We’ve all heard it, right? Or, at least, most of us heard it. That awkward 5 minutes of, “my child, you’re growing up and your body is changing, and we need to discuss a few things about it.” You both wished it over, and you never spoke about it again. But then you grow up and you realize that the talk isn’t that awkward actually, because it’s everywhere, and everyone is talking about it, and being experts on it.
But some things are just too hard to talk about. Some things are just better left unsaid. And some things are not. Some things NEED to be talked about, a lot. Things like equality, gay marriage, racism, justice, and Taylor Swift, need to be talked about as often as possible. Because these things matter. And talking about them is not only important, but you become part of a larger conversation.
And we all suffer from FOMO, to a certain degree. That’s why most of us cannot resist the urge to click on the first clickbait article starting with, “You won’t believe what she did”, or “At first it looks like he’s just walking, but then…” And our giant itch for being ‘in the know’ just won’t let us go until we’ve clicked and shared the “24 most ridiculous celebrity swimming pools”.
But here’s the thing, almost anything, even dancing squirrels get more airtime than one of the deepest issues facing millions of people across the world on a daily basis.
Depression and Suicide.
- Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, worldwide.
- According to the recently released World Health Organization (WHO) report: Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative, over 800,000 people die by suicide across the world each year.
- As many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems (and this does not include more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia), according to statistics released by the South African Depression & Anxiety Group.
I’ve been there myself.
I’ve been at both ends. Feeling world conquering the one day and “this world has nothing to offer me”, the next day. It is a tiresome struggle to find a good enough reason to get out of bed each morning, and feel obliged to say, “good. thanks, and yourself”, when people ask how you are. And the biggest reason why most people battling with depression fake it til they make it (if ever), is because the talk around it is still ignorantly hushed. It is still viewed as something only for the emo kid at the back of the class.
But the issue is more closer to home than some might think. It has no preference. No targeted audience. It finds a home with rich and poor alike. And yet, so few people admits to it, or seek help for it, or talk about it in their homes, schools, or work places.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. On this day, more than others, we are encouraged to talk about the issues of suicide and depression. We are reminded that we cannot be silent about these matters. We are reminded that our heaviness shouldn’t be carried alone. Because we are not alone.
Our pain. Our struggles. Our dark days. They are things that need to be talked about just as much as our good days and our celebrations.
To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a movement in America that is dedicated to talk about these difficult issues; to ask about the giant elephant in the room.
And so, on this day, they ask one simple question, “Tell us why we’ll see you tomorrow.” They’ve made a printable PDF that can be downloaded, and on it you can write your answer to this question, take a picture of it, and post it online.
Join in on the conversation.
Talk about the things most people refuse to talk about.
Learn from helpful resources on how you can get help, support, or look for signs of depression.
Last year I wrote a post on why you shouldn’t go just yet. Read it here.
Peace to you.