My newest byline was such an important one for me to write, so I’ll just get right to it today, friends! September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. I knew I wanted to write something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. After I thought about it for a bit, the idea seemed so obvious and it became my fourth piece for The Fix…
In 2019, it seems like we already know so much about suicide. It’s easy to look up statistics and, unfortunately, it’s rare that a day goes by without at least one headline or mention on the news. We know all the facts, don’t we? Despite all that, though, what we rarely do is talk about suicide. We don’t have open conversations about the people we’ve lost and what the suicide of a loved one leaves in its wake. Maybe we’re scared. Maybe the topic just makes us too uncomfortable altogether.
For whatever reason, we just don’t talk about it.
As you already know, I’ve never been like that. I’ve talked about losing my father and I’ve written openly about it. A lot. Some people say that I shouldn’t talk about suicide and while that may be the right choice for them, it’s never been the right choice for me.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, which I hope will help us all to start a conversation about this hard-to-talk-about topic…
There’s a catch-22 when it comes to suicide: People are reluctant to talk about it because it’s a sensitive and deeply personal topic, but it remains a sensitive topic because people don’t talk about it. So we find ourselves tip-toeing around suicide altogether, which doesn’t help anyone. For years, I’d find myself at a loss for words whenever someone would mention suicide, so I’ve been there.
That’s why I’ve been trying to change suicide’s shameful stigma. For the last 16 years, I’ve been vocal, unafraid to talk about the very things people don’t want to talk about. In the beginning, I talked about my father as a way to process my grief. I saw it as a way to keep my father’s memory alive, but as the years went on, I began to realize that my talking about his suicide wasn’t just for me. Sure, it may have started out that way, but the more statistics I read and the more stories I heard, the more I learned how many people are affected by suicide. I began to feel a responsibility to share my story.
And, it looks like my story might actually be starting a conversation — or, at the very least, getting people to think about suicide in a different way. Today, my piece is among the most popular articles on The Fix! That, friends, makes me incredibly hopeful for a future with less suicides stigmas and more compassion and understanding. Are you with me??
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo
[Top photo via Unsplash]