Whispers

I was talking to a mom at karate the other night after Gwendolyn helped herself to some of this lady’s daughter’s toys. We made conversation and as it always does, my dead husband came up. Though I didn’t mention the method of his passing the conversation segwayed into post partum depression and her friend who was pregnant when her husband commited suicide came up.

I found it interesting that she leaned and whispered “committed suicide”.

No one whispers about husbands who die of cancer.

Or of wives killed in car accidents.

Oh, but suicide.

That must be whispered about.

There is a simultaneously unspoken, and obnoxiously blatant stigma surrounding suicide.

Those who kill themselves are…

cowards

selfish

sinners

inconsiderate

addicts

guilty

liars

cheaters

Yes, while some of our partners who died by their own hand may have been some of those things they were also…..

mentally ill

hurting

struggling

trying

tired

Even I am guilting of whispering the forbidden “S” word, hiding it behind my hand or mouthing it silently to avoid speaking of it in front of Luke.

If Sean had been killed in action, murdered, died of cancer, or literally anything else- I would have never whispered. I would have never had to hide behind my husband’s choice to end his own life.

No more hiding, no more whispers.

Sean was many great things….

Father

Husband

Son

Brother

Uncle

Friend

Soldier

Student

Writer

But he was also sick, and it’s those great many things that kept him alive for as long he lived. But depression with a side of functional alcoholism is debilitating and try as he may, Sean simply did not try soon enough or hard enough to get the help he so desperately needed.

No more silence.

No more whispers.

TALK ABOUT IT.

Break the stigma.

Accept help where help is offered and give it where it is needed. Normalize the discussion. Stop criminalizing those who need mental health assistance. Check on your strong friends, the friends who joke about killing themselves and cover up their cripping depression with humor- they’re often the ones who need help the most but will pacify you because they don’t want people to get uncomfortable or worry.

Talk about it.

Talk about me.

Talk about Sean.

Tell the story. Share the experiences.

Suicide happens….a lot and it should not a secret.

While one day I’d like to fancy myself a suicide and mental illness advocate, I also backed out of going to a suicide awareness event this evening. In some ways, I’m still not there yet. But until then I’ll continue to hide behind my computer screen and spew statistics at you. Speaking of which, did you know that an average, one person every 40 seconds dies by suicide?

So, by the time you’re done reading this about two people will have killed themselves.

2 thoughts on “Whispers

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  1. I got my first hint into what my life would be like as a suicide widow, about 2 weeks after my wife died. I never shied away from the “s word” and spoke of her cause of death openly. It took 2 weeks for the first person to say “should you really be telling people she died that way?”

    I speak my story and share my truth (and hers) because it may save a life. Way to go speaking up, break the silence, end the stigma.

    Like

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