It's a topic that is becoming more and more prevelant and one that is hard to hear about.
Last month everywhere I turned I saw articles about '13 reasons why' on Netflix. Around the same time LD asked if she could watch it, and GG asked if she could just watch the last episode. Before giving the go ahead to either, I sat down and began a binge session of the show. I am glad I did.
First of all, while I understand (better than most) what trauma and such can do to a young woman, and while I understand that some people get one hit after another, and again while I understand that the help that is needed is not always readily available, I don't think anyone impressionable, suffering from depression or anxiety, or anyone who has ever expressed suicidal thoughts should watch this show.
The entire thing was a bit interesting I will say, but the picture that is painted of this girls world, and the lack of support in it bothers me....and not in the way I feel it should. It should bother me that the guidance cousellor at the school does not listen to her, but instead it bothers me that that this makes it appear as though guidance counsellors are overly concerned with protecting themselves. It should bother me that her parents didn't notice what was happening, but instead it bothers me that it makes it appear that any parents who are going through a hard time, will choose to ignore what is happening in front of them.
I can tell you that my experience with those who have attempted or commited suicide is not one where the people involved were unaware of the depression.
It is one where parents, teachers, husbands, wives, children, doctors etc have all tried so hard to get the help that this person needs. My experience with people who have attempted or committed suicide is one where they have been failed again and again by a healthcare system that is overworked, understaffed and putting band-aids on wounds that require stiches (metaphorically). My experience is one where people have either gone through a trauma so heartbreaking that they can no longer find the will to breathe, or they have suffered for years with a mental illness that is not easily treated, controlled or understood.
It is easy for people to say that a person who commits suicide took the easy way out. But is it easy? Really? To understand within your own conscious that you will cease to exist? I don't think that would be an easy decision to make at all. A selfish decision? yes..but an easy one, no.
Take Hailey Baker.
She begged for help. Begged to stay in the hospital. Told them she was afraid of herself and what she might do. They sent her home. She had tried to commit suicide 8 times in that year. They sent her home. She drove her car off of Signal Hill. They sent her home. She knew, spoke out, but she wasn't heard. I don't think any part of that was easy for Hailey.
In Nova Scotia.
Attempts are up by 74%, but the powers that be have advised that the number is inflated from what it was because of better record keeping. This power (moi) thinks the money would be better spent on hiring trained clinicians to deal with the epidemic of suicide rather than reinventing tracking systems.
A recent stat I read said that 90% of suicide attempts are related to mental illness. No Sh*t.
Another said that 70% of these are related to addiction. I repeat, No Shi*t.
So what can we do. As a whole? Not much excpet educate ourselves. We are powerless as a country to change the state of our medical system so that it is better prepared to service those among us with mental health issues. We lay naked and afraid at the hands of our governments who do not put the dollars where they are desperately needed. We are at the hands of big pharma who need to keep us just a little bit depressed at least to ensure sales of the latest and greatest meds.
But............................ BUT as individuals we are so very powerful.
we can talk to each other. we can check on people who have been sick. we can tell someone our own experience to share a burden of trauma or grief. we can invite a shut in out for a stroll. we can sit in our yard with a friend and breathe in salt air. we can send a letter to a relative. we can turn off our cell phones. we can touch base with kids who are away. we can spend 20 minutes outside every day chatting with our neighbours. we can ........do whatever we can.
We can reach out to someone that we think may be hurting. Take them to lunch. Take them an article from the paper. Bring them a coffee and just be there. But make no mistake...as individuals we have the power to make change. And mostly it is by educating ourselves, and being there. It won't always work, and it won't always fix things, but it may start a dialogue.
And if you are struggling.....tell someone. anyone. tell me.
please. call me. write me. text me. email me. I am not a professional. I am not a counsellor. What I am is here. And I am not always strong, and I fight my own demons, but I am here. I will listen. I have been at the brink, but took a step back, and I am here. Chances are I will make you laugh if just for a moment, and I will likely cry rivers with you...but I am here.