I'm in a club no one wants to be in and one I never thought I would be part of.
My mother committed suicide the day before Thanksgiving last year. She suffered from clinical depression her entire life, and ever since I can remember, she was on a mission to manage it. My sisters, my dad, and I saw her turn to self-help books, therapy, antidepressants, vitamin D supplements, and salt rock lamps, and she worked out religiously to release endorphins over the years to battle her depression. My mom never threatened suicide, not once. The more I think about it, the more I realize that she didn't want to worry us—she always put her family first.
Almost six months later, I still have panic attacks about the way she ended her life—by shotgun. Later we learned that she had even looked up how to ingest rat poison. Those who want to kill themselves will find a way. It's as if clinical depression warped her brain the last few months of her life. Mom wasn't Mom that day.
Something else that has struck me throughout this journey is that some of my closest friends had no clue she was depressed. If you saw her in the grocery store, at my sporting events, or at my wedding, you would have seen her bubbly spirit and contagious laughter spreading like wildfire. I never really spoke about my mom's depression growing up because I never truly believed it would spiral out of control. I always felt so lucky ... my sisters and I had wonderful parents with a roof over our heads and food on the table each night. Who was I to complain?
If you saw her in the grocery store, at my sporting events, or at my wedding, you would have seen her bubbly spirit and contagious laughter spreading like wildfire.
The reality is that clinical depression can be life threatening and can escalate very quickly. So quickly you might not realize what's happening until it's too late. Talking about my mom's depression over the years probably wouldn’t have stopped this. However, talking about it now can help someone else in a similar situation understand that he or she isn’t alone.
My Option B is @joyforjan. I've started an Instagram and Facebook vlog that serves as a daily reminder to seek joy in the ordinary and help those grieving find a sparkle of light, especially during the hard moments. It won't bring my mom back, but it might reach the right person on the right day.