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The Power of “Me Too”

Giving Voice to Depression

 

This morning Sarah (Giving Voice to Depression’s social media goddess and watch guard) and I spent several hours at a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (My partner/sister/BFF Bridget joined us in spirit from many miles away.) We talked about our podcast, handed out inspirational messages (things we’ve posted on our FB page) and casually started discussions about depression and mental illness and suicide. We talked about it like it was normal. Because we’re trying to create understanding that with the right people, at the right time, it can (dare I use the word “should?”) be.

And it was amazing. And typical.

All you have to do is open the door the tiniest crack and people come pushing through it. People need to talk about their struggles, their pain, their loss. And those who aren’t ready to talk convey their story in non-verbal ways.

Like the beautiful, smiling young woman who asked me to put her temporary semicolon tattoo “right here,” as she pointed to the long,vertical scar down her wrist.   I applied the tattoo, gently touched her scar, and when she teared up, asked if she’d like a hug.  She did. As we embraced I whispered “You take care of your wonderful self.” She thanked me (in a tearful, genuine way) and walked off.

She was one of nearly 200 people on whom we applied tattoos. We chose that strategy to stimulate discussions/awareness, to keep people at our table for a minute longer so we could engage, and to offer the opportunity for physical touch as we applied them.

We heard stories of sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, friends and parents lost to suicide. Occasionally the  person shared in a near whisper. Others sported big photo-buttons of their loved ones, and shared at our table so that others gathered their would hear their story.

It is an honor to be trusted with people’s stories. It is also really hard because each one lands like a punch. Empathy leaves you vulnerable. But I wouldn’t want to to be any other way.

 

30 minutes of your life, that could save someone else’s

Giving Voice to Depression

If you have been touched by suicide, you know the pain, frustration, even guilt associated with thoughts like: “Were there signs we missed?” or “I wish there was something I could have done!”

Almost everyone involved with Giving Voice to Depression has lost a loved one to suicide. We are among the last people who would want to add to any voices making you feel you could or should (God, we hate that word!) have done Something Else. Something More.  You did what you did (or didn’t do what you didn’t do) based on what you thought and felt and knew and understood at the time. It’s our sincere hope you can release yourself from what one of our podcast guests called the “what-if prison.”

Our hope, with a series of podcasts we produced for Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, is that people will listen to these two episodes (one is 14-minutes long and one 16-minutes) and learn about warning signs, risk factors, how to start a conversation with someone who may be suicidal, what do to yourself, and who else to call in. Because the more we all know, the more we can all do to save the life of someone who is struggling! 

Please pass these along. Post them. Share them. Link to them. Whatever you can do to spread the word.