Recently my cousin decided to take his life. Although we were not close, family is family. For it to get to the point that he felt suicide was his last option, it hurt to hear the news. I found out that he suffered with severe depression for quite some time, and it is ironic that my initiative to spark conversation about mental health awareness missed someone in my own family. In my attempts, I have shared my vision with some of my family but unfortunately I was unable to reach a family member that was truly in need.
When I found about the incident I was at a lost for words, especially after listening to some of the commentary from my family.
“He brought it on himself”
“It was his fault that he couldn’t get a job and that’s why he was depressed”
“I was hurt when I thought someone killed him, but when I found out he did it himself, I felt like he took the easy way out. God made men to fight through hard situations. (Eff) it”
WHAT DO YOU MEAN (EFF) IT?
This is your blood. Eff it? He was depressed for quite some time and decides to kill himself. Eff it? He was having troubles financially and with his girlfriend. Eff it?
So many things ran through my head as I wondered how someone could be so insensitive to the fact that this man’s life is gone.
Yes, he made mistakes. We all have. But does that make his suicide less of a tragedy?
That could have been anyone of us experiencing depression and it is not as easy to “snap out of” as many often suggest. And when you say “nothing can ever be that bad,” I beg to differ.
So I guess that if the gun that I held to my head would have went off when I pulled the trigger, I would have been considered weak, too. I would have been viewed as less of a man - as someone who took the “easy way out.” I would have been talked about and the personal battles I was fighting would've been ignored with head shaking and remarks that "nothing could ever be that bad."
That same suicide that someone describes as “the easy way out,” was probably the hardest decision that they ever made. That same suicide that someone describes as "an act of weakness” could have possibly been prevented if that person felt the support and strength from those close to them to make them stronger.
A person can have all of the riches and fame in the world but still suffer from mental illness.
A person can be poor, homeless, and not know where their next meal will come from and suffer from mental illness.
A person can be a model citizen or a criminal and suffer from mental illness.
A person is a person and we must not forget that it is our duty to act as such. Do not dismiss the fact that mental illness is not limited to race, gender, or social status and it affects us all.