When I was young you didn’t hear about suicide or depression, and if you did hear about it there was a stigma attached to the person and family. People got angry and tend to distance themselves from the survivors. When Mark, a family friend killed himself we were angry, we were angry at him. We didn’t and couldn’t understand why he would give up so easily. He seemed to always be happy and helpful, he had his moments but for the most part we thought he was “normal”. Then just out of the blue, he was dead.
I think about the grieving process we all went through, it was different than any other death I’ve experienced. The anger was real, but my (our) understanding or should I say our lack of knowledge about depression and suicide was also real. The thing is, it took many years to realize how ignorant we were. It took Jesse, my brother in law to lose his battle of depression. It took him for me to realize this is a real disease; this is a battle, a war many face daily. This is not a selfish weak issue. Depression is a serious and real war that many are loosing their life to.
I went through a period of depression when I first got sick with autoimmune diseases. I know that black hole, but my black hole wasn’t the same black hole that many who fight depression experience. Jesse, may his soul be at peace now, felt suicide was the only option for him. That breaks my heart. His pain was real, it was no ones fault, it wasn’t even his.
But there are solutions. Awareness. Depression Acknowledgement. Remove the Stigmas. Make it ok to admit one has depression. Get rid of the “suck it up” statements.
Our family has never been the same since Jesse died. Our family has been torn not in two but threes and then some. We have a wound in our soul that hasn’t been healed in 8 years. Every day I think of him, his wife (my sister) , their children, his family. Our family. And every day I wish that last time I saw him I didn’t treat him the way I did. None of us knew his battles, he had smile that covered his pain, and he had an arrogance that hid his torment.
This is why we walk.
In the past few years there have been celebrity suicides highlighting mental disorders and depression. There have also been a few cases of animal world suicides that haven’t had the light shined on them. Animal caretakers experience a lot of compassion fatigue, we are a compassionate and passionate bunch and forget to fill our cup. This does not help the war of depression.
This is why we walk.
For Jesse, my sister, their family, his family. For our friends that have lost the battle, for the animal caretakers, for those that fight the daily battle of depression. For you and your family.
We walk to get rid of the Stigma. We walk to raise awareness. We walk for Suicide Prevention.
There is hope, but there is a lot of work to do. I hope to do just a little bit in this walk. JenLovesPets has a fundraising team in San Diego’s Out of the Darkness Walk. We would like to invite all to join our team. If you aren’t able to walk but would like to fundraise, please join our team as a virtual walker. If you prefer to donate, please do. We would like to beat our goal, which I may be increasing, by October 20th. You can click on the link below then go to our Roster and pick the fundraiser’s account you would like to donate to then follow the directions.
If you have a loved one that you would like honored by adding their name to the JenLovesPets ‘ t-shirt (on the back under “JenLovesPets Walks For:” please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me their story. We would like to honor those loved ones we’ve lost to suicide.
I know this is an unconventional blog for pet services and have thought twice about doing it. My family has experienced awful loss and I have experienced a mild form of depression which led me to creating this awesome Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business. Pets saved me. Unfortunately the pet world too has experienced losses due to suicide. I don’t understand why or how, but depression has become an epidemic. We walk to prevent it. I blog to stop it. Just a little piece I can do. I hope to make even just a small difference.
Please join us. We walk on October 27th from 830am-12pm. If you can’t join us please donate and all please share this blog! I appreciate and would be honored if you would like to share a story in the comments.