Your Voice Has Potential, Share It Wisely

In the past year, two people I had known for decades and a third, the brother of a dear friend, committed suicide.

The immensity of the loss shared by these three families and all those who loved them can never be measured. Immeasurable will also be the questions that remain unanswered as is the pain that arrives with grief. Time is what will eventually supply the wounds of grief with the ability to heal and it is time that will provide what no words can do.

The issue of suicide, prevention, and the issues surrounding why so many choose to end their own lives, has recently been gaining attention; and rightfully so. Awareness and open discussion surrounding depression and mental illness will hopefully bring the topic, and all those who need help, from the darkness.

We all need to begin to accept responsibility in supporting those around us.

We all need to accept responsibility for our actions and how our words, behavior and ignorance affects others.

We all need to take time to lend an ear or shoulder to those in our lives who may need it now.

Turning a blind eye helps no one and is part of the problem.

No one is unaffected by this. We are all a part of the solution to help others and we are all a part of the problem if we fail to act.

As a brain tumor patient, of course I’ve struggled to cope with the diagnosis. I think there would be something wrong if I hadn’t struggled. Fortunately, those difficult and sometimes dark days have been few in number and I was blessed, by the grace of god, to somehow find a balance in my approach to coping with my diagnosis early on.

Having never struggled with depression, I can only imagine how debilitating it is, yet I know first hand how hurtful and harmful people can be when you’re least prepared to handle it and most in need of support.

For each crappy “friend”, who walked away; passed judgment on our decision to go after the tumor; couldn’t cope with our new normal; and told me that I…

needed to get over it and quit crying

in the early days; there were 5 old and new friends who stepped up to the plate and provided encouragement and support.

Do I wish I’d had the capacity to have a rebuttal when I was told “to get over it”? Of course I do. I recognize now how lucky I am that those hurtful people and their words didn’t send me over the edge to that lonely and desperate place where so many people find themselves.

Everyone deserves support. No one deserves to be judged. No one deserves to feel like they are alone. No one deserves to go on a difficult journey alone. Everyone deserves better.

Regardless of what your path may be, whether it’s a journey as a patient fighting an illness or disease like me; are fighting depression or mental illness; experiencing divorce or the loss of a loved one; struggling with sexual identity, hatred, bullying or discrimination; we should collectively stop hurting one another and begin to do a better job recognizing and supporting and respecting the lives of others as well as our own.

Respect should be found in not only our common interests and shared excitement for the joys in our lives, but respect should also be found among our differences and when life is most challenging.

In the spirit of Pay it Forward Friday, I hope you’ll think of those around you and consider for a moment the impact reaching out, offering support, lending a hand, listening to another’s fears and concerns and giving back to one another can have. It can be profound.

Think for a moment how powerful it could be to use your voice to help another find theirs; and what can come from sharing your heart so another can know they are loved and not lost.

The story behind the loss of my friend Laura’s brother Lucas to suicide can be found on her blog, Life After Normal. It is with great courage and strength that she shares her journey of healing.

16 thoughts on “Your Voice Has Potential, Share It Wisely

  1. A friend of mine Tweeted this and that’s how I found it.
    I have suffered from depression much of my life and it astounds me how many people fail to realise it’s an illness I have little if any control over. Someone on twitter commented that they didn’t have time to be depressed, my reply was that that was like saying they didn’t have time to have diabetes.
    I think that people recoil from serious illnesses as if they were catching or that somehow people have brought them on themselves; this last is often the case with people who have become brainwashed by the positive thinking Louise L Hay style of philosophy.
    Thank you for sharing this and I wish you every best wish for your life. Brave people need hugs and support sometimes more than the less courageous because they have given so much to others.

    • Viv, I wish you the best as well. You are supported and as I hope you know how brave and courageous you are as well. Best to you and cheers.

  2. What an awful mean person to tell you something so cruel when what they should be doing is giving you a hug. If they have got nothing nice to say they shouldn’t say anything at all (an old indian proverb).

    I am still shaking my head and reeling at their lack of compassion….you poor girl!

  3. Well said Jen… have a way with words unlike many!!! Thank you for your insight….I always enjoying reading it and then thinking about it.

  4. Well said Jen. Wise words we all need to hear more often. Thanks for putting them down so eloquently and sharing. So sorry for your friend Laura’s loss too.

  5. Jen, this is wise insight, as usual. I don’t follow many blogs, but of the ones I’ve read, yours always stands out as superior. I am so sorry to hear about the loss your friend is suffering… I think of you often and send you wishes for continued strength, perseverence, and that sense of humor which helps you get past the ignorance out there… Much love! Debbie (Karen’s Sister)

  6. Jenn- Your piece resonated deeply with me as just 2 hrs ago i was talking with Bruce about a friend’s depression. I was truly looking for a sign as to what to do next, and then bam– your blog arrived in my inbox. After I finish this note to you, I am going to contact her about our getting together this week. Thank you for the motivation to do this. I don’t think that I would have without your piece.
    -Alex Bacon

    • Alex, Your comment brought tears to my eyes. Best to you and thank you for all you have done for us. You are one of the Great Ones who have stood with us. Thank you.

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