Fighting Suicide

Two years ago, August 11, we lost our great friend, Robin Williams (may he rest in peace), by suicide.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.” A harrowing fact.

I hope we continue to educate ourselves on this important reality and know the signs of when to help those in need. Though we’ve seen some progress in mental health awareness, especially in social media, the stigma for mental illness remains an invisible plague itself, embedded in our societal norms and standards, as the world continues to cringe upon its mention. And the way to normalize the disorder in the brain is to educate and familiarize ourselves with it, and to not be afraid to share our stories. That fear and shaming is part of what causes the loss of life, which makes the stories of death by suicide even more devastating.

I won’t say too much more, as I believe that quote from AFSP says it all, but I sort of revealed the majority of how I feel regarding this topic in a facebook note I wrote last year, around this time, in honor of Williams, ‘coming out’ about my own struggles with anxiety and depression. It is not a strong piece of writing, and has not been editted since then, but I poured a lot of soul into it, if you didn’t catch it before, and like to read, it’s here:

I just want people to know that it is important to never stop fighting, even if more than 90% of the fight must be on your own…as there is always hope. If hope and perhaps the recognition for the potential of hope is what extends your life, so be it. My hope is that we always aim to live out our highest potential. And I believe it is that process, perhaps ironically in some cases, that may save us.

As a suicide survivor myself, though the battle continues, I am grateful to say that I have been “free,” for the longest interval of time now in the past 15 years, Praise be to God…I plan to ensure, with great conviction, that it will be a permanent freedom. Godwilling.

“The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
― Stephen Hawking

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