We don’t wear badges of pain

Feeling lonely and unloved is extremely painful, but some can be earth-shattering. Whether it’s the misfortune of a chemical imbalance, the brain certainly knows how to hold your heart hostage creating a toxic environment called depression. I have heard many comments regarding suicide as being incredibly selfish. As I don’t disagree with this statement, I have to ask if you ever had an amount of relentless nagging pain at your every breath as you beg and plead for it to stop? Well, I can only assume that is how depression feels.  The loved ones who care for the people experiencing this type of sickness know an entirely different level of frustration while talking them down of the ledge as it holds them in its debilitating grip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t save her. Nine years ago, I lost my sister from her own decision and her own hands. Her disease deceived her by lying to her that she was a burden, worthless, and hard to love. Mental illness is good at making you feel backed into a corner with only one way out.

Once you’ve experienced something like this, it changes you. People walk around with all kinds of pain and no badge to display it. It’s only human nature that we look for acceptance and validation of our worth from other people. Look at all the social media outlets the world has today. Some people post every part of life looking for as many likes and comments as they can. When negative comments flow through, it can stop up your day. If only we lived in a perfect world where tolerance and affirmation came from ourselves and not from others.

With the waves of grieving I have experienced in almost ten years, a gift appeared. I can now live in the moment. None of us know day to day how long we have on earth, so when the wind blows in from the east and takes a small tuft of your hair over your shoulder, take a moment and breath. Put your phone down, hug your friends and family while you laugh so hard you snort through your nose.

The baggage my amazing sister abruptly left, I carry with me on my back daily. As I sort through the layers, I realized how little control I have over my own life. The one thing I can control is the way I treat myself. I’ve learned to talk to myself as I would my dearest friend with patience and kindness.

Shannon’s pain has ended, which I know she was yearning for; however, my pain lingers in the air only to grab a hold on when I least expect it. I am determined to make room for the grief while nurturing my wounds. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. Medications and therapies DO work and CAN help. If you don’t have insurance, there are support programs in most hospitals and clinics. There is no room for stigma or embarrassment. My sister was smart, funny, and extremely sensitive. Mental illness doesn’t pick and choose based on social status. There is no difference from this disease to any other. You wouldn’t go without insulin if you had diabetes. It’s unacceptable to lose another person to this rapidly growing worldwide pandemic. Get involved in your community by starting a conversation about what support is in your area. Thank you for your time.


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