I love a lot about Twitter, but perhaps its most magical element is that rare breath of unfiltered honesty that seems to reverberate throughout the digital sphere. I’ve read hundreds of stories this week from colleagues, old friends, icons, strangers who have been on the brink of death, reveal the exactly moment that made them pull back. A friend’s unexpected text, a call from Mom, the curious tilt of a dog’s head, the sound of laughter outside the window, the simple kindness of a grocer, the simple kindness of a neighbor, the simple kindness of a coworker, kindness, kindness, kindness...
Many have shared tragic stories of loved ones lost to suicide, how that propelled a deeper understanding of depression/mental health and how inexplicably nonsensical a trapped mind can be. Depression knows no sense, knows no political or economic bounds and if you look at the stats, the rates of suicide inside the upper middle class specifically are on the rise. In addition to examining the misunderstood realm of mental health, survivors and families of lost beloved began to study the societal/economic barriers to pure happiness and confidence we’ve put in place for ourselves. The through-the-roof expectations of our children and of ourselves (vocal or not), socially constructed norms of hyper-masculinity and femininity, a need to have done this and that by this age, institutionally emphasized racial and ethnic prejudice, the pain of the oppressed and the ignorance or guilt of the oppressor. The suffering beyond the borders, the burdens that continue to weigh on us until we lose all strength to go on. And yes, even the 24-hour news cycle that reminds us of all the bad all too often.
Now that we know, now that we’re becoming more aware, will we change? Will we smile at strangers and choose to ask our friends the questions we’ve been too afraid to ask? Will we put mental health research and treatment accessibility at the forefront? Will we reach across the invisible lines and man-made borders dividing us? Will we prioritize empathy and understanding over material accomplishment? Will we be kinder? For the sake of each other, I really fucking hope so.
Threads to read:
It’s been 6 years since I was barefoot on the railing of a bridge, in the rain, literally holding on by a pinky, just hoping I’d slip. I had beautiful kids. A loving family. Friends. A good job, great money. And here’s the damn fool truth of it:— JOSH RABY (@JoshRaby) June 8, 2018
For my own mental wellbeing, I’ve decided to take a break from most social media. But before I log off, I wanted to share some things that have helped me in navigating extreme sadness and hopelessness.— Katie Hawkins-Gaar (@katiehawk) June 9, 2018
The year after my dad died was so bad I don't remember 90% of it. I moved to a new apt and was unable to unpack. For MONTHS. I was ashamed I couldn't unpack. How can you be UNABLE to unpack? Just open the g.d. boxes. That was the year I cried for 19 days. Straight. /1— Sheila O'Malley (@sheilakathleen) June 8, 2018
1. My heart is broken. Anthony Bourdain was so good to me and a big reason I'm still doing what I'm doing. In January I fell into a deep depression for the first time in my life. Having never dealt with it in the past, I was unprepared. Tony helped me save myself 1 text at a time— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 8, 2018
In my deepest, darkest post-partum depression, I would have personally never called a phone number. If John or my doctor never reached out, I would have never even known. It really can be a lonely hole. Watch the people you love and don’t be afraid to speak up.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) June 8, 2018
Depression isn’t a form of sadness. It’s not something that goes away if you just think about how good you have it or how successful you are. You can’t positivity it away. It lies to you about yourself and eats you from the inside and tells you that you alone make things worse.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) June 8, 2018
In the wake of Kate Spade's death and now the news about Anthony Bourdain, I am reminded how very many creatives sit behind masks. There's what you show the outside world, because you are successful and that means you aren't really allowed to have problems anymore...— Marianne Kirby (@TheRotund) June 8, 2018
So many messages telling those who are struggling to reach out. Fair enough, but part of what depression does is mutes your ability to reach. If you are NOT depressed & you see someone struggling, YOU reach out. If you don’t see someone who used to be around, YOU reach out.— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) June 8, 2018