Tonight is the eve of the first time I will do anything publicly to honor my mother. Five and a half years ago she killed herself. I've vowed since that day to fight to save others and help society remove the social stigma against mental health and suicide. Many times these past five years I thought I found the courage to step up and put myself out there. Raise my hand. Use my voice, and tell my story. Each time, fear and pain ate away the strength I so desperately fought to build.
Tomorrow is a small step, but it's a step. I will run in memory of my mother in a race called "Run In the Name of Love." The sole purpose of this run is to bring people together who've all lost someone they love deeply to honor and celebrate them. Rarely do you hear that someone died because they lost their hard fought battle with depression. I'm hear to tell the world that fighting depression is like fighting cancer. If you lose the battle, the result is the same.
It may seem extreme to have my "In Honor of…" placard say "In memory of my mother. She lost her battle with depression and died by suicide." Maybe it is, but maybe that's what all of us who've survived someone's suicide need to start doing in order to help save others from the horrors we've experienced.
Writing all of this does not come easily. I type this with cuticles chewed to the quick and a stomach that won't quit doing flips regardless of the bottle of Tums I've furiously chewed as I try and breathe through my anxiety. This is my first entry in what will be an attempt to tell my story. After all, this is how we learn, through stories. Mine is neither unique nor fascinating, but it is one known to many and spoken by the few, and if my little voice can help even one person, then I know this was right and true.
I am simply a motherless daughter trying to mother my own two sons after surviving many things that are still considered taboo to talk about. Divorce. Foreclosure. Suicide. Bankruptcy. Depression. As painful and scary as it may be for me to write publicly about these things, there is that intuition glowing deep inside me telling me this is what needs to be done.
Some days you just need to stop ignoring the pain that lives inside. Let yourself feel the pain because this is where strength and beauty are found.
Tomorrow I will be seeking beauty.