My heart goes out to Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and all people struggling and sometimes losing their fight with depression, the invisible disease.
Before I recovered from active alcoholism and was properly treated for clinical depression, I spent years struggling with suicidal ideation. It started when I was 11 and relentlessly played in the background of my mind until my early 30s, sometimes at a quiet hum, other times screaming for attention. The pain was unbearable. The desire for relief outweighed any thoughts of the future. I’m grateful I had support from family and friends as I struggled to find the right combination of treatments to finally get relief from my depression. I know I am lucky to be alive. My personal background fuels my dedication to creating effective suicide prevention programs.
We know suicide is on the rise in every state nationwide. Depression and addiction are not the only contributing factors. Living in the face of hatred and oppression and other life circumstance can play a part. Regardless of what’s inspiring our thoughts, the message is clear: it remains taboo to talk about suicide. But, this issue is reaching epidemic proportions and silence can be deadly. We need to talk openly about surviving thoughts of suicide so others who may still be struggling know they aren’t alone, and if they hold on, they can find relief.
Research shows that celebrity suicides can inspire “copycats” or suicide contagion. At TMI Project, we feel it’s our responsibility to generate positive contagion through true storytelling. We know our personal stories have the power to eradicate stigma, take people out of isolation and inspire hope in others. In the wake of all the sad news last week, we are expanding our search for stories from LGBTQ people who have a personal story to tell about suicide. TMI Project and The Trevor Project are teaming up to bring a group, all expenses paid, to NYC in November for a memoir writing and storytelling workshop, which will culminate in a public presentation aimed at spreading the power of positive contagion.
If you have a story of survival and courage, join us. Inspire the next generation of young people to live their lives, no matter what the circumstances.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call one of the numbers below:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386
Mental Health Association in Ulster County: 845-339-9090
Co-founder & Executive Director, TMI Project