In the wake of high profile deaths by suicide dominating the news this week, I’ve seen a lot of people reacting with shock and surprise. There’s been much discussion about how celebrities who seemingly “have it all” could still feel desperate and in enough pain to take their own lives. It’s a harsh reminder that depression, mental illness and suicide does not discriminate. No amount of money, fame, or success can keep you immune from them. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to tell by looking who amongst us struggles in this way.
Hand in hand with this, I’ve seen people talking about how sad it is that those who struggle don’t reach out. I’ve seen it described as people isolating themselves. From the outside, it may appear that these people are choosing to keep their pain and anguish hidden. It can seem like they have chosen to put up a barrier which keeps the world out and, in doing so, they miss the chance to receive the help they may desperately want and need. For those of us who have had the privilege of being there when people considering suicide do reach out, we know this isn’t the full story. Time and time again we hear the way depression has lied to people, how their own brains give them false messages that stand in the way of them seeking help. Prolonged depression can make you believe that opening up to the people in your life is the same as bothering them. It can convince you that asking for help makes you a burden, and that there is no point because the people around you will only be upset or annoyed.