Dear Uncle

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE – this is a very personal story, thank you for being here.


Dear Uncle,

I was only 4 when you left this earth buy the work of your own hands, but I remember you.  I remember you how you wouldn’t let me play with your yo-yo out of fear that I would destroy it.  I remember being on the top bunk with you on the bottom and hanging over the edge to talk to you.  I remember kicking your butt at CandyLand and you being very annoyed that you were beat by a small child.  I looked up to you, you were amazing.

I also remember you laying facedown on the barn floor, not breathing, not moving.  I remember everyone being so sad, and all I could say was “Uncle (name) shot dead by gun” over and over.  There were sirens, there were tears.  I was shuttled off to Nana and Papas house.  

Your Mom, my Grandma was with me when we discovered you.  We had just gotten home from somewhere and I wanted to see my Uncle, so we went to find you…and you were physically there and spiritually gone.

There was no note.  We do not know why you felt the need to take your own life, but I hope that wherever you are that you have no more pain, and that you are truly free.

Love, Alyssa

What comes to mind when you hear the word suicide? Many people say its selfish, insane, dumb, a sin, and things of that nature.  I think its a symptom of a much larger problem.  We spend so much time focusing on physical wellness, and not enough time on mental wellness.  Society sees depression and anxiety as a weakness, and not as something that deserves just as much treatment as any physical illness.  Even insurance companies do not like to cover mental health services or medications. 

This is all bullshit.  I personally see a therapist to help deal with life.  The first time I was in a counselors office (that I remember) I was 8 years old.  Finding your Uncle dead at a young age does mess you up a bit.  I don’t recall ever being formally diagnosed with PTSD until I was an adult. I have had my struggles with depression and anxiety, and yes even thinking that life is not worth living, and feeling that I am not worthy of love. I know that none of that is true on a logical level, but when depression has a hold on you, it clouds everything.  

Sharing our true feelings is frowned upon.  We are programmed to respond to “how are you?” with “I’m good, and you?” instead of talking about how we are truly doing.  If I ever ask you how you’re doing, I want the truth.  If your day sucks…tell me.  I want you to talk about it.  

We need to break the stigma of mental health help being only for the “broken” we can all use help to stay mentally well, just as much as we get help to stay physically well.  This looks different for everyone.  In my case I see a talk therapist, and I have recently started doing some biofeedback.  I am not ashamed that I am doing all I can to stay mentally healthy.

Its also okay to not be okay.  Its okay to seek help when you are struggling.  Its okay to feel your feelings, yes, even the bad ones.  

Life is not easy, but it is worth living to the fullest.  On the days that I am struggling I make a list of the things that I am grateful for, and focus on them.  I mentally list all of the people that I care about and those that I know care about me.  I think of all of the happy adventures that I have ever been on.  I dwell in the positive as much as I can until the feelings of being worthless go away.  On days that I am really struggling, I pick up the phone and call one of those people that are on the mental list of people that care,  and talk about my feelings, that is what friends are for.  We need to be there to build one another up. 

I am still doing the work daily to battle the effects of PTSD from this and other events that I have not been ready to write about yet (at least publicly) but its all worth it.  Waking up each morning is a blessing, even the mornings that I smash a glass, and a flower pot all before 7am (today…ooops) and cry because I feel like some sort of failure for being so damn clumsy.  Things get better.  Sometimes slowly, but they can get better.  

If you are having a rough time, seek help. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They can get you connected with the help you need to keep on living your life, because YOU ARE WORTH IT and YOU ARE IMPORTANT.





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