Every year, as dependable as my every breath, another loved one of mine that I encountered in my rewarding work with NAMI can no longer handle the pain of their illness and makes the choice to end their suffering. Always by way of suicide but it is the mental illness that kills them. So there is really no stigma. Because the pain of the illness, while not outwardly visual, is felt to the center of your core. It is like end stage cancer – only it looks so normal. But the brain is riddled with disease.
That’s the bastard that mental illness is. It takes every piece of spirit away from you. Your joy of life, your will to live, your instinct to press forward. It wears you out. You become a shadow of your former self. And while your physical body remains intact and can often look unscathed, inside you ache. Your heart breaks. You feel blood curse through your veins but you no longer feel alive. You look up to the heavens and you see the stars. You can feel the breeze and be aware of your surroundings. But you are dull. You are confused. Your spirit has left you and for whatever odd reason, you feel something you have never felt before. You have no hope. And that doesn’t make you sad. It just makes you numb to the point where your senses are convoluted.
You can’t ever know such pain and fortunately, many will bypass the highway to hell of severe depression. It is most certainly chemically induced and our brains haven’t been studied enough for us to know where to turn except to the rudimentary treatments available in pharmaceutical land. It is like shopping at a market where the selection is limited, unappealing and often creates worse side effects. There are no good choices but you are forced to put all of your fear and faith into the one basket a physician thinks is your best chance.
Can you imagine trying every possible drug combination, finding that none of them work. That your suicidal thoughts persist. You cry endlessly but you don’t know why. You are paralyzed in bed or laying on a sofa. You envision thoughts of how to best end