The Hardest Days

Tomorrow and the next day are two of the hardest days of the year for me.

July 10th and 11th might just be days of the week to most people. Until five years ago, they were just two more summer days to me. To my family.

Five years ago, on a warm Thursday evening, my brother waved goodnight to me and walked upstairs to his room where he typed a final letter to his estranged wife and hung himself in his closet while I slept in the room right across the hall.

The next morning I found him after a co-worker had come to check on him.

Those 24 hours changed my life beyond any other single event. In one act, numerous peoples’ lives changed. I lost my brother, one of my closest friends. My sister lost her hero, as did my young son. My step father lost his first born, the son that was most like him. A brother, an uncle, a nephew, a friend, a grandson, a lover- all were lost to us.

My brother had been battling a dark depression fed by the break up of his marriage. Though just days earlier he had promised to not harm himself and we had thought he was maybe coming back to us, he still took his life.

Depression and mental illness can be crippling. So often we look okay on the outside without ever giving clues to the battle being waged in our minds. We don’t want to look weak, we don’t want to bother our loved ones, we think we can handle it ourselves.

WE CAN’T.

It is NOT weak to reach out, it’s a sign of strength to realize that this is not a battle that should be fought alone. It is NOT a bother to your friends and family. They love you and WANT to help, they just need to know you want help.

WE CANNOT BATTLE DEPRESSION ALONE.

Nor do we have to. There are hotlines and agencies that can help if you feel like you have no one.

From the very bottom of my heart, I beg you to reach out. Don’t leave your family like my brother did. I’m here to tell you, it’s not better without him. I miss him each and every day with a bone deep ache. He’s missed births and family events. He won’t be there for my wedding, instead there will just be an empty chair where he should be. He won’t get to see my son go on to join the Air Force just like his favorite uncle. He’ll never get to hold the babies he so desperately wanted to father.

All because he listened to those lies that depression spread within his mind.

Please, if you’re battling with depression or mental illness, REACH OUT. You are not alone. We’re here to help.

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6 thoughts on “The Hardest Days

  1. I’m so sorry about the loss of your brother. I know that is an ache that will never go away. I’m sure you made his brief life much sweeter than it would have otherwise been. I know he loves you.

  2. *hugs* I know losing your brother has had a profound impact on your life and the lives of those around you. I can’t even imagine the pain of a loss like that. This post made me cry. It’s such an important message though. Depression lies. Help can be hard to find. But someone WILL miss each one of us when we’re gone.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so sorry of your loss. You are so right about reaching out. I have been in this dark hole since Christmas Eve and my Mother in Law tells me that everyone thinks I’m severely depressed. I simply said “No Shit…I lost my best friend and sister.” I was pushing everyone away and I got used to my little black hole…nobody could hurt me there. Well then I became sick and battled that for a month and some days thought “Why fight…I could see my sis again.” Well I’m not sure what happened, maybe Misty slapped me in my sleep but I said enough is enough. I have a husband and three kids who needed me back so I told the doc I think I’m depressed. He put me back on my hormone and wanted to see if that would help. Which it has and I’m finally crawling out of my hole and I know my sis is probably throwing a party. If I hadn’t asked for help or talked to someone I’m afraid to know what would have happened.

    1. Amy- I’m so glad you reached out. Depression is a hard battle, it should never be battled alone. Misty helped me battle mine and I’m sure she was the slap upside your head. If you ever need to talk, I’m ever only a text or call away.

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