Duct tape does not fix everything.

Related image

This morning The Husband and I were in the garden with grand plans to set up the irrigation system using last year’s hose. However, we are not using last year’s garden map. Why? Because it you are not supposed to plant tomatoes in the same soil. Micro crop rotation at work. Because the drip lines had to be moved we THOUGHT duct tape would hold over previous holes in the hose and it worked, for about a minute. But if there’s a hole, there’s pressure and if there’s pressure it’s going to leak. Maybe it’s just a drip or maybe it blows a hole between the tape seams and spews water. We spewed.

I tell you this story not to regale you with the life and times on the farm, but to illustrate what happens when we put duct tape on the problems. Given this week’s loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the difficult discussion of suicide cannot be glossed over or even soothed with farm anecdotes and Stella pics.

The sad truth is, depression and coping with suicide and the aftermath, too often get the duct tape approach. Social media is peppered with calls for mental healthcare reform. GREAT start! But that only covers one area of the problem. Reforming how mental health professionals treat the illness is the ass end of the problem. That only happens AFTER someone seeks or is forced to seek treatment.

We can’t legislate morality and compassion.

Laws and regulations won’t make us give a shit about our fellow man. Legislative action won’t make us and look beyond the smile of Robin Williams, the creativity of Kate Spade, the adventurous spirit of Chef Bourdain – the perfect lawn of our neighbor, the straight A’s of our kids and see the pain.

Now, EVERY person I know – limited as that number is – who suffers from depression has confessed to what great actors we all are. We’ve all hidden behind “I’m fine.” Those suffering from depression are MASTERS of “fine.” And fine is easy. Fine requires no more action from us.

Related image



Image result for you wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do

This famous quote is a double edged sword. It can be a source of great courage. Say if someone decided in their 40s or 50s or 60s to become an author and not just any author, but one in the most crowded genre, Romance. And for shits and giggles let’s collaborate, because three women can agree on a single goal….side one.

Side two, we as flawed and selfish human beings, in general, are so consumed with ourselves that we don’t think about others until the proverbial hose spews a leak, or someone famous or a cluster of someones famous take a hit. There’s not a pill for that. There’s not a test or law or duct tape for that failing.

People who take their own lives are fighting battles few of us can comprehend. That’s why it’s so shocking and so devastating. That’s why we ask, “why didn’t he/she reach out?” We may be able to empathize and sympathize with the physical and emotional pain, but most of us can’t truly know the black hopelessness where they see no light.

Image result for know better do better

It’s time for us to start DOING better.

It’s time for us to stop relying on the mentally ill to reach out – their pain is such they often cannot.

It’s time for us to stop believing someone is doing OK, because they are taking their meds or because they “seem so happy.”

It’s time for us to start taking care of each other and this includes those left with the aftermath of a suicide. Because more than one life is lost in that act. Suicide is a cluster bomb.

Let us not be guilty of putting duct tape on mental health this week, posting hotline numbers and motivational memes, and thoughts and prayers. Let this be our wake-up call to start giving a shit about each other. Let this be the resolution we keep – to ask and genuinely care, “How are you – REALLY?” And have the courage to demand and accept an answer beyond “fine.”

Image result for signs of depression in others

If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need. It’s important to take care of yourself when you are supporting someone through a difficult time, as this may stir up difficult emotions. If it does, please reach out for support yourself.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Understanding Survivors of Suicide Loss – Ways to Help a Survivor of Suicide Loss