WOW – I haven’t updated this blog since July… 6 whole months. Mommin’, workin’, and livin’ have kept me occupied for a while – but, I wanted to take some time to really touch on a subject that is not only important but something that has hit close to home for me lately.
Within in the past 1-2 months, I have seen suicide take the lives of 3 men in my community. All 3 in different stages of life, ages, backgrounds, etc.
The first one happened and I was so saddened for the wife because I personally know her, yet I hadn’t met him. Being a wife myself I couldn’t image the heartbreak she felt. The second was just a short time later and my heart broke for one of my best friends, as this person was very close to her and her husband and I couldn’t imagine losing a friend like that at such a young age. The most recent situation shattered me completely, as it is someone I have known nearly my entire life. I grew up playing dress up with him and his sister, I’ve spent several holidays with his family, and I have memories galore to cherish forever. And being an older sister myself, my heart broke to see his sister have this pain. A pain I pray is eased every single day for her and her family.
Even though all 3 of these men are different in many ways, I can tell you I know they had 1 thing in common for sure – they were always smiling, they seemed happy, they were fun to be around, and they would do anything for anyone. I have seen comment after comment of how joyful these men were… yet, they were battling something inside they didn’t let many people see.
I also have a mom support group on Facebook where women of all stages of motherhood come to laugh, seek advice, share their struggles or victories, and so forth… and there are many times there are posts made about postpartum depression or anxiety, from women I always assumed were happy. They have a nice house, a husband, beautiful children, they get to stay home or they have a great career… but, sometimes they feel alone. Or they fee empty, emotionally and physically.
Depression and anxiety aren’t always superficial. Those struggles are often battled deep within – by someone you may even be very close to. It’s often the people that are always checking on others, and we don’t realize they are the ones who need to be checked on.
All of this to say, check on your “happy” friends. Just because Sarah posted a cute Instagram photo of her smiling yesterday, doesn’t mean she isn’t crying today. When you casually bump into Jessica at the grocery store and bring up planning a lunch date or going to dinner soon, follow through. That socialization and outing away from the house and kids may be exactly what she needed to refresh her mind and spirit.
Mental health is SO important. If you need off of work to relax and focus on yourself, do it. If you need a weekend getaway with your spouse or friends, do it – don’t feel guilty for getting a sitter for the kids. If you need counseling, please go talk to someone. If you need medication, do not be ashamed. Mental illness is real and we need to stop making it so taboo. It is much more common than you think.
And if you’re the praying kind, pray. Pray for the families that are left behind by a mental health issue. Pray for the ones that are struggling. Pray that they can somehow overcome it. Pray for God to lead you in a way that you can be the sunshine in someone’s day.
Love people, and love them BIG.