I was just thinking. You know, just thinking about the way you see life. I was thinking about the way I see things. I was thinking about the so-called wealthy or the fortunate. I was thinking about privileged and how with all of their advantages, they get sick too.
Cancer never asks about the size of anyone’s bank account. Heart disease doesn’t care if you come from the Westside or the East. Either way, chemistry is still chemistry. Covid killed both the wealthy and the poor. Skin color is skin color, race is race, and religion is religion. Meanwhile, no matter which God we pray to or even if we pray at all, health is still health and science is still science.
Something people fail to realize is that mental illness is like an equal opportunity employer. I can say that as someone who was deployed as a specialist to emergency rooms. I have seen people from all different backgrounds. I have seen the wealthy and the poor, the white and the black, Hispanic, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic or otherwise. Plus I have met with English speaking and non-English speaking patients. I have seen people that identify their gender differently from the typical male or female. I’ve met with people who were born here and people that were born in other countries.
I have met good people and bad people. And yes, I can say this. I can say that I’ve met good people who did bad things but deep down, they were good at heart. I can say that I’ve met bad people that did evil things; and I say this because of their remorseless lives. I say this because of their cold, monstrous path or the crimes they’ve committed. I can say that I have met with people that have habitually become criminal, which, perhaps this was only due to the reactions from being products of their environment. Either way, mental illness hits here too.
The one thing I have seen is that anyone and everyone can, does and will experience mental health or emotional challenges. Life does not discriminate, even if we do.
In the end, chemistry is still chemistry, science is still science. And sure, there are studies about mental health amongst different cultures. Either way, this is life.
Life happens to everyone. If I’ve said this once then I’ve said this at least a million times, the thing about life is no one gets out alive. Each and every one of us experience fear and loss or pain and frustration. We all go through heartaches of our own. We all see things that we wish we never saw.
No matter how silvery the spoon might be in someone’s mouth or how great the privilege may seem; depression does not care where you come from. Depression does not care how pretty you are, who you sleep with or how easy your life seems from the outside in. Mental health and emotional challenges hit each and every one of us.
There was a man that worked as a counselor. I can say that I knew him. He was a counselor that helped countless people. He helped people find their way in this world. Safe to say there was someone who, like me, was at the end of their rope and this man talked them off the ledge.
Meanwhile, he had demons of his own. He had his own battles to contend with. But yet, he looked like he had his life in order.
He always had the right answers. He knew how to encourage others. He knew what to do and what to say.
I remember the day he came in and stood before us to say goodbye. It turns out after a surgery, this man liked the pain meds too much. He was using his meds inappropriately. Put simply, decades away from his last drug run, this man found himself back in the saddle again. I heard this man never found his way back. But who knows?
As a matter of fact, I knew a specialist that was also deployed to hospital emergency rooms. I was there with him during a training class. We didn’t speak much but he was nice. He was kind. I am told that he was good at his job. He was both passionate and compassionate. I suppose no one ever believed they would find him in a park on a swing set with a needle in his arm, dead from an overdose.
I have seen people with picture perfect looks and picture perfect lives. And yet, beneath the pretty layers was an ugly void, which could never be filled. Sure, there were people on the sidelines asking, “What could be so bad about your life?”
“What could you possibly have to complain about?”
“How could someone like you be depressed?”
And that’s just it.
This is what people don’t seem to get.
No matter how someone tries; no matter what we have in our bank account or how many privileges, depression is an empty void. Depression is like a bottomless pit, which, no matter how you sift it, no matter how you try and placate the voices in your head; no matter what distractions we use, and no matter what substance we take to distract us from this; nothing fills this type of hole. No amount of company can solve the personal lonesomeness. There is no answer to the unanswerable questions such as “Why do I feel this way.”
Meanwhile, you just need a break. You just want the world to stop for a second and it’s like being on some crazy amusement ride that you want to get off of; only, there’s nothing amusing about this. This is why so many people choose a permanent solution to solve a temporary problem. Worldwide, someone commits suicide every 40 seconds.. This does not account for the attempts, which means the number is considerably troubling because there are people screaming out, and yet, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around to listen.
There was a man that once told me, “In the end, we all go in the same size box.” Rich or poor, white or black, this is true,” he said.
He was cold to the touch. He was someone with a history behind him and yet, there was a genius to him. I say this not because of his recovery from a former lifestyle. No, I say this because in spite of mental or emotional challenges; this man was truly brilliant.
I can answer this.
I can say that suicide does not think twice about where we come from. Depression does not take notice of our advantages. Depression degrades the value of everything around us; including us.
And yet, there are people that see themselves as fit to judge. Maybe they say, “Not in my house” or “Not in my backyard.” Maybe they point fingers and play judge or jury.
Maybe there are parents out there that say, “Not my son,” or “Not my daughter.” Maybe there are people who believe that “Might makes right,” or that status and the prestige means everything. A nice house, nice car, good looks and pretty clothes is not enough to cure illness.
If this were so, rich people would never die. Famous people would never die. The beautiful would inherit the earth. And if you ask me, this is still true.
The beautiful will inherit the earth. However, the term beauty is ever-expanding, ever-reaching, and ever-changing. Challenges do not take away from greatness nor does this devalue your beauty. We only seem to think they do.
For whichever reason, we often find ourselves caught up in riddles of shame. We’re caught up in the imperfections of the game. Moreover, we are caught up with the inaccurate perceptions we’ve been trained to believe.
Remember: Depression is a flaw in chemistry.
Oh, and something else to remember. The term crisis is relative. A crisis to me is only a crisis to me. This might be nothing to you. And then again, a crisis to you might seem like nothing to me. However, neither you nor I have the right to judge or degrade someone’s crisis. Besides, I’d rather be a friend and listen now than find out later that something bad happened.
So, from one friend to another, if something ever crosses your mind; or if you find yourself at the end of your rope; if you find yourself on the ledge or thinking about hurting yourself or hanging it up, just know that this:
I would rather listen to your story than see you in the hospital, or worse; see you at your grave.
Don’t believe me?
Try me then
Life is a choice.