Post 1 for Bell’s Let’s Talk

Content Warning: Mentions of Suicide and Self Harm

P.S. I will be talking about God, faith issues, and the like because I am a believer. It has and still is gotten me through BPD, depression, and Asperger’s darkest moments. The moment I see any comments that try to convince me of no God will get deleted. There is a time for those debates, this note isn’t it.
1 year since my suicidal attempt and hospital stay. Another January has come, and it is the lead up to Bell’s Let’s Talk Day. I can rename January “Let’s Talk Month”. Why is that?
Well for many people in Canada, January is almost always the month that pulls people down. The Holidays, no matter how good or stressful, are gone; items in stores are back to their regular price; and the small bit of security some might have regarding being around family is gone now that people have gone back to normal life. January for me has always been hard: It’s a long month, and seemingly nothing to really look forward to as I go back to the real world.
After New Year’s Day in Canada, there are no stat holidays really. No day off from going to work and coming home, and no days off maybe enjoy winter. Winter just pulls people down further because there is less light, and there is cold without much snow most of the time. In Ontario, I know a lot of schools send the children to school on all but freezing rain days. I know school is a part of childhood, but it can be a chore to drag oneself through the freezing cold and the wet snow to get an education.
Just under a year ago, January broke me. On the day before “Blue Monday” I overdosed on my medications, and sent many people a suicide note. For some that note was a sign I had given up, for my mom it was the worst thing she could ever read, but for me… It was me saying I can’t handle my own darkness anymore. I couldn’t stand fucking up, I couldn’t stand looking into people’s eyes and seeing their judgement of me as nothing more than a thief, and I couldn’t stand looking at God who seemed so far away who probably saw me as a failure.
Many people have told me that I should just try not being depressed. I should focus on other things. I should just will myself to get better. I’m sure many will read this and think I should will my BPD to go away. I should just will the impulses gone, will my emotions into being saner, and will my fear of abandonment away. I bet some will blame things: January, Darth Vader, the fact I play video games, or even the fact I don’t have a significant other/spouse. I think/know some will read this note and nod along while on the inside thinking, “What a bitch! She’s using her illness as an excuse!”
I could try and change all your minds. I could try and compare BPD and Asperger’s to the cold I have: You don’t expect me to will myself to talk normally, yet you expect me to will BPD out of my life? You’ve heard those arguments before and if they didn’t change your mind then they won’t change them now.
This note isn’t written for you. It’s written for people who want to be an ally in the fight to recognize mental illness as a legitimate illness, and ensure people have more help. You want to stop tragedies like the murder-suicide committed by that soldier from happening. I want it to stop happening too. I want my first anniversary to come and go without me looking at a razor with the desire to cut, and looking at my pills and wondering how I could sneak them to my room and take them all.
Well, here is a thought for those who want to be a light in the darkness. They are simple things BUT they will take some work:
  1. Recognize your own stigma. Even in my own life, I have internalized stigma. It’s why I find it easier to smile, and say everything is great. It’s why I’d rather find the deep, dark reason I impulse spend and binge eat than admit it’s a symptom of my illness, and I can’t control it. I know what many of you are thinking: I don’t have stigma! I’m always accepting. Really? When someone tells you they’re down and have a hard time getting out of bed, what’s the first thing you say? The murder-suicide that happened earlier this week: Do you really believe the veteran was mentally ill, or do you consider that an excuse the media likes to use? I know a year ago I used to. That wasn’t right of me, and my heart breaks for the family that became one more casualty by stigma. Even better: I impulse spend and binge eat, because I have a mental illness, and I can’t control it. Do you think I’m lying? Are you gonna explode at me and say I’m just using it as an excuse? Or will you start looking for the deep dark reason again? That is an example of internal stigma: Rather it be ANY other option beyond someone is mentally ill.
  2. Copy this to your Facebook status, and mean it. My door is always open, kettle is always on, my sofa is always warm and a place of peace and no judgement. Any of my friends who need to chat are welcome anytime. It’s no good suffering in silence–let me give you a hug. Blue Monday is a name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) reported to be the most depressing day of the year and, January the worst month for suicides. It’s always good to talk but even better to listen… Could at least one friend, please copy and repost (not share)? I’m trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening. 21 Veterans kill themselves each day. If you see this and need ANY kind of help, reach out to me or someone. I will help you in any way I can.
    I would post it on my Facebook wall, but I’m not the person free of mental illness. I’m living it. Do you know how hard it is to fight through the stigma and admit it?! Listen to someone like me and find out. And by listen, I mean shut your mouth and listen: Don’t try to solve it, don’t try to find the deep and dark reason from a person’s past, and don’t just role your eyes and betray your attitude with body language!
  3. Beware of your own mental health. Depression can happen to anyone. Don’t pretend it can’t happen to you. In fact, I think depression is a sign if so many would rather run/hide/leave this life instead of live it. The moment you accept depression can and might happen to you is the moment #1-2 is much easier.
  4. Will you be my friend anyway? Even if you don’t full understand, will you be willing to be a friend and learn as we go? If not well… I can understand that but in this area I will fight my BPD and not take it personally- Those that disappear are a sign from the Father that He has better people to bring in my life up ahead.
It’s Bell’s Let’s Talk. Time to talk, and most importantly: It’s time to listen to the people who live with mental illness!

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