I know someone who committed suicide recently. He was someone I looked forward to seeing at my daily 12-step meetings, a familiar face in recovery. We didn’t speak much, but we didn’t have to. Being a part of a recovery community is like that; we understood each other without having to use words.
He posted a goodbye letter on Facebook for all of his people to see, creating a ripple effect of heartbreak. He said that "suicide is silent," but I beg to differ.
Suicide may feel “silent” to those who commit it, but it screams within the hearts of the ones left behind. Silence, I am learning, is the sound of leaving the tribe — it is the hush of isolation.
On his Facebook wall, many begged him not to do it. "It will pass," they wrote, words that we all have heard in painful times, and chose to hold on to like a tree during a Tsunami. It was too late. He was tired. He felt hopeless. And then, he was gone. He was gone along with the 42,773* other Americans who took their own lives this year.
And now I think, “What if…”
Then, I think, maybe those who are struggling would know that they are not alone, maybe they would know that there is hope, maybe we could reach them and answer their calls for help. And maybe we would not lose so many people each year.
Many of us who have had (or have) eating disorders also struggle with depression
. Sometimes, when we feel the darkness hanging over us, or the anxiety running like a motor from deep within, we may question whether the world would be a better place without us. There are too many obstacles; there is too much pain; I am a burden;
we may think in the darkest hours of our depression.
But those things just aren’t true — that is just the depression (or anxiety) speaking. I have learned now that I can separate myself from my illness (be it eating disorder, anxiety or depression
) and call someone when I need help. I used to wait months to ask for help. This only made things worse.
For years, I thought I had to do it on my own — that somehow doing it by myself made me stronger. But, keeping it all inside and suffering through it just made me suffer more. I have learned that I can hold on to other people’s hope until I can replenish my own.
And guess what, when hope returns, my life feels full once again.
And, if I get a bout of depression, I remind myself that I have indeed survived it before, and I surround myself with people that will remind me of this, too, if I forget. Asking for help is the bravest thing we can do. Ask for help and help will answer.
If someone you know is suffering, click here to find out how you can help
Much love ~ Robyn
If you are in need of assistance, please call a suicide hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK right now. If you are looking for eating disorder treatment, call Eating Recovery Center for support at (877) 825-8584.
Robyn Cruze, MA is National Recovery Advocate and the online community manager for Eating Recovery Center.
*Source: CDC: Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury