If you're battling depression you should realize you're not alone

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

With the recent losses of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, and the release of the second season of 13 Reasons Why, suicide is becoming a more prevalent issue.

When a celebrity dies by suicide, the grief from that loss can be felt across the world and create complex feelings as we mourn someone we knew without ever really knowing.

Mental illnesses, particularly depression, do not discriminate in who they choose. You can have everything people associate with happiness; money, friends and loved ones, a fan club, success and infinite opportunities, but when depression strikes these things don't bring the feelings of joy and accomplishment we feel like they should. Even when you're a renowned fashion icon or a highly regarded chef who travels the world eating delicious food.

More than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression regardless of age, race, wealth, or gender. Depression can affect anyone and can be life threatening.

Sometimes the person you least suspect can be battling a mental illness behind closed doors, which can make it all the more shocking to lose someone to a suicide. Suicide also remains highly stigmatized which can make mourning a loss more complicated.

When grieving a loss by suicide, it can be natural to wonder if you could have done something to intervene and save the person you've lost. Maybe if we could have caught the signs sooner, or at all. If only they had just had someone to talk to. Why weren't they happy?

It can be hard to face these questions, self-blame, or even to reach out and talk to your support network who may be uncomfortable talking about suicide or just don't know how to support you. When getting caught up in these questions or feeling isolated in your grief its important to remember that the nature of depression can be blinding, and it was the illness that caused death not anything you did or did not do and not any sinful act by the person who has died.

Grief has strange ways of coming out of us, and there is no right or wrong way to feel.

If you find yourself struggling with grief or depression, and aren't sure how to get the support you need, remember: there are a lot of options. Support forums online where you can post anonymously, therapy groups for other people struggling with the same things you are, individual counselling, or even crisis and distress hotlines you can call.

Here in New Hamburg we have access to Interfaith Counselling Centre, which has therapists trained to provide support in both individual and group settings, and Here 24/7 with a number you can call at any time if you are struggling with mental health, addictions or a crisis. The number is 1-844-437-3247.

No matter what battle you face, how hard things get, and how lonely you feel, you are not alone. There are people who want to support you. And there is no right or wrong way to make it through hard times.


This column was written by counsellor Brooke-Anne Willis and first appeared in the New Hamburg Independent: www.newhamburgindependent.ca

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