This past week we lost two widely-influential celebrities to suicide: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. On the surface these two figures appeared to be living the dream, right? They were successful, well-liked, and attractive. Why would they be depressed?
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: clinical depression is NOT situational. It is a mental illness. Don’t tell us we shouldn’t be depressed. Don’t diminish our valid feelings. Don’t make us feel like we are being selfish or unreasonable.
Don’t tell me that I don’t appreciate the gift of life. That there are people who are facing life-threatening illnesses who would give anything to trade lives with me. I know death. I was five when my dad died. I’m fully aware of how fleeting life is. That doesn’t make depression any easier. But, your empathy might.
Do love us.
Do say the world’s a better place with us in it.
In addition to these recent suicides, there are a lot of people upset about the news this week that 13 Reasons Why was renewed for a another season on Netflix. Do you know who’s complaining? It’s not those who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s people who are uncomfortable with the subject of suicide. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to see it. I’m sorry about your discomfort, but this is a reality.
And if we don’t talk about it, we lose lives.
One of the things that struck me the most in the latest season of the show was the parents having trouble finding a church that would host a funeral due to the “circumstances” (their daughter killed herself). This broke my heart.
Church, we need to learn to talk about mental illness.
If you have a story about mental illness—whether personal or concerning a loved one—please consider sharing your experience. Even if you aren’t at a place yet where you feel comfortable disclosing your name, the church body needs your voice. Let’s shine a light on the darkness, together.