Mental illness. Yet again we find ourselves mourning the loss of another great celebrity talent from apparent suicide. So many judgmental comments about reaching out for help instead of self medicating or choosing to end it all. End the power of the internal voices that others never hear those suffering battle every waking hour.

It’s not a disease that gives a damn what your social status is, how much money you have or don’t.  And it doesn’t give two shits about how many people love you and would do anything the help you through a dark hour. Yes, there are so many different options for getting help, but not without first having to get past the feeling of being a failure because of something you have no control over.
We have several friends that have lost parents and siblings to this awful disease. Everyone copes differently and often the internal battle beats them. Last year, we lost a close friend to suicide on my birthday. There was only one word that described how that made us feel, devastated. Not to mention the enormous amount friends and family that were left behind that loved them dearly.
For me, each time I see it happen it makes me try harder to fight those internal demons that I’ve battled myself for more than 20 years. I know my triggers, I know it requires that I talk about it, that I take my medication, but most of all that I reach out in low moments and ask for help.  It may even be that the people I reach out to have no idea they are getting me through.  I have a wonderful life, I would NEVER ever deny that.  A family that loves me, a husband that adores me and countless friends that are always supportive.  This proves to me each day, mental illness is not just about what you have or don’t.
But this is not about me, it’s about the billions of people world-wide that this illness cripples every waking second. With so much stigma attached to mental illness, so many are afraid to talk about it for fear of judgment. BUT we must stop judging those that need help and step up and get better options in place for awareness and affordable assistance.  Ask questions, offer a shoulder, make them feel needed.  It is not your job to carry their burden, but one of my favorite quotes, “be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” and no matter if it is from another illness or from depression, kindness could be a matter of life or death.

If you know someone or suspect someone who is struggling with depression and needs help now, contact Lifeline and help them get the help they need to get through another day.