Get Rid of the Stigma

My world has recently been shaken by some upsetting news. Someone I know, or rather knew, killed himself. He had been struggling for years,  but thought that he didn’t need any help because he was a man. Being in the south means that there’s an expectation to live up to, being the man of the house, being the bread winner, be the stable rock for everyone else.

I can’t explain why he did what he did. I can’t explain his reasons because I don’t know. There was no note that we’re aware of yet. He didn’t get the help he needed because it’s so stigmatized and seen as such a negative thing, a man needing help emotionally. I still don’t know how to process it, but that’s what’s been happening.

About a year ago, the man who lived across the street sent his wife out to the grocery store so that when she was gone, he committed suicide. I can’t imagine it. Well, I can. I’ve been suicidal in the past. I’ve literally held a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. Because I knew how it would affect people I loved, I used the phone and reached out for help. There’s still a stigma, even with women, but I think it’s worse for a man.

If you’re reading this and you feel like ending your life is your only solution, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know what I went through and am still going through. I know that it’s hard and some days you don’t want to get out of bed or even open your eyes because that moment between dreaming and waking when the world is nothing but black is better than real life. I know what that’s like. You might think that no one cares about you or will miss you, but there is someone out there who does and who will. Even if that doesn’t convince you, reach out for help anyway because it can’t really get worse, can it?

Call the national suicide hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255

If you can’t actually talk about it, try texting CONNECT to 741741 to talk to someone for free.

Just try it. It won’t hurt. Before you do anything, talk to someone, anyone, because this world needs YOU. You just don’t know how yet. Seeking out help doesn’t make you less of a man, less of a woman, or less of a person. Seeking help is that first little brick of inner strength. We all have it if you dig down deep enough. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Talk to someone. You never know how it’ll help.

I can’t help but think that if there was less stigma around suicide and mental health, that the two people I mentioned (not including my own family members) would still be here today and would be able to reach out and help others by sharing their story. So share yours. Talk to someone.

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