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Yesterday I received an email from my mom: Wanted to let you know we’re having a birthday party for your youngest brother and Grandpa on Friday evening–JUST IN CASE, you want to change your plans, and come here on Friday, then run the 5K here with your brothers on Saturday.  But, I’m quite sure that’s not happening, so we are looking forward to seeing you later on Saturday!

I replied: I can’t. I committed to and paid for the other one. Is there a reason you have to do it on Friday and not Saturday?

Mom: Well, getting Easter dinner ready is going to be challenging enough as it is, with me singing in choir this year – I have to be at church at 8:30 Sunday morning.  Both your sister and I felt doing back-to-back birthday party, then Easter dinner, would be a bit too much.  Plus they will be coloring their Easter eggs on Saturday most likely.  And I believe your sister mentioned they were doing an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, too.

I then got upset and bitched to several people: My family is inconsiderate.  I’m going to their place on Saturday so naturally they’re having a birthday party for my brother on Friday.  I can’t go Friday.  That’s my family.  Saturday is inconvenient for my sister who sees the whole family all the time.  What the fuck ever.  Maybe I don’t want to drive the 4 hours to see them.  But I do it anyway because I sure as hell know they’re not going to come my way to see me.  I remember last year they drove past where I was living and didn’t even stop.  We could’ve done dinner or something.  They didn’t let me know that they had driven through until they were all the way home.  Who does that?  My family does.  No wonder I always feel like shit about myself where they’re concerned.

I got nice, reassuring replies from my friends… the conversation was best with Randy.  I had told him that I’m not feeling very well which is overdriving my emotions.  He said something about feeling defeated.  I asked him why.

Randy: I don’t know. Just down.  I go through this.  I am self-diagnosed manic depressive.  I love the highs of the manic days, but have the lows of the depressive ones.

Me: I can understand that.  I have my own battles with depression sometimes.  It never lasts more than a couple of days, but when it hits I’m a mess.  There have been two times in my life where I was really low and one was much worse than the other.  I’ve never noticed manic phases in myself.

He and I talked for a while about our respective depressions.  I delved into a time of my life that I’d never shared with anyone before.  At some point I had said that my experience with my worst depressive state is what made me interested in suicide prevention.  I never had a serious plan, but if it had lasted much longer I may have made a plan.  He said that he never made a serious attempt but if it had happened, he would’ve welcomed it.  I said looking back I’m glad I never did anything that rash.  And now I know the resources available to utilize should I get to that place again.  We talked about the role of faith in dark times, and in good times.  We talked about trust and sharing.  We talked about friendship.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or suicidal ideations, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Remember QPR:

  • Question: Question the person about suicide. Ask if they’ve had any thoughts about it, feelings, or even plans? Do not be afraid to ask!
  • Persuade: Persuade the person to get help. Remember to listen carefully and then say, “Let me help” or “Come with me to find help!”
  • Refer: Refer for help. If it is a child or adolescent, contact any adult, parents, minister, teacher, coach, or a counselor (1-800-866-HOPE)

In case you didn’t know, suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death in the United States.  THIRD!!  How is suicide such a huge cause of death and no one seems to know about it?  In my opinion: because people are too damn scared to talk about suicide.  We need to be brave.  We need to be compassionate.  We need to ask people how they are doing, and really listen to their answers.

Also, be nice to others around you.  You never know what kind of hell they may be going through even if they have a smile pasted to their face each and every day.