I saw this video recently and it’s been haunting me. It’s about a blogger who decided to come out about his mental illness and document it in the hopes that others would know that it’s okay to ask for help, that it’s not shameful to be medicated, that depression tells you terrible lies and that you can’t fight those lies alone.
It’s here and you should watch it. It’s long, but it’s worth it.
Earlier this month, a friend of mine lost her husband. If you read the comments regularly you probably know her. Her name is Lori, and during a psychotic breakdown her husband killed himself, leaving her with two small children and a life forever changed. I don’t know how I’d react in her shoes. If you’ve read her you already know that she’s strong and funny and wonderful…but she’s also devastated and searching for meaning in all of this. I don’t know that there is one but I do know that the speech she made at Tony’s funeral was something that you might need to hear.
Tony took care of everyone. All the time. He was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t speak out when something was wrong.
And this is what you can do for me, for Tony, when you leave here today. All you men, you big men. When you walk away from here, you speak. If something is wrong, if something hurts, then you talk about. Tony was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t care take of himself. So after this, you speak.
I wish I could make everything better for Lori, make it all go away. But I can’t. But I can do my best to make sure that people hear the message she passes along…
Mental illness is no different from any other illness and is just as deadly. Getting help is hard and just admitting that you need help can be crippling for some. It doesn’t have to be. You aren’t alone. There is help. If you’re struggling, ask for help. Your friends and family are there to be your advocates when you just can’t make it work on your own. Let them shoulder your load. Don’t be embarrassed about asking someone else to help you find a shrink, or to tell you that everything is going to be okay, or to drive you to the hospital when you think that suicide might be an option. And if you have no one to turn to, call a suicide hot-line. There are people waiting to tell you why you’re needed.
Someone once told me that he’d rather have “a broken, bed-ridden Jenny than no Jenny at all” and that kept me alive when I thought the world would be better off without me. But what he said was (and still is) the truth. Your friends and family want you…broken or not. Don’t leave. Speak out. Be honest about your condition to let others know that they can be honest with theirs.
Together we’ll get through it. And for you, Lori, I’m speaking out:
If you can spare a kind word for Lori I know it would help her feel a little less alone.