TW: suicide, suicidal ideation
DJ Stephen (tWitch) Boss died by suicide by last week, and I read a quote about him by writer and pastor John Pavlovitz that has been stuck in my brain since.
“Those of us who live with chronic depression are never surprised when someone leaves prematurely. We know there is often zero correlation between a person’s outward appearance and their internal condition. We all perform.”
Damn. Nothing is truer than that statement. That’s why it’s so exhausting to have depression. It’s bad enough to experience fatigue, extreme sadness, apathy, energy loss and more — but a lot of us put on a show for others and that’s what’s so tiring. I know I do, and I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes I have to take an extra Adderall to get through a social event so I can “perform.” But then I break down. It’s too much. And it becomes too much for some people, unbearable. I don’t blame them. I’ve experienced suicidal ideation and actually had a plan. I don’t know know why tWitch decided to end his life, but I understand it. It gets so heavy at times.
It scares other people, so sometimes we put on a happy face. We don’t want to be a burden, always the one with a frown or tears, and sadly, our friends will go along with our performance, choosing to ignore the warning signs or our fake smiles. I understand that, too.
Sometimes it feels okay to pretend you’re fine because it’s hard for people without mental health conditions to understand. However, I would NEVER tell another peer to pretend or put on a performance for other people. It’s a slippery slope and leads to isolation and depression. So, please don’t do this. Always reach out to a friend or family member. If that’s not an option, call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It’s free and staffed 24/7. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are NEVER alone.
I get that it’s easier to hide behind a mask, but it’s only hurting ourselves. If our loved ones can’t handle a bad mood or depressive episode or two, that’s their problem. It’s too much work to feel okay when we don’t. It just adds fuel to the fire. I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m going to be honest and ditch the mask.
I hope you do, too. But if you don’t, I understand.
Take care of yourself, friends.