Why We Should Talk More About Suicide (Even If It’s Hard)

phone

When I was younger, I had a secret relationship. I was 12 when the boy from the English Public school started phoning me, a French Catholic girl, every single Sunday, for almost a year. He’d call me and we would talk for hours and I’d twirl the curly plastic phone cord between my fingers. If I ran into him at the hockey arena with my friends, he’d be ice cold and pretend not to know me. At first our secret “phone relationship” felt exciting. Eventually, as with many things done in secret, it left me feeling unworthy.

My childhood was fraught with “English vs French” sentiments, which played out at the local coffee shops and playgrounds in our small northern Canadian town. It’s a strange leftover tension from battles fought long ago, as if on a cellular level we just couldn’t let go of our ancestors’ baggage. Ours was not exactly a Romeo & Juliet romance. Mainly because we were 12 year olds and I’m pretty sure no one would have died if we had lived out our “crush” in public. Still, our backgrounds felt like a barrier and we hid because of it. Eventually he stopped calling and I moved on.

I often wonder what it was about that relationship that was so entangling for me? Was it the secrecy of it? Was it that he was such a popular boy in our small town? But, the truth is, things that are lived in secret eventually become a thorn. I remember after a while dreading his Sunday evening calls but somehow never giving myself permission to refuse to take the phone. I remember feeling trapped because it was exciting but also discouraging to only be admired in secret. I remember that the secret part of it became the most un-fun part of it.

Today is world suicide prevention day. I found myself in the principal’s office, talking about this painful subject. We got through the conversation, both emotional and struggling to wade through the murky waters of what suicide meant for both of us. I was a bit clumsy at first. But man, I would rather be clumsy than hide. I would rather feel awkward than safe. So we talked it through. And, we both agreed. This thing called suicide is complicated, and hard, and painful. You guys. Suicide is a hard thing to talk about. But it’s so necessary. So we shined a big bright light on it by talking about it and exposing it. One conversation at a time.

I still can’t believe how hard it was. But I just knew that when I walked out of that office, we’d conquered another small piece of the shadows where this thing called suicide hides.

It would mean the world to me if you could shine a light on the subject of suicide too? Because, unlike my 12 year old self’s forbidden romance story, people we love do die when suicide is kept hidden.

Let’s do this. 

#worldsuicidepreventionday

** I’d love to hear how you’re shining a light on this in the comments <3

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/58871905@N03/6066015622″>Touch me and I end up singing</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a
href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Stop hiding (and other things a TV news crew can teach you).

I learned a hard lesson yesterday: Always be prepared for a TV news crew! You just never know when a reporter will stop you in the mall to ask you about your back-to-school shopping on the day before school starts. The reporter who asked me about my shopping adventures was young and sweet. I felt old and tired and clumsy answering her questions. I was guarded when she asked about cost and time because I might have to reveal how many kids I actually have. The fact that I have 7 kids makes me stick out like a sore thumb and on this day, I was really trying to blend in. Additionally, I didn’t really want people to know how much I had spent on getting my kids ready for school or how many crazy trips we’d made to stores, always forgetting something and having to go back!  . But, the questions-and the data in my answers-begged an explanation. So, reluctantly, I revealed my secret. “We have lots of kids. 7 kids.” I felt awkward and unprepared and strangely vulnerable.

Plus, I didn’t have any make up on.

And, I’d put off tweezing my eyebrows.

I would have done so much more to prepare to be on TV.

hiding

It’s ok, I told myself. Only my grandparents will see me on the local news. Yeah, I was wrong about that. Soon my Facebook feed was aglow with comments and messages about my short-lived fame. I didn’t have the courage to watch it. Because, no make-up. I called it a boring, awkward interview. Funny thing, no one else did.

The reality is you can’t always be prepared for a TV news crew.

In the same way, you can’t always be prepared for opportunities, dreams, creative inspiration or the many ways life calls us out of our comfort zones. Sometimes you just have to let these things take your hand and lead you onward. Make-up-less, un-tweezed, vulnerable. Otherwise you’ll spend your whole life staring at yourself in the mirror, hiding in a corner, avoiding the TV news crew, trying to blend in.

Some of my favourite hiding places have included: my kitchen (because I can stay there undetected by people outside my house), my small northern town (this one makes for great excuses about why I can’t do this or that), my insecurities (we’ve been together all my life), my past failures and current fears. In their own way, each of these hiding places made me feel sheltered, less vulnerable, safely hidden. The truth is they were keeping me small, stifled, stagnant and a part of me was suffocating there.

The real lesson I learned yesterday was that, when the news crew asks for an interview and you feel your heart start to pound, it’s a sign. No, it’s an invitation. To come out of hiding. To do the interview. To leave the comfort of your kitchen and the comfort of all your comfort zones for that matter. No one benefits from your hiding, least of all you.

You can do it. I just did when I hit “publish” on this post (and I didn’t realize it then but that’s what I was doing when I agreed to that interview).

Let’s come out of hiding, shall we?

I’d love to hear your stories of coming out of hiding in the comments!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44538772@N00/300631598″>If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take
chances</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>