When Suicide Is In Your Skin

Trigger for suicide, performance poem of mine.

Heavy subject today you guys, what do you do when suicide is in familial structure?

What do you do and what can you do and how do you protect yourself when mental illness is inherited?

I get asked a lot about my need to be a mental health advocate. Being a creature of suicidal survival, severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks, waiting eating disorders which I fight, and the list goes on and on, is just one of many reasons. Another is that fact both of my grandmas suffered severely from mental health issues and no one spoke about it.

I just wrote a poem dealing with my grandma in the mental institution and visiting her there as a kid. She had tried to take her life, failed, and we were visiting. No one looked her in the eye. Everyone tried to pretend she was having a bad case of the “blues” and that she’d be fine. She wasn’t, obviously, but we never faced the honest truth.

I have spent most of my life being aware I probably have some mental illnesses but they’re pretty maintained except my PTSD that can be activated at any time and other parts that aren’t so easy to turn off. The pandemic put my mental health in a garbage can with anxiety and I don’t know how I stay above the well water of depression.

I lied, I do, it’s a very strong support system of a man I love so damn dearly, friends I’ve acquired because of the pandemic, such as Kimberly Shaw, Marissa, Ma Dukes, Becca, Christine, and the names go on and on of friends I consider so near and dear to me. I can’t even probably put it on one page people I can reach out and they’ll reach back and say I get it.

I can’t tell you how many times me not being happy puts people at unease. I had to work hard to make parents happy that could snap at any moment at me. I loved them, but that was how it was as a child. Walking on eggshells, not sunshine. And it didn’t feel good.

I have always been told that I need to buck up with any sort of mental illness I’ve had. And, I finally have the support system that says hey, it’s okay to not be okay. We got you.

This is all to say I don’t know the answer to your genetics predisposing you to mental illness. I also have a hormonal disorder that puts my body out of whack for every possible thing imagined. Except that the support system is a huge thing to rely on when you just don’t have the strength to get up. They don’t need to tell you you’re going to be okay. Just sit in the darkness with you and let you know you’re not alone in this.

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