I shot this video yesterday, after I realized it was World Suicide Prevention Day. Between the wind and trying to discuss something so personal with people constantly walking by, it was difficult to finish filming. Between the time that took and having to go work on another shoot for Cleanthony and the Caesars before I was done editing, I wasn’t able to get the video up until midnight last night.
While my video is late, however, this is still an important topic to bring into public conversation. Not only because it is still National Suicide Prevention Week, but because suicide and depression are still topics that people are uncomfortable discussing. And because people avoid talking about it, those of us who suffer wind up feeling ashamed and alone, which only makes the problem worse. I’ve discussed suicide and suicide prevention in several videos before, but I focused on the past more than the present.
This year, I’ve been going through some of the worst depression since 2003, when I very nearly killed myself. One of the things that has helped me was seeing an amazingly open, vulnerable post on the Adult Nerdfighters Facebook group. In this post, a brave Nerdfighter asked if anyone else felt the same way she did.* That’s not easy to do; it’s so much easier to just sit back, detached, and assume that nobody else feels the same way – that nobody else is willing to talk about it.
There’s a certain amount of comfort in solidarity. There’s at least a little bit of relief, there, in just knowing that you’re not the only one struggling. There’s a connection that can be made, if we’re open to it. But we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to break down the walls and let other people in while investing in them at the same time. It’s scary, and there’s always the fear that it will go horribly, horribly wrong. But it’s necessary.
That post, and the flood of responses that came out of it, have helped me. I made this video to help others. In doing so, however, I have also helped myself: I’m struggling, and it’s important to talk about that while it’s happening. It’s important to be open, exposed and vulnerable even – no, especially – while I’m in the midst of suffering. It can’t just be something I talk about in reflection, when I’m feeling put together enough to be brave.
No one is truly alone. But sometimes that’s very, very difficult to realize. Sometimes, all we can see is ourselves, closed off from the rest of the world. It’s a lie we tell ourselves. As the incredible Wil Wheaton posted yesterday, depression lies.
Remember that, and remember that if you’re having trouble ignoring its lies, there are people who want to help.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
- Hopeline: 1-800-SUICIDE
- Time To Change (UK)
- The Trevor Project**: 1-866-488-7386
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- To Write Love On Her Arms***
*This thread on the Adult Nerdfighters group spawned a new, private group called When You Forget That You’re Awesome as a means of group support. If this sounds like a group you want to be a part of, please feel free to join. It’s a private group to prevent the Internet’s horde of asshats from trolling us.
***There’s some controversy about TWLOHA that I only became aware of yesterday. I need to do my own research into the validity of these issues, as all I have to go on at the moment are some posts on tumblr. In the meantime, I’m linking it, but offering this disclaimer. Many people are helped by TWLOHA, but if what I read yesterday is true, it may not be an organization for everyone. All of the other organizations, to the best of my knowledge, are wonderful and have no controversial issues.