In My Own Words

October 27th, 2015

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen several people post this status update on Facebook:

Many people think that a suicide attempt is a selfish move because the person just does not care about the people left behind. I can tell you that when a person gets to that point, they truly believe that their loved ones will be much better off with them gone.This is mental illness not selfishness. TRUTH: Depression is a terrible disease and seems relentless. A lot of us have been close to that edge, or dealt with family members in a crisis, and some have lost friends and loved ones. Let’s look out for each other and stop sweeping mental illness under the rug. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my family and friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. Hope to see this on the walls of all my family and friends just for moral support. I know some will!!! I did it for a friend and you can too. You have to copy and paste this one, no sharing.¬†

And I could be wrong, but I’m guessing at least a couple of those people are thinking of me when they post it.

I always struggle with these posts – mainly because they feel a bit chain letter-ish to me. Like there’s this imaginary pressure for me to post it, which, because I’m obnoxious like this,¬†makes me automatically not want to post it. I’m certain one of the reasons I struggle so much with this particular post is because I feel like I’ve become a poster child for mental illness among my social media friends, and so I feel more pressure than most to re-post this. Because I am so open and public about my struggles with mental illness, there is a pressure to be fighting the battle against stigma ALL THE TIME. Like if I don’t post this, people will begin to think I’m not as serious about my cause.

Here’s the thing – I post about my depression a lot – I’m aware of this. And when I do, I post in a way that I’m comfortable with, and in my own words – I own my story this way. I’m going to continue owning my story and posting in a way I feel comfortable for now.

But I have come to realize that the thing about this post that is so great is that it provides words for those that don’t have them to help fight the same battle I am fighting. It’s a great way for those around me to say, “Hey, I see you there, I see what you’re doing, and I support you, even if I don’t know how to say it myself.”

So the next time I see one of these posts, I’m going to fight my instinctual feeling of annoyance and just say, “Thank you.” Thank you to all of those who are finding a way to support me and others – in your own words or not.

  • Jessica Fantini, MS

    I had a similar reaction to the same post. I still don’t neccesarily know how I feel about it, but I do appreciate seeing friends and family posting it.