Just Praying Won’t Help
I’m a spiritual person, was brought up in the church and I believe in the power of prayer. Sometimes, however, you just can’t pray your issues away. Dr. Harrison brought up a very valid point. No one tells someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer to just pray about it and it will go away. It wouldn’t even be a thought. They would say go to chemo or radiation and rely on medicinal help to beat cancer. If someone breaks their leg, we wouldn’t tell them to just pray through the pain and they will be totally healed. Well, when your mind is broken or sick, it is absolutely no different. You can pray while you see a psychologist, psychiatrist, or any other mental health provider that will help you repair your mind.
Dr. Harrison said we need to get to a point where we completely remove the stigma; so much so, that when we ask a person how he is doing, he will be totally comfortable saying, “I thought about killing myself today.” Our response, without any judgment, should be, “what can I do to help?” People don’t feel comfortable completely expressing themselves because they’re afraid of the response and that fear keeps that person stuck on “isolation island.” Removal of the stigma must be universally accepted, so everyone feels okay with saying, “I’m not okay.”
We Are Pack Animals
She also explained that humans, by nature, are pack animals. This means we need that connection from other humans to thrive. We just aren’t meant to navigate this world alone. According to Dr. Harrison, when the brain goes through anxiety or depression, it convinces you that there are no other options. It convinces you that there is no help. It convinces you that you’ve somehow been kicked out the pack and it is all of our jobs to invite them back into the pack. We do that with nonjudgmental love, a listening ear, and letting people know it’s okay to say, “I’m not okay.”
Let’s all join forces to create a world where people can talk about their mental pain with as much transparency as they do their physical pain. If we don’t make people feel shameful for saying they have cancer, multiple sclerosis, or heart disease, we shouldn’t attach shame to someone saying they’ve felt/feel like killing themselves. As a matter of fact, removing that stigma will probably decrease suicide attempts.
So, if you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, feelings of depression and/or anxiety, or just overwhelming stress that you just don’t know how to label, we want you to know that this is a safe place. It’s a place where you can tell us exactly how you feel and be met with nonjudgmental love and support. We are all in this together and as long as we keep that mentality at the forefront of our minds, we can help remove the stigma associated with suicide.