We marvel at combat as sport. When a fighter is beaten, and I mean really beaten, when they’ve taken a crazy amount of punishment and lay motionless on the canvas, we don’t call them a “quitter.” We commend the courage it must have taken to stand toe-to-toe with such a dangerous opponent in the first place.
Depression is 1980’s Mike Tyson, living in your psyche. Depression doesn’t dance; it unloads with fury. Staying in the fight when you’re getting your ass kicked by depression is pure courage. It requires you to get off the canvas each morning with no guarantee momentum will turn in your favor. In fact, it’s entirely likely you will continue to get hit.
The good news is we are not defenseless. We can hit back and win rounds. But we need a support system. No fighter stands a chance without good people in their corner.
Who is in your corner? Have you offered to be in someone else’s?
It’s hard to ask for help. We’re afraid to be perceived as weak or weird, afraid to face the potential judgment of friends and family. And to be fair, as a friend or family member, we’re often uncomfortable asking if someone needs help.
We can stop suicide, but only if we end the stigma first.
It won’t always be pretty, but we can make it to the bell. We can make it back to our corner, get treatment and encouragement and love, and keep fighting.
And it starts with a couple phrases that should never make us feel ashamed or awkward:
“Are you okay?” and “I need help.”
The harsh reality of the fight with depression and suicidal thoughts is wins are temporary and losses are permanent. Our only currency is tomorrow. If we reach tomorrow, we get to keep fighting.
My greatest dream is that everyone in the fight gets the help they need to keep fighting. And winning. One round at a time. Together.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.