Listen with both ears and your entire heart.
This open letter is for anyone wiling to take a moment and read. Kerrie Cassidy lost her sister just a few weeks ago to suicide. Her sister, Shauna, has fought mental illness and depression for quite some time but recently lost the battle. God’s heart breaks for what breaks ours. Read Kerrie’s words and share with whomever you believe could benefit. Maybe her testimony is the tiny seed of hope you or someone you know needs.
“I’m normally too much of a cynic to put a status like this up on Facebook, because I feel that people do it for the wrong reasons. Last weekend, I lost a family member to depression. Words cannot begin to describe the feelings of sadness and helplessness that Shauna’s family and friends have gone through since her death. We had tried to get her to open up several times but she said she didn’t want to talk. I feel so guilty and angry (not at Shauna) that she felt that suicide was her only option.
The stigma that is associated with mental illness in Ireland needs to end now. Every year in Ireland, over 500 people die through suicide. 10 more families have gone through what we went through since Shauna passed. And 10 more the week after. Although mental health issues affect almost half of the population (directly and indirectly) it is still a taboo topic. If you had an operation, you’d show your friends your scars, if you had cancer, you wouldn’t refuse chemo because you were embarrassed. It’s okay not to be okay. Whether you’ve gone through an emotional trauma or are feeling depressed for no particular reason, suicide is never the answer. Suicide just prevents you from getting better. It ends everything. If you’re not ready to talk about it, go on medication until you are. It will help you see through the darkness and take the emptiness away. You are brave and you can manage this and as long as you can breathe you can recover.
I am far from an expert, but depression and anxiety is something that I have suffered with for over ten years, most of it in silence. I understand the feeling of not being able to bring yourself to be happy. Sometimes you can’t eat, sometimes you can’t sleep, and sometimes you can’t even move. Friends get mad at you because you don’t go out, you don’t respond to text messages because you can’t even hold a conversation. And you really want to go out and have fun, but your body just doesn’t allow you to. Something inside of you is forcing you to be down, and nobody else understands it. When you feel depressed, you cant even remember good memories â€" it clouds and changes everything. People ask you how can I help make you feel better and the frustrating thing is even you don’t know what you want or what will make you feel better. And the frustration builds and the words in your head that make you feel this way and make you hate the person you are just get louder. And all within a matter of moments it feels like you’re drowning. And everyone outside is just so loud and bright and all you want to do is lie in darkness.
I would give anything in this world to have one last conversation with Shauna, to try and change her mind and to show her that she could defeat this monster. Instead, I want to say this to anyone reading this status that is dealing with mental health issues and sees suicide as a solution. I am not a miracle worker, I can’t make the words go away or make you love yourself. I can’t turn back time and take away everything that has happened to you. I know it’s bright outside and I can’t do anything to dim the lights, but I have a room that we can hide in. We can make our own dark cave and I will wait with you until you are ready. We can talk or sit in silence. We can watch tv or you can shout and rage at me about how unfair it all is. Just call me or message me. Or call a friend. Do it now. I know you don’t think they do, but people will understand. There is help and there is hope. You are valued. You are loved. And you are wanted. While you feel like this, we are all here for you. When you are ready to leave this dark room, we will do it together.
Shauna, it was never said enough but we love you so much. You were always the brightest light in any room and our world is a little darker now that you’re gone. Aideen and I will miss you more than words can say. Like Rachel, you will always be in my heart.”
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I want to encourage you that next time you find yourself in a conversation with a friend or family member and you begin to feel uncomfortable or inadequate – trust God. Take a breath and pray that God will give you the words. It only takes a ‘mustard seed’ of faith to move mountains. This is a promise from God. Matthew 17:20