake, and feel anything but okay. I realized that there would still be days that my fist would rise to my cheek. And still, my face would sometimes resemble a bruised peach.
But now I tear up my lists of potentially ways to die before I complete them. I replace prescription: pills, rubbing alcohol, and razors with memories of the good days. Of holding your hand through the entire state of Oregon. Of running half-naked down a snowy street three New Year’s ago. Of riding go-carts in the Canadian wilderness. Of smoking cigarettes on the beach in San Francisco with someone I met six months ago. If I had left, we would not know each other.
If you feel the same way, stay. For the good days. And the sunsets. And the people out there who understand. Stay because being submerged in black water does not mean you have to drown. Stay. Just for a little longer. Just to see."
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15 8 / 2014
Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.
When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.
The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…
But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that."
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