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  • Lindsay S. Wheeler

The Hardest Week

It’s National Suicide Prevention Week 2016 and I have something to say. World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 takes place on September 10th this year. It is a day that exists to remind us that we are human, that we have lost wonderful people to this disease and that people like you and me have a lot to live for. In the last few months I’ve done exactly what I promised myself and others I would never do: I’ve allowed discrimination to silence me. The last time I shared a mental health piece I’d written in the past, I was privately scrutinized and demeaned. I became targeted/stalked in a strange and unexpected display of cyber-bullying. And most importantly, I lost a lot of hope where I once had it. I let this experience defeat me despite the overwhelming number of people who have spoken out in my defense and commended my honesty. But this is a new week and it happens to be one during which I refuse to filter or silence myself.

Honestly, unfortunate doesn’t begin to describe how sad it is that we can’t all just live out our own, authentic lives without the interjection of people who have a problem with who we are. This week I need to be unapologetic about who I am for myself, so I don’t slip back into a space where I forget that unapologetic is all that I should be.

I find it beautiful that each of us is so different [some people simply do not]; with strengths, weaknesses, oddities, insecurities, hopes, dreams and preferences across a vast spectrum. We all have moments we look back on with remorse and, in contrast, defining moments we are extremely proud of. Massive injustices happen everyday. Some of us bully and others among us have been bullied. Some of us are enormously privileged and others have suffered under systems of oppression. Some hardly know what it means to be sad and others haven’t lived a day in their lives without a low. In an effort to #StopSuicide, please show compassion where it is needed and extend support to those around you. We must be aware, accommodating and celebrating of the differences among us.

In a matter of hours, I found myself wondering if being proud of who I am and what I’ve fought for for years was stupid. I let hateful words deconstruct the strength I formerly

believed I had, one fragile piece at a time. I couldn't even write. Words can be as damaging as they can be empowering. Today I am going to be empowered, not damaged, because if helps a single person during Suicide Prevention Week, that is enough.

#suicide #mentalhealth #mentalillness #depression #bipolardisorder #pain #hardship

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