Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

You Matter

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all of the mundane things that make up our lives. And somewhere along the way, we start to forget who we are and the value we add to life. You start to loose little pieces of yourself… at first you don’t notice but one day you’re staring at your computer and you ask yourself “What’s the point?”

When you suffer from depression, this question is one you ask pretty much every day. And finding an answer isn’t always easy. But then again, easy doesn’t make for a very interesting life. So every day I focus on one #ReasonToSmile. just one little thing about the day that is completely me and makes me smile… even just for a while. Whether it’s drinking chai tea out of my favorite mug or playing fetch with my overly ball upsessed dog or watching my favorite 90’s TV shoew re runs… it may not seem like much but when the rest of your day is filled with dispair, that one little moment is everything…

Like all things, if you do them repeatedly they become habit and feel more natural, so eventually these little moments of happiness becomes normal again. These little moments all make up the little peices of you that matter. As long as you keep reminding yourself of what makes you happy – even if it is just for a minute – you will never loose yourself completely.

If any ever tries to convince you that you are not worthy of happiness, know that they are wrong! You matter! Noo one can tell you otherwise, not even that little voice inside of you… We are own biggest critics but we can fight back against the mean things we think about ourselves and change the voices in our heads to make them like us instead (best line ever written in a song paraphrased!) You deserve to be happy!

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Too tired

It’s been a hard/weird few weeks… not that a lot have been going on, just that it’s been getting to me. I’ve had a bit of trouble keeping everything negative away from me but instead it has just overwhelmed me.

There hasn’t been anything in particular that should have made me feel this way. In fact it’s been a pretty low key month so far. And that’s coming from someone who has instinctively always hated September. But I just don’t have any energy and zero drive. It’s hard enough trying to get up in the morning but then half way through the day it gets sort of worse because not only am I frustrated that I can’t make more out of the day but I also start thinking about how soon this day will end and how little I would have accomplished only to have to attempt it all over again in less than 24 hours… this feeling sucks.

I know a lot of you feel this way too. So here’s my bit of wisdom thrown in with this too tired to talk attitude: it’s ok. Today can suck and tomorrow can suck too but one of these days it will be better and in that moment it really is worth the effort. I’ve learned that no matter how much I want to withdraw and hide from the world, I must resist the urge and take that first step. Simply saying hi to someone or taking a second to allow others in is a big part of recovery… It’s not easy but I really need to do that more…

So here’s the deal: when you feel at your lowest (so low that even your favourite artist can not make you smile) talk to someone… talk to a friend; talk to a colleague; talk to an old high school friend; talk to a cousin…. or talk to me.

We all feel so alone, yet we really aren’t. There are more people who suffer in silence than we realize and it is up to us to break that silence. So here I am, saying that my week sucked but writing this little post that someone might read some day and that might just give them a little bit of hope, this makes me feel a whole lot better.

Just sharing my view, hoping you’ll share yours too…

Be the change

It’s been a while since I’ve dedicated a post to Don’t Lose Your Grip (the charity my friend Chrisselle started) so I thought I’d give you guys an update.

Firstly, our website is currently experiencing some domain issues and therefor most people can’t access it but we’re working on it and will let you know when http://dontloseyourgrip/chrisselle.com is back in action.

But more importantly, we’re all doing really well and happy with the direction that Don’t Lose Your Grip is taking. But before I talk about the future dreams we have for DLYG, let me fill those of you in who haven’t heard of Don’t Lose Your Grip yet.

Basically a year and a half ago one of our close friends Lacey Crawford took her own life. Now I can sit here and list all of the reasons that lead to that moment that she felt so hopeless that she committed suicide but that’s not going to bring her back. So instead my dear friend Chrisselle Mowatt started this organization where we are trying to change the stigmas that promotes judgment. Every Monday at 8pm UK time we are using Twitter as a medium to discuss everything about self injury (aka cutting aka selfharm). On Tuesdays at 8pm we shift the topic to Eating Disorders including EDNOS and every Wednesday at 8pm it’s Mental Illness. Because eating disorders can be considered as a form of self injury and has mental health implications; because self injury is considered by some as a symptom of mental illness and because mental illness can include insomnia or depression which generally leads to a loss in apetite… well you get the point, it’s all very closely linked and some have even grouped it under mental wellbeing or mental health and for this reason we also have a combined #TopicsToDiscuss on twitter every Sunday starting at 12:00.

We ask the questions everyone else tip toes around; our amazing followers share their own real experiences and fears and the hope they have built up during their recovery. Basically we’re an over tweeting gigantic support group. And everyone is welcome as long as they agree not to judge… Trust me, we’re really good at standing together so play nice.

It can get pretty serious sometimes and that’s one of the reasons we also open up our direct message door to all of our followers. Sometimes it’s too hard to talk to the whole world and you just need 1 person to listen. There are so many people out there scared to get help; being turned away because they don’t fit the perfect criteria yet… no one sees that asking for help is not the first thought on our minds, it’s generally somewhere in the middle, somewhere after we have tried to convince ourselves that it’s not happening to us; that we spend years trying to deny the fact that we are in trouble before we build up the courage to ask for help… To be turned down at that point can be devastating! But life has evolved and we have this amazing new tool called ‘social networking’ and it’s about time we step up and use it for more than gossip or discussion about Justin Bieber’s hair…

You can’t be serious all the time though, I mean the world is depressing enough we need to find a way to focus on the positive. That is one of the reasons we do an #InspirationalSongOfTheDay competition every Sunday – Thursday where our followers nominate the songs that inspire them during the dark moments and the 5 finalists that they voted for goes onto a poll on our FaceBook page. Plus, music can help us express what we are feeling before we even know what exactly it is we are feeling. Music can bring a variety of people together like no other medium. Whatever you are going through: someone else has also been there and they probably wrote a song about it.

Seeing so many people connect to a song is the best way for us to prove that everyone out there suffering in silence are not alone. You are not alone! We have been there and it does get better…

We hope that we can use music one day to help raise money for charities dedicated to helping EVERYONE. We hope that one day we won’t need to schedule a conversation to allow people to discuss these very important issues with those around them. We hope that those who have received help will pass it on and support others who also need it. Basically, we still have faith in humanity and are tired of waiting for the world to change. You have to be the change you want to see in the world.

If you have ever suffered from an Eating Disorder or even so much as considered self harm or if a simple thing like getting out of bed in the morning feels like the hardest thing in the entire world to accomplish then you are very welcome to join our #DLYGfamily. If you’ve never personally experienced it but you’ve seen the signs in those you love, join our cause and show everyone suffering that you care and that you are aware. If all of this just seems too foreign or out of your comfort zone, then please join us and allow us to help you understand that these things do not define us, they are just a little part of us.

Today I’m not okay

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

I just don’t know if I know what to say

In all fairness I should be fine today

Nothing really logical about all of this

Yet I can’t keep the tears inside

My emotions: a rollercoaster I’m too tired to ride

But it finds me anyway, nowhere left to hide

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

Don’t know how to get this conversation underway

It’s been so long since you asked me if I was ok

I’d like to pretend I don’t really mean this

Maybe if I ignore my feelings they’d recede

Suppress and depress seem to be on the same speed

Scribble thoughts, crush them and throw away the seed

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

I’d like to sit here and pretend everything’s just gay

Somehow my imagination won’t let me stay

Have to face my demons; to deal with this

Can’t do this on my own this time

Been holding my head above water as I mime

‘I need help’ but can’t seem to ask out of rhyme

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

The veil of sanity I created can’t veto the doom ray

Ready to lighten the load right where I lay

Must start somewhere and the score is this

Incapable of letting it slide any longer

Have to fight my battles and hope I’ll get stronger

Please take my hand and show me how to conquer

 

I need you today because today I’m not ok…

Don’t Lose Your Grip Zimbabwe

Those of you who are crazy enough to read my blog on a regular basis will know that I moved to Zimbabwe this year because I’ve loved the amazing culture of hope since I was 12 years old. You’ll also be aware of Don’t Lose Your Grip and our friend Lacey Crawford.

For those of you who might have missed it: Don’t Lose Your Grip is a charity concert and fashion show aimed at raising money [along with much needed awareness] for eating disorders, self injury (aka cutting aka self harm) and mental health issues such as depression. We’re relying on Musicians to volunteer their music for a good cause and to help us show that charity really doesn’t have to be boring. Our models are ALL normal people who want to help us promote positive body image or simply those who are recovering from / trying to live with an eating disorder. DLYG is aimed at ending the judgement and rebuilding self confidence.

We live in a tough world where you are criticized for believing in yourself and told you are a failure because your hair is the wrong colour or your figure doesn’t resemble Barbie or whatever the latest super model’s name is. In Milan this year, they were using MEN to model WOMEN’s clothes!!! So now we’re supposed to look like men in order to look attractive?! Come on!! This mess the media and our society has created over the ‘perfect image’ is not just leading to total confusion and terribly dangerous eating habits, it is also causing a lot of self hate and building on existing depression.

Cutting, eating disorders and suicide, very different symptoms of the same problem are gaining on us. The problems being alienation and depression; the symptoms: cutting and suicide. Personally I don’t know one single person who does not at least know of 2 such victims. This is a global problem and we are ALL affected! Chrisselle started DLYG because she’s tired of seeing her friends suffer in silence and feel so helpless that they take their own life. And so am I!!!

That is how DLYG Zimbabwe was born. This global problem of ours needs our attention right now! I know that Zimbabwe has a lot of other issues that some may say take precedence and to some extend I agree but that doesn’t mean we can ignore mental health and wellbeing. If we are dumb enough to ignore these problems right now, it will lead to devastating affects we, as a country, have no means to defend against.

Living with disrupted power supply; limited communication with the world outside Zimbabwe unless you use technology from down South; driving down roads where there are more potholes than actual tar left; looking at fields that use to be known as Africa’s breadbasket only to see wild flowers and dirt there instead of maize; walking into any shop in the country and seeing the face of The Man who has forgotten what the word ‘president’ means and being the last of your family still remaining in a country most of the world has written off can be very depressing!! You cannot honestly tell me that you are not saddened by what you see. But the amazing thing about Zimbabwe is its people! The hope that exists in their hearts is second to none! Zimbabwe is a rich country not by monetary standards but by heart!

So I urge all of you, to stand with me and acknowledge that you see the person standing next to you; that you see their suffering [depression]; that you see their cries for help [cutting, eating disorders] and that you help me raise awareness so we can help each other.

Keep your faith in humanity strong,

AM

Hope for Zimbabwe

Ok, so there has been a lot of commotion ~ and rightfully so ~ about Egypt and the brave citizens who won the fight for freedom and got Mubarak to step down. However many in Africa are expecting more revolts like this to come.

I happen to live in one of the countries likely to be next: Zimbabwe. But here’s the thing, Zimbabwe is not Egypt and Mubarak is not Mugabe [the fact that both their names begin with ‘MU’ is probably all they have in common].

Egypt had 3 things going for them during these protests: firstly the eyes of the world were on them because they are seen as an investment-rich country and of course Al Jazeer was amazing throughout! The media kept reporting and found ways around being silenced. As many minerals and natural resources as Zim still have, they are too difficult to access at this point; therefore the world really has no reason to safeguard this country’s economy… Plus the media in this country is weak to say the least. I’m not really blaming the journalists but the government has people watching everywhere and consequences are more than just a stern warning or a broken hard drive. I might sound a tad paranoid but sadly these are the realities of our situation. If you’re wondering why we don’t just use the internet or sites like Twitter, then I need to remind you that Zimbabwe has serious issues with electricity as in: we rarely have it! Plus internet is so slow [not to mention extremely expensive] that most people who can actually afford a computer or even a phone just end up frustrated. Without access to media and a proper grapevine for the citizens of Zimbabwe to communicate, every unified attempt at a protest will be feeble.

Secondly, Egypt had the advantage of having the military and police on their side. In Zimbabwe it is not that clear cut. One of the biggest issues in Zimbabwe at the moment is their lack of self sustainability and fragile agriculture. This is in part due to harsh hot weather and low rainfalls but mostly it is due to the land-redistribution act. You can’t take farms that produce a third of the world’s maize and then just hand them to people who have never planted a seed in their lives, simply because they fought on the ‘right’ side of an old war. You can’t expect crops to just naturally do its thing if no one is actually looking after it. That was a bit long winded but what I’m getting at is: war veterans and friends of the MP’s were given lands that were taken from the country’s farmers. So these war veterans have been on Mugabe’s side all along and have managed to get the military so intertwined with government that it is hard to separate the two. Obviously as the self produced food is getting scarcer and inflation is going through the roof, the war veterans are regretting their choice. But not the ones high up because they are part of the government infrastructure and therefore getting cuts of the benefits. And even in the younger ranks you can see that these officers still have a sense of pride [there is nothing more powerful than African pride, not even Zimbo Hope] when guarding their president. Mugabe doesn’t even need to brainwash them, years of culture has done it for him. The military is too invested in Mugabe to allow any form of an uprising. Besides, a lot of those military hot shots will be held accountable for humanitarian crimes that were committed with their knowledge and by Mugabe’s government over the last few decades. They cannot risk someone else coming into power and messing with the lives they’ve built, so in the event of a revolution, they don’t really have an incentive to choose the people of their country.

The third thing is probably the most amazing reason why Egypt managed to pull together: a Tunisian guy named Mohammed Buoazizi [most people attribute the start of this African Revolt to his actions]. He set himself alight! Yes, he chose one of the most horrifying paths to death because he could not stand the circumstances he was faced with. He will go down in Egyptian [and African] history as a martyr. Don’t misunderstand me, I am in no way what so ever condoning suicide or suggesting that anyone take their own life in order to make a statement! Especially not in Zimbabwe. To be honest, if anyone comes to hear of someone doing the same in Zim, they probably wouldn’t believe it. If by chance they do believe it, most will label them a fool and be annoyed because now there is one less vote in the struggle. See, Zimbos are known for their unflinching hope and doing something like that would indicate that you have given up hope and defecate all that Zimbabweans hold dear. So how do you instantly get the world to pay attention? How do you pull at the heart strings of a nation and bound them in unity? Well, I don’t know… If I did, I would have done it by now.

I’m sorry if I sound like a pessimist, I really am not, ask anyone. I just don’t think it’s fair to assume that what worked for one people will work for another… it’s not that black and white. Life is more complicated than that and politics in Africa is a dangerous business. I don’t want to get into the violence and intimidation that have been taking place throughout Zimbabwe lately ~ I’ll leave that to the news ~ but there is a saying that goes: peaceful waters; deep laid grounds. Zimbabwe is a gorgeous country and all of its nature could easily fool you into thinking that all is right with the world. The birds merrily chirping, however, are not enough to mask the cries of pain from the voiceless people.

So how do we bring about a choice for Zimbabwe? Well if there are any real leaders, not just power hungry dictators who would like to be president: PLEASE speak up! For the rest of us here in Zim, don’t lose hope because that is the one thing they can only take if we are willing to part with it! Everyone else: keep us in your thoughts and if at any point during your day you get the opportunity [no matter how faint] to mention Zimbabwe, please do so! Please don’t be fooled by reports that all are fine and dandy, because it is not; it has not been for quite a while.

Keep us fresh in your minds and don’t forget that we are still not free… not free to choose and not free to stand up and be proud.

Please,

AM

Thought About It Once

So a lot of people have been talking about depression and suicide and how close they’ve come to ending it all. I know I’ve spoken about this before but the fact that so many people I barely know have come up to me in the last few days and just opened up, made me think it’s time for me to open up a bit more too.

Now I never actually got to the point of holding a gun to my head or buying those pills but mostly I think that’s due to my procrastination tendencies… Even when a few of my friends were discussing it in High School, I always brushed it off saying, sure I’d do it if I didn’t have to finish this project or have that meeting next week. It’s like I’ve always had more important things to do than take my life. I was always more concerned about the people I left behind and what they’d have to deal with if I wasn’t here… So I never quite managed to process the thought.

Besides, I always thought I’d never live to see my 19th birthday anyway… However, in London I had a lot of time [mostly on the trains and busses] to think and maybe only out of boredom I did derive a plan to fake my own death. It’s not exactly the same but it’s as close as I can get… Honestly I just love my life way too much to consider giving up on it. I wake up for the challenges and couldn’t imagine leaving the amazing people I share my days with.

However, there is a history of severe depression in my family. I only heard about this after my dad’s death, mostly because the family was concerned about my grandfather going in the same direction… Oddly none of those people ever worried about me or my dad’s brother sinking into a depressed state.

I was never an overly emotional child so laughing out loud wasn’t exactly a trait people associated with me but then again, I’ve always been an optimist so they never really saw me on my sad days. Being in London with my uncle brought up a lot of memories and we had a few discussions about how the weather can make a bad situation seem even worse and how giving up can seem so easy when you have the cold to use as an excuse for staying in bed. We made each other this promise to never stay in bed more than 20hours without calling the other. Just in case…

The hardest thing I’ve noticed about depression is that you usually don’t even realize you’re depressed until it gets to the point where you’re too upset to leave the safety of your bed and getting a drink of water seems like too much of an effort so instead you just go back to your shattered dreams.

I had s while in London when I really couldn’t figure out what I was still doing there and my pillow became my best friend. But one of my house mates wouldn’t let me sulk and crawl into my dark corner. I didn’t make it easy for him! I’m one of those people who could stay inside my room for a week without letting in fresh air. So he really had to work hard to get me out of my concrete bubble, luckily for me he didn’t take ‘No’ for an answer… He got me to do things I forgot I liked. We made memories I will cherish to my old age and according to him, he did it to save himself.

Apparently he was struggling to find meaning to life and ready to give up but the fact that I took time at work to talk to him and expect more from him than just the bare minimum, made him want to spend time with me and return the favour. He saved both our lives with a bucket of KFC and the Leon Schuster DVD Collection.

I don’t know what to say to anyone contemplating taking their life or even someone who is self mutilating. Who am I to judge them or their lives anyway… But I do know the thoughts that use to run through my head 24/7. I also know how tough the world can be and what it’s like to be so overwhelmed by depression that you feel utter alone even when you are surrounded by love. When dark clouds prevent you from seeing the hope, there will be one person who forces their way into your life and won’t leave until you can stand on your own two feet again, no matter how many times you push them away.

If you don’t have at least one person in your life that’ll be willing to drag you out of bed and take you to a rock concert when all you want to do is die, then make it happen! Find that someone; reach out to the people in your life or if you don’t think you can muster that, then give me shout on Twitter @am_mf or reach out to the people from TWLOHA

Everyone deserves to feel special! Go find people who let you know that you are their entire world and when you do, don’t let them go. Share the love!

Sharing my view,

AM

Testing Trust

When I was 7 we moved to the other side of the country so for my 8th birthday I didn’t want to invite any of my new school friends. My logic being that back in those days parents invited kids who invited their children to parties, so if I invited those I considered friends, they would feel obligated to invite me and I would have no way of knowing which of them were truly my friends. So I spent the day with one amazing friend who also happened to live behind us. I never doubted that we were friends and will love her for the rest of my life.

Every year for about a week before my birthday I’d turn into a total bitch and to ensure that those who were still around on my birthday must be my real friends. Yeah, I know that’s pretty pathetic and manipulative but I was a weird kid so… When I was about 14 I realized how psychotic this behaviour was and I felt comfortable with the friends I had so I actively tried not to be that way but when I started cracking, I just made sure they knew how insane their friend was. Being the amazing friends they were they just laughed at me and pretended that it was perfectly normal.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because I think we’re all trying to trust. We’re always trying to ensure that we won’t let ourselves down; that the people around us are supportive and if everything goes up in smoke we’ll have someone to rely on. Sometimes we test their trust… sometimes we push them just to make sure that they won’t go anywhere. Well I stopped doing that and I completely believed that every single person in my life were deserving of my love and trust and then 2 of them completely blindsided me and 3years later I’m still trying to recover from the damage they did to me…

But thinking about it now, there is no way I would go back and un-trust them… To be honest I’d still believe them if they told me that they love me; I’d still believe every lie they ever told because once upon a time I saw something pure and amazing in them and if I stop believing in that- even though I can’t see it right now- then I’d be giving up on one of the things that makes me ‘me’. So yeah they messed me up and I still have some serious trust issues but I won’t let their mistakes haunt me for the rest of my life.

I know I deserve more than that and right now I have people in my life who are willing to give me everything I’m worth, I just have to let them… I’m done testing their trust; I’m just going to trust.

Sharing my view,

AM

One Country

So for those of you keeping up with my life and the people in it, I thought you’d like to know that JS’s parents got their farm back! The two main reasons for this are that the Land Grabbers are idiots and the War Vet’s are most certainly not!

Basically the War Veterans are smart enough to know that they need people who can farm the land in order to produce food otherwise they might all starve… They loved JS’s grandfather and his family because they looked after the people who worked on their farm, always! The family also worked just as hard as the people they employ and they won’t expect anything from them that they aren’t willing to sacrifice themselves. So basically the War Vets appreciated this family’s effort and the blood and sweat that went into it. So when these Land Grabbers walked in and decided to take [without consulting the War Veterans] well, let’s just say they were not exactly happy!

After several meetings and protests in Harare at the Land Office and with the War Vets Association, those Land Grabbers were brought to the forefront. Besides the fact that this guy already took 3 other farms and ran them straight into the ground; he doesn’t qualify for land redistribution… he just has some friends in high places who really didn’t like the close relationship this family has with their employees and other War Vets. The Land Office had no choice but to revoke the ruling and give the farm back to the family. The Land Grabbers will also be brought up on charges but their main concern at the moment is derived by the looks they are receiving from the War Vets.

You see, these War Veterans fought for their country and risked their lives. They spent their younger years in training so never had the opportunity to build a business or get land, so the government rightfully wants to give them land. Unfortunately this comes at the price of the farmers who spent their youth working the land or ironically fighting in the same war… just not on the same side. As much as these War Veterans would like a piece of land to call their own and to give to their children one day, they are smart enough to know that they don’t all posses the skills to run a farm. They are perfectly content with working on a farm where they are taken care of and can help produce much needed food for their country.

That is exactly why these Land Grabbers annoy them so much! These Land Grabbers don’t deserve anything! Most of them are too young to have even been in the war! And now they just want to take for the sake of taking. They don’t want anyone to have anything- over looking how hard these people worked to get it in the first place. And to make it worse, when they get the land handed to them on a silver platter, they just let nature take its course and nature can be vicious! They don’t know how to plan and they have no idea what they’re doing and what’s worse is they don’t care… They just don’t care that people are starving! People they went to school with; people they sit in church with! They just want the status and to hell with the rest.

The problem is knowing the difference between Land Grabbers and War Veterans… This is the part that most news networks never pick up on, because they’re not here… they don’t know the people here and they don’t understand the country… Truth is I barely do and I grew up seeing it from a distance and hearing about it over dinner my whole life. I appreciate what the War Veterans Association has done and I’m glad the Land Grabbers won’t just get away with it.

I think it is really important to realize that this isn’t a one sided story. The War Veterans had a tough life; the farmers did what they thought was right their entire lives and now these Land Grabbers just want to walk in and rip off both parties. People in this country are not blind! They don’t miss a thing; they can see what is good for the future of the country, even when the government can’t. They are realizing that fighting among each other is only giving the government more power over them. Since the government officials [corrupt ones of course] are the ones enabling the Land Grabbers, it is becoming increasingly clear to the War Veterans and the farmers that they need to be on the same side: the side of the country! The very thing they went to war for in the first place…

It’s not easy to stand up and say that you now choose to be on the same side as the people you once fought during a war… but it is even harder to see opportunistic bastards destroy your country. The balance in Zimbabwe is switching and new alliances are being formed and the old stereo types are losing its value. Slowly hope is returning to people who have had to endure far more than most of us will ever be able to comprehend.

These people aren’t fighting against anything, for the first time in a really long time, they are fighting for something: their country! This makes me smile.

Sharing my view,

AM

I see you

Since the release of P!nk and Dave Meyers’ F***in’ Perfect music video, there has been a lot of talk involving suicide and the sheer hopelessness many people feel every day.

Unfortunately we live in a world where practically no one can say that they have never known someone who contemplated giving up on life. We live in a time when there is so much pressure, not just from the outside world but even from the family who’s suppose to be your corner stone during times of doubt. And what’s worse is the pressure we place on ourselves… you rarely hear someone say: “I’m awesome!” and actually mean it and in the unlikely event that they do, we tend to label them as arrogant and obnoxious. It’s almost like we designed the world so that we can’t win.

Then one day a musician takes the time to look at her fans and see that they are terrified; terrified of being no one; terrified of letting themselves down; terrified to let their true colours show. Instead of just ignoring it, this amazing person who has a great talent for writing and an even greater one for getting people to listen, decides to upset the apple cart once more: she writes a song about alienation and depression. She’s not arrogant enough to believe that she has a solution but she’s willing to give it a shot… Her goal: “That it promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion”. So far that’s exactly what’s happening!

In my final year of high school three of my six closest friends wanted to commit suicide. Actually to be fair the one guy was just severely depressed and refused to eat or move and he only talked about suicide. It’s that ‘only’ word that sends shivers down my spine. Like thinking about giving up on your life and yourself isn’t bad enough? Well it is! And believe me, I have spent many a day since then worrying about my friends because I missed ‘the signs’ the first time around and I said ‘only’. My friends who went a bit further than just thinking about it tried it, thankfully for us they didn’t know what they were doing so we found them in time but they still spent months [some of the best months of anyone’s life time] in hospitals and clinics. They still have to make that choice everyday: choose life. Every time they face a challenge they have flashbacks to that moment they felt so absolutely powerless that they couldn’t see any way out of it… And then they remember that they made it through. It wasn’t easy and this challenge ahead of them won’t be easy either but they’ve made it once so they can survive anything. When we talk about those years in High School now, they don’t remember the millions of little things that kept piling up on them, they remember us, their friends, huddling around them. They remember the strength they got from knowing that we are there for them.

It’s just sad that they couldn’t realize that we have always been there ready to tell them that they are amazing and a simple conversation with them about the weather would make us smile. It’s tough knowing that we came so close to losing our friends to the insecurities of feeling unseen and unheard. It’s something that has altered my perception of showing emotions: I always preferred being stoic and showing emotions only when I really had to but the fact that my best friend could be standing next to me laughing and joking one minute and attempt suicide the next shook me to the core. To think that behind that laugh was thoughts of feeling utterly alone and numb… Since that memory still haunts me, I now live by the rule that ‘I call them as I see them’. If I get even the slightest inkling that you are not 100% alright, then I’ll tell you that you’re fuckin’ perfect to me! Remind you that you make me feel more alive simply by allowing me to be in your presence. I still wonder if one line of approval or that one hug could have saved my friends this entire trauma… but we can’t dwell on the past, all we can do is help others walk a different path.

Loosing someone is never easy! Losing them to suicide or depression is a lot harder because the guilt is so much worse! We see so many friends and acquaintances every day and instead of telling them that their tie looks awesome or that their hair due brings out the blue in their eyes, we just walk by. We keep it to ourselves thinking they already know or that someone else will tell them. What if no one ever tells them? What if you could make their day simply by acknowledging that you notice them? In the traditional Zulu culture they don’t really have a word for ‘hello’ and if you translated what they use instead it would akin to “I see [the real] you”. They’re pretty much saying they see your spirit and the person you really are. So next time you think about walking past someone without a word, just think about seeing them and say hello. Let them know that they’re not alone and more importantly remind yourself that you are not alone!

A song and a video won’t reduce the number of suicide attempts but maybe the people who listen and watch them will.

Please,

AM

*If you or someone you know needs help, please visit TWLOHA

*If you ever want to talk the quickest way to reach me is through twitter @am_mf

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