"One Life Too Many"
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Today, my heart is heavy. I woke up late- this happens often- and rushed the girls out of the house and onto the bus. I grabbed a up of coffee and sat back down on my bed to catch up on social media before my work day started. I was absently thinking about what I needed to do from the day. Mmm... take DD2 to the vet, finish a training certificate I'd been working on, oh crap! Pick up DH's dry cleaning! While scrolling something caught my eye. It was a gofund me for a family. A military family. This former service member had taken her life and had left behind a 6 week old baby, several other children, and a family that was lost without her. I cried. My heart ached for this wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend....who felt that her life was so invaluable that she needed to end it. She felt that she was lost and in the dark I am sure. No one was able to reach her. Oh the questions that must be plaguing her family. Questions that will forever go unanswered. Did she leave a note I wondered.
Quickly I leapt into action. Doing the only thing I knew to do that would even remotely make me feel a little better- I shared this on social media. I urged people to reach out if they feel like they are at the end of the line, barely hanging on. I issued a call to action: send me your stories. I'm going on every podcast I can find, writing to congress, storming the hill, anything I can do to bring this to light. Mental Health and the Military Family.
"I need ammo!" I told everyone. "Send me your stories- email them to me. I want to hear every detail so that I can tell these to people. I don't want your loved ones struggles to go unheard and unknown." What I received was something I wasn't expecting.
A mother- with a young son who was being bullied. He was 7. SEVEN years old and tried to strangle himself. Let that sink in. SEVEN. My DD2's age. Another one has an eleven year old and they can't get any therapist to either (1) take her insurance or (2) take new patients. One lost her daughter to suicide, another lost her husband, while yet another one lost her sister. On and on and on...all day long my phone has been dinging. I almost jump out of my skin every time my phone goes off. I want to silence my phone. But I won't. Because I need this motivation. I need these stories.
These conversations need to be had. The stories need to be told and heard. Mental health issues need to be taken seriously instead of shoved under a rug somewhere or underneath a pile of papers on a crowded desk.
I wonder what will it take? What will it take to make these changes, to provide the necessary resources in a timely manner, and to make a change? How can we make sure the policy makers and the earth shakers hear and heed these cries? I'm not sure what it will take. One more life? Ten? One hundred thousand? At what point will the stigma surrounding mental health be a thing of the past?
Reach out to those you love, hell even the ones you remotely like. Make sure they are okay. It's a crazy misconception that the time of "Covid" is a depressed persons dream. "Oh they don't like people anyway so they must really enjoy this!" What hogwash. No, many depressed people don't like being alone. Alone- the demons in their heads come out to play with the monsters and they have a blast. There's no one there to drown out the noise in their heads.
Reach out and show someone you care. Even just one life lost to the invisible demons in someone's head is too many. Way. Too. Many.