Eight years ago today I was dealing with a very emotional and irrational daughter. She was incredibly depressed and there was nothing I could say that was helping her see that this too would pass. Bi-Polar Disorder had consumed all of the chemicals in her brain. In her chemical imbalance-induced pain, leaving this world was the only way to make the agony she felt go away.
When I wake up tomorrow it will be eight years later but just like every day since, it will be just like it happened all over again. The tears are always right below the surface as I think about my beautiful, 22 forever daughter Kat.
Her son is twelve now. The same age she was when she wrote me her first suicide note. Every day I watch for signs in all of my biological grandchildren, hoping beyond hope that if they are on the mental illness journey that we address it early. Also making sure everyone involved understands that it isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Mental Illness is such an awful disease. It runs rampant through our biological DNA but still it is such a shameful subject. Why? Why can’t we talk about it as openly as people talk about having cancer or heart disease or diabetes? It isn’t something that is self-inflicted. No one wants to have a Mental Illness.
Treatment is available for all mental illnesses but the stigma is still so ingrained within people, even with some of the doctors. It makes it hard for someone to step up and say ‘I need help.’ This thought-process needs to stop.
I have lost too many people in my family to suicide. First, was my father who was 33 and I was only eleven. Next was my grandfather, even though it wasn’t documented as such. Next was my daughter when she was only 22, and a few years ago a cousin who was 56. I don’t want to lose anyone else. I didn’t want to lose them.
I miss my baby girl every day but it always digs deeper into my heart on the anniversary of her passing. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to help me. Help me stop the stigma so others with mental illness in their families don’t have to lose someone they love.