When I sat down to write this I was scared. The reason I was scared was because as a society in general there are things we talk about. And then there are things we don’t talk about. I think the right word I’m looking for is taboo.
This is one of them.
Today is world health day. The theme is depression: let’s talk.
According to the WHO someone commits suicide every 40 seconds. That means that in the space of one hour approximately 90 people have taken their own lives. It means that in one day around 2160 people will kill themselves. And we can carry on ignoring it. But we won’t be able to forever. Because one day someone you know, perhaps someone you already know, maybe even you, will reach breaking point and it could be too late. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Cliched because it’s true.
Sometimes it seems as if humanity is intent on repeating the mistakes that others have made in the past. We know people are hurting. But the statistics just keep getting higher. How many people have to die before we decide to change our views and educate ourselves?
I’m not living with this on my conscience. We can kid ourselves and place the blame on others.
Illness does not discriminate. The way we’ve been made to perceive people with mental health difficulties is warped. It’s a mess.
There are people who walk through the doors of mental health services, young and old, who need daily treatment, people who have therapy fortnightly, people who take medication and they are hurting and they are ill but it doesn’t define them.
There are people who walk out of the doors of the department and never come back because they decided life wasn’t for them anymore. We’re kidding ourselves if we say there aren’t people in our community who are mentally ill. You can go ahead thinking that until it hits you in the face. And it will.
We’ve become so accustomed to using the word depression to describe the most trivial things.
Depression is an illness. And it’s real.
300 million people. 4.2% of the population. All of which think they’re alone in the way they feel.
We’ve been taught to think that stories of suicide and depression are rare. They aren’t.
We need to change the way we think.
We’ve grown used to patterns of negative thinking.
We’re scared of failure.
So often we hear someone say it’s so hard, I’m not doing it. But isn’t failure only failure if we don’t try again? If we stop trying?
As a society, we are bad at talking about feelings.
At one point in our lives we’ve all felt as if we aren’t good enough, not slim enough, not tall enough, not clever enough. Not enough.
We have warped perceptions of success.
We are human and we need to accept our humanity.
And I could just sit here and tell you to be positive. But I’m not. Life is hard, and as people we want it to be easy.
One day we won’t have any tomorrows left and all our yesterdays will have been in vain. But we don’t stop. We all realise that we are on the same side and support each other. We need to help people.
Today is Friday. It’s the 7th April 2017. Today is world health day. The theme is depression: let’s talk.
At the core of the campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery.
Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong.
If you ever find yourself surrounded by fog no matter which way you turn, if you reach the edge, if you feel like you are going to collapse under the weight of it all and you’re searching for something anything then hold on. Believe that tomorrow will be better. One day it will be.
Originally published at medium.com