This blog is a tribute to my big sister, Elizabeth, who died of suicide on October 13, 2013. She was 26 years old.
My sister’s depression consumed her like cancer. It was unbearably defeating, frustrating and excruciating to watch her drown under the weight of depression with no way of saving her.
The only way I can meaningfully pay tribute to her life is by helping others struggling with mental illness and the families who are trying to save them. It all starts with ending the stigma through honesty and vulnerability, which is what this blog is about. So many people are fighting for their lives and hiding behind masks because of the stigma society has created around getting help for serious, life-threatening mental disorders. It would be outrageous to refuse help for a broken leg, yet it is so common to refuse help for a broken neurological pattern in our brain. The pain we face, whether mental or physical, is very much real and requires the exact same attention.
“Globally, more than 70% of people with mental illness receive no treatment from health care staff. Evidence suggests that factors of treatment avoidance include:
1) lack of knowledge to identify features of mental illnesses
2) ignorance about how to access treatment
3) prejudice against people who have mental illness
4) expectation of discrimination against people diagnosed with mental illness.”
Since Elizabeth’s death, writing has become my refuge, therapy and closest companion. I encourage anyone who is going through any kind of mental anguish to write and release those thoughts from your head. It can be the most powerful tool for recovery and healing.
This blog has turned into exactly that for me; it’s a place to empty my mind for others to read and find comfort in knowing they are not alone. It’s about self-discovery, embracing our humanness, and figuring out how we can become the most mentally healthy version of ourselves.
Elizabeth’s death has pushed me into finding a bigger purpose in life. It has caused me to ask questions I may have never asked myself. It has guided me towards a more meaningful and connected existence because it has shown me the very thin line between life and death. I’ve realised what makes me really, truly happy is developing deep connections with other people, encouraging them, and helping them out of the darkness. I love people, they are my favourite animals.
Life is a journey and everything that happens in our lives teaches us something. There are always things to learn and discover, no matter how old we get. I’m here to share what I know to be true with whoever wants to listen.
I’m here if you ever want to talk. I’d love to hear from you.