"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." - Emily Dickinson
My aim in telling this story is to help heal someone who needs to hear it's message. My uncle was a painter who I loved. It wasn't until after he took his own life that I was told about his clinical depression and how he suffered.
He would take pills, feel better, stop taking the pills, and feel worse again. It was a vicious and repeating cycle.
Depression wasn't just something he (or anyone else with the condition) can just "get over". It causes pain all through the body and exhaustion, too. Not to mention it's difficult for people to talk about because of the mental stigma attached to it. It's easier to discuss a broken leg or collarbone than it is to talk about illnesses of the mind because people are far more critical and condescending about mental ailments as if they're more easily preventable than a broken bone.
He created art and painted. I always hoped that one day he might be able to teach me how to paint, but that day never came.
I was thirteen and coming home from basketball practice when my father gave me the news that my uncle was dead. I remember that I wasn't hungry that night and I couldn't stop crying.
I used to write letters to my uncle and I have the last one he ever sent me - even though he passed away seventeen years ago; it is something that I will never let go of. I also have an edition of the Nutcracker he gave me as a gift that I will always treasure, too.
My uncle's letter told me to be relentless in the pursuit of my dreams and never to settle for anything less because I wouldn't be satisfied, otherwise. So I follow my dreams of writing with my whole heart pouring my heart and soul into every piece whether humorous, serious, horror, fantasy, poem, short story, article. My hope is to make my uncle proud.
It saddens me that he suffered alone because I never even knew of his struggle. He was always trying to encourage others and make others happy. I think he like Robin Williams is a perfect example of how people can seem to have a well put together life and be doing well, and then one day their demons speak more loudly to them than their angels.
I wish there was something I could have done to save him. I didn't realize how badly he was struggling. It's seventeen years later and I still think about him quite often.
So I urge you if you suffer please let someone know or talk to someone who can help you. Find some outlet to channel your pain if that helps: art, music, writing, sports, acting, whatever it is that you're passionate about. I urge you to realize that you are loved more than you will ever know and that in taking your own life that you would only be giving your pain to those who loved you. Life is hard for everyone, but you shouldn't be ashamed of asking for help.
If someone insults you for seeking help then let them go. They clearly aren't somebody you need in your life.
I also implore people to walk carefully and kindly into the lives of others. We never know what someone is struggling with on a day-to-day basis. Depression can hide very well and take from us our loved ones without us realizing their pain. We shouldn't make someone's struggle worse. Our words can heal and strengthen instead of simply curse or rip people down. We must all be careful with how we interact with others. Because in the end we all need someone to lean on. We cannot go it alone every day of our lives.
So let's be kinder than necessary and heal the world in love.
( Linda M. Crate is a writer based in the USA whose works have been published in numerous magazines both online and in print, and she hopes that her words and worlds heal others ).
The Beautiful Space-