I said it. The S word: suicide. The deadliest outcome of mental illness. The reality of many's shattered worlds. A concept some don't understand and others can't withstand.
800,000 people die by suicide every year. That's one person EVERY FORTY SECONDS.
Suicide doesn't discriminate.
There are countless myths and stigmas around suicide. Those stop here. The internet is full of bountiful sources of information regarding anything you're not understanding or need additional insight. Ignorance is not a choice.
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month?
As an Arab-American, I absolutely refuse to allow suicide to be a continued neglected topic. It hits too close to home and I'm always going to give my best efforts in being a friend to those battling with themselves. In addition to it being a forbidden, frowned-upon, shamed and wildly misunderstood subject within the Arab-American community - and numerous cultures - it's time to shine a light on those skeletons in the closet.
I'm here. I'm a voice that gets it. One day, i'll share my personal story with you because I've been high and I've been low - very, very low. I am not a licensed therapist but I absolutely believe in the power of one. I believe in the power of second chances. I believe in the power of your potential. I believe in you.
Do you know what else I believe in? Seeking the truth and speaking the truth.
Suicide isn't a shame. Disguising someone's death as a "peaceful and unexpected death" or "heart attack" when it wasn't is a lie to the world and obviously yourself.
Hear me out, I get that someone's cause of death isn't everybody's business. Nevertheless, if a drunk driver goes out for a wild ride and crashes head-on with an innocent family of four and they all die, its the world's right to know the cause. The drunk driver isn't entitled to that right of privacy nor is the innocent family's death a mere accident. It was not an accident. The drunk driver increased the likelihood of death by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and deliberately causing harm. Where there's a risk taken, there's a risk given. This is why thousands of foundations are advocating against drunk drivers and stricter laws. The action caused a reaction. Get it?
Back to suicide.
Dear prestigious parents, your perfect 15-year-old daughter didn't die of a heart attack in the parking lot of Walgreens.
She wasn't perfect. You know why? No one is. Our imperfections can make us perfect to you but that's out of love. But as for your daughter, sister, friend? She probably sought perfection too hard and went too far. Perhaps she found perfection in the form of drugs, or self-harm. I don't know. But 15-year-old seemingly healthy teenagers don't just die of heart attacks.
What I do know is that the truth lies within our actions and behaviors. Let's stop conforming ourselves and our children to standards they are not meant to be confined within. Stop thinking that by not having the talk with them means the subject is naturally understood or doesn't exist. Stop dismissing their feelings and behaviors as disrespect or stress or any other judgement that YOU choose to make upon them. This doesn't just apply to parents; it applies to anyone and everyone. You mustn't tell someone that they're too young or too blessed or too whatever to have dark thoughts. It's not and never is your place to judge the weight of someone else's burden.
Talking about suicide doesn't normalize it. That's a myth, too. What it does do is raise awareness.
AWARENESS of the importance of mental health. Awareness of being a support system to our loved ones. Awareness of suicide not being a solution - ever.
Be a parent.
Be a friend.
Be a teacher but be teachable, too.
If you can't be a resource, offer resources.
It's a battle that seems impossible. Let me tell you a secret.
Nothing is impossible. The word itself says "i'm possible." - Audrey Hepburn
There are countless things to be said about mental health. From tips, resources, signs and symptoms to treatments, I'll cover a vast array of subjects this month to raise awareness and be a resource for you and those in need (who may not even realize it yet.)
I read a quote once and it resonates with me daily. "Suicide doesn't end the pain, it just moves it to someone else."
Please know that you are not a burden. Your troubles will pass - someway, somehow. Please know that you are worthy. You are deserving of the happiness you keep searching for. Please know that you are loved. Please know that you are not alone. Please know it gets better. It gets better.
No words, blogs or positive Pinterest quotes can bring back a soul lost to suicide. It doesn't mend the hurt and it doesn't change the fact that someone's life was taken too soon. Let's be there for each other. Let's build bridges and connect to ourselves and one another. Let's stop the judgments and start easing the hardships.
Stay connected as I address several topics this month to raise awareness of mental health. I'm an advocate of mental health awareness because our thoughts are everything. Our power lies in our potential. Our potential lies in our power. Let's do more to become more.