(September 21, 2009)

I have something coming up at the end of this week that is not going to be the most straight forward challenge to tackle. I’ve been invited to speak to a group of around twenty people who have lost a loved one to suicide. They’d like to hear from me what it’s like to live with a mental illness.

The thing I’m most worried about is how they will hear me. I don’t know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Will I be able to be sensitive to what they’re dealing with?

One thing for sure is that I will encourage them to talk to me as well. As a person who has considered suicide herself, I need to hear what it might be like for the people left behind were I to die that way. Perhaps we could get a discussion going.

Thinking about it now and considering where the people in this support group are at, I can see that taking your life is a selfish thing to do. And yet, self-centeredness can’t be helped when you’re in the midst of depression. The pain is so great, it’s hard to get past it.

What the people who I speak to can give me will be just as important as what I can give them I feel. I hope we will all be sensitive to each other. I hope understanding will grow.