Tierney Watkinson | Contributor
World Suicide Prevention Day was September 10. Did you know that?
“Prevention Day” would suggest that suicide is something akin to a disease, something catchable and unpredictable. But this is not what suicide is. Suicide is tragedy. Unromantic, devastating tragedy. Suicide is and forever will be inextricably connected to depression.
Depression does not make sense, and never will. For every single person, the symptoms and triggers are different and these vary in severity. People with depression have been unfairly called weak, diseased, or disabled, all of which infer that those suffering from it are lesser. Depression is the silent cancer.
Depression cannot be categorized. It should not be scoffed at because to be depressed is not to be merely sad. It is being unable to see a light but feeling like everyone around you is seeing fireworks.
It is the inability to feel joy or excitement no matter the occasion. It is being unable to sleep even when you are exhausted.
It is feeling alone no matter who you are with. It is the feeling that nothing matters, that nothing will ever matter; that you don’t matter and the world will go on without you because no one needs you.
Suicide is entirely preventable. But depression, its root cause, is often not something you can see. Having a friend with depression is frightening. It is frustrating, and it is wearing. You should not feel obligated to be a friend’s personal life raft if you feel like you cannot handle it, no matter how much you love them. However, do not simply pass them off to another friend or just walk away. If they will not seek out help, let someone know. Tell a relative, or tell a counselor. It is not your job to carry someone, especially if you feel like you yourself are barely standing. However, you should never ever just let someone fall.
Helping someone with depression is not necessarily the equivalent of carrying Frodo to Mordor. Often all that anyone needs
is the reminder that they are thought of.
Message that friend you haven’t talked to in a few weeks. Phone your family. Give the people around you some sign that you are thinking of them. If you have ever experienced depression, then you know that the last thing you want to do is to drag other people down with you.
Do not wait for people to come to you offering help, because, again, depression is rarely visible. Create something, be it a story or an abstract painting or an entire kitchen unit crafted with your bare hands.
Force yourself to open your mouth and tell someone how you feel. You don’t have to tell them all of it. Sharing pieces of yourself with another person is a freedom. There are thousands of people in this city alone; if you don’t find what you seek here, there will be chances elsewhere.
Here at UNBC, join a club. Find people with similar interests. Whether it is a sports team or a writing club, finding something to be passionate about with other people will keep you creating and keep you moving.
Those people will become your family,
and you will become theirs. Facing your future, and all of the stress associated with obtaining a degree, as a group is much easier than facing it alone. As long as you are breathing, you can move forward.
Suicide Prevention Day is most definitely something we should all be aware of. However, it should not be the focus of a single day a year. Always pay attention to and love the people around you. Most importantly, live.