The hardest post I have ever written

My friend J. committed suicide tonight. We were together until 9 pm and by 9:30, he was gone.

He was the person I mention on my last post. I was the last friend to see him alive.

I feel perplexed, in disbelief and numb. Right now, as I write this, I am listening to one of his favorite bands, Pearl Jam. It’s comforting. It’s like we are still together. I am still in shock so J’m sorry if I ramble.

We were close friends, I have so many good memories of him. He was that bohemian, dreamer friend. He was kind, funny and cultured. We enjoyed walking on the beach and going to random cafés. He was a tango dancer, he just loved it.

As I write this, I keep thinking that he is alive and then I remember the traumatic event that happened yesterday. It’s a weird duality, knowing that someone is dead but forgetting about it. Only to realize, a few seconds later that it did happen, that he is no longer with us.

He was a tango dancer, he loved milongas and that scene. How I will miss him, he is a great loss for the world. He truly made the world a better place.

This could have been avoided, if only there was no mental health stigma. He had mood swings. Went from being very excited and happy, to being utterly depressed. He refused to see a psychiatrist or take medication. The stigma kills. Many people refuse to acknowledge that they have mental health conditions. They feel that doing that is accepting that they are a lesser person, that they are crazy. I’m in no way criticizing him. He had his own reality tunnel, like we all do. I wish I could’ve helped him see that there is no shame in taking medication or being diagnosed. I told him many times, when he was suffering, that he didn’t need to suffer like that. We need to put ourselves out there, for J. and other people with similar paths, and let people know that it’s okay to have a mental health condition. That it’s okay to ask for help. We need to change this paradigm. It’s slowly changing, I can see that. That gives me hope.

8 hours ago, we were having coffee and talking. We talked about life and death, oddly enough. I keep reliving those hours in my head, wondering if I said something that upset him. He said that he would go out with me after dinner, if my boyfriend was too tired. I wonder if we had gone out, would he still be alive. That is going to haunt me. It is already haunting me.

He was a free-spirit. There is something really wrong with this society that young, healthy people seal their fate this way.

I will miss him immensely. My dear companion of adventures and good days. My confidant and kindred spirit. One of the few people I know that would grab a backpack and travel to other places, completely alone. I admired his courage and independence.

In one of our last conversations, he told me he would love to go Buenos Aires and dance. I will picture him there. I will tell myself that he is in Buenos Aires, dancing with a beautiful South American girl.

Image by pixundfertig, courtesy of Pixabay.

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People with mental health conditions are not weak

I recently met a girl online, through a friend. She lives in another city. We have been discussing mental health and she said something that really grinds my gears. When people say you are weak for having a mental health condition (MHC). It infuriates me. I’m not weak and neither is anyone with an MHC.

You may find odd that I don’t say mental illness. I don’t like the sound of it, I think it’s a derogatory term that is also dehumanizing. It’s just like having a physical problem, only it’s in the mind. People react to things differently. We all have similarities and differences. We should respect our differences. Respect personal experiences we know nothing about.

Yes, I may be more sensitive and that is why I can overreact or be depressed for a few days about something. Isolate myself in order to not interact with anyone. Be avoidant. I have had many disappointments. I seek comfort in my space. I alienate myself but I can’t. I have to face things. I have started to take some steps in the right direction. Working out, seeing a therapist, waking up early. I still have to work on going to bed early haha. What I do and because my life allows me to do it at the moment, is take a nap in the afternoon to compensate for what I didn’t sleep at night.

People with an MHC are strong, they go through a lot. They have to overcome many obstacles, many things that people take for granted. Like being able to go outside anytime you want. Or going to a crowded place. People that hear voices have trouble falling asleep as the voices keep waking them up and scaring them. People with OCD have certain patterns and things they must do, in order to feel okay. And we still go out and do things. Against ourselves, struggling but we still make it. That should be respected and cherished. But it’s not. We are outcasts, invisible, forgotten, overlooked. Only truly amazing people see the good in us. See how we struggle and how we’re trying to do what we have to do.

I found these articles:

People Are Either Mentally Strong or Mentally Weak

There aren’t two categories of people – the mentally strong and the mentally weak. Instead, everyone possesses mental strength to some degree and we all have the ability to become stronger. Just like you have to keep working out to stay physically strong, mental strength requires ongoing exercise and practice.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201501/the-5-biggest-myths-about-mental-strength

Society often gives the message that displaying emotions or asking for help is weak. Well, society’s message is just plain wrong and ridiculous. Society needs some therapy. It is incredibly brave to get help. Some of the most courageous, inspiring, badass people I know have mental health conditions, got treatment and rock at their lives.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-griffin/6-reasons-why-people-with-mental-illnesses-are-strong-not-weak_b_9204122.html

I think most of the world’s problems is not respecting differences. Being afraid of people with an MHC is not helpful. I believe that the problem is society and our fears to be shamed or associated with people that are deemed weak or a misfit. Unless we find really compassionate and patient people that stick with us or we are left struggling alone or even being criticized by peers and family members. That is why online communities are important. We share what we are comfortable with, meet new people (in a less difficult way than it is in real life). We support each other. Some are struggling, some are feeling better and want to help others. There’s no need to feel alienated, there are people like you here and in other communities.

You are strong, you are beautiful.

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We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses and we are fighting for change. Focus on that and, slowly but surely, as more and more people are affected by it, mentalities will change. This is what I believe in.

Image by Tumisu, courtesy of Pixabay.