From what I read, September is Suicide Prevention Month. I love it as a concept to raise awareness and understanding, but frankly, every day should be Compassionate Understanding Day.
As someone who takes Prozac because for me EVERY day is suicide prevention day, let me clear up a few misconceptions about depression and suicide.
- You’re not “crazy” just because you suffer from depression or feel suicidal. Either you have a chemical imbalance that should be treated with medication, or something has happened to you that should be treated with therapy. Also, “crazy” is not a bad thing. I am crazy and damned proud of it. Who wants to be normal, standard, and boring?
- Depression is not something someone can just “cheer up” from. I know depressed people can be a real downer, and the illness can be really frustrating. But if it’s frustrating for you, think what it’s like for us. We’re dealing with ourselves 24/7.
- Even when medicated, depression can persist. Be aware of your feelings. Do not think that just because you’re on medication, everything should be okay. Prozac stopped working for me 7 years in and a psychiatrist prescribed me a new med. I took it for some time before realizing I was still really depressed and not getting better. Ended up going to a new doc who just upped my Prozac. Worked like a charm. You deserve to feel better. Keep pursuing it until you do.
- And that’s another thing – sometimes people with depression can’t do for themselves. It sucks and ends up being a vicious cycle. Too depressed to call the doctor, don’t get treatment, stay depressed. If you love someone with depression, be prepared to do some hand holding. Get them help – and I mean physically call the doctor and take him or her to the appointment. You could save a life by sacrificing a little of your time.
- Suicide is not “selfish.” I have heard this SO MANY TIMES. I can tell you personally that what I was thinking when I was suicidal was, “Everyone would be better off without me. I am such a loser and such a drain.” Many suicidal people actually think that in the long run, their actions will HELP their loved ones to live happier lives. Also, even if someone is considering suicide as an escape, don’t call them selfish. They already think their life is pointless. Do you think insulting their character is going to help?
- Depression is not ingratitude. It is CHEMICAL. It does not matter how great someone’s life appears. If they were suffering from diabetes, would you tell them to eat healthier and it would resolve itself?
- DEPRESSION IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Talk about it. If you have it, talk to your friends and family. Explain your emotions and thoughts. And if you think someone you know might be suffering in silence, talk to him or her. Ask questions. Express compassion and understanding. Indicate that you’re okay with it and willing to help. Again, you could save a life.
1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
This is a nationwide hotline, open 24/7. Call if you need help. You don’t have to feel this way. Things CAN improve – I am proof.