Feelings


I am unable to write a lot lately. My life has become rather complicated and messy for such a public forum, so I’m unsure of what to do with this page. While I’m figuring it out, I just had to do something for all of the feelings that have come up over the suicide of Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss this week.

I have always been a fan of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Twitch was awesome on that show, even though he didn’t win. He was so involved in many different seasons in many different capacities, it was evident he was a capable, respected, and creative person.

And he also seemed to have struggled with something massive.

He met his wife on that show, adopted her daughter and had two more kids and an amazingly stable and consistent career.

And he also seems to have had internal struggles.

He has been remembered by so many different professionals in entertainment, it is obvious he made an impact wherever he went and seemed to fill a room with his smile and calm charisma.

And he also, evidently, struggled with mental heath issues.

He maintained a marriage, his parents and family- immediate and extended – seem to still be intact throughout his 40 years. He seemed to enjoy being a parent and partner based on his social media accounts.

And he also struggled with mental health.

To someone with a family and friends and respect and success, it’s hard to fathom struggle. The answer after such an impactful and staggering loss is, “Reach out to your people. Check on them.” and “You never know what people are going through I guess.” But here’s the thing. There is no simple quick answer or explanation on how to prevent other tragedies. We don’t know that people didn’t reach out. If someone is that lost that they would have such a dark moment to focus all of their energy on planning and carrying out suicide, it seems a coffee and check in chat is not going to do it. We have to normalize mental health. We have to put effort and resources into holding people up that seek help. We have to make help readily available and accessible to anyone who needs it.

We have to talk about it.

Our family went through a lot during the Covid lock down, as did everyone. I realized that I was in need of help to maintain a semblance of positive forward momentum for my family and my own life. I was lucky enough to already have a therapist to speak to about this and she was able to help me find a reasonable solution. It seemed to work, and I’ve been on an antidepressant ever since. Thank goodness I did that because my life got even more turned upside down in the year since lockdown.

I have never in my life been suicidal – thankfully. I have, however, had times in my life when I’ve struggled with depression from the time I was a teenager until now at 46.

Life is hard. It’s harder for some than others. Seemingly easy obstacles for one seem insurmountable to another. We judge them. Both of them. The stubborn person who insists on doing things the hard way and independently, and the weak person who just can’t leave their bed to face an ordinary day.

Life is hard. And it’s hard for all of us. Regardless of privilege, status, success, romance, family situation. Life is hard.

We have to stop comparing our worth and tolerance to others. Something that is outwardly more difficult to deal with doesn’t mean that person is the only one that gets to feel burdened.

I am a cis gender middle-aged white woman with a husband and two healthy children. Does this mean I am not able to feel sorrow or get overwhelmed? Whether or not you approve or I allow it, it will still happen. Someone checking in on me is not going to get a tearful string of sorrow and cries for help from me in my darkest moments. We protect others from our dark moments because so many of us don’t want to be a burden. It’s impossible to carry the weight of your friends’ reality. We can share our own struggles so they don’t feel alone.

We have to talk openly about our own reality now more than ever when only the highlight reel is on display in the social fishbowl most of us live in.

Stop judging another person’s mental health reality based on what your struggles or catastrophes have been.

I am so incredibly sorry for his children that will never get answers, closure, or control over what effects this will have on their entire lives. I am so incredibly sad for his wife who I can only imagine must be feeling insurmountable sorrow and grief. The person you are supposed to be the closest to and trust the most was not able to rely on their partner, or offer any clues as to how deep and dark it was for him. He took away that chance she had to save him from himself by not speaking up.

It’s all awful and terrible. It’s amazing how much we all feel for someone none of us ever met. It’s incredibly reminiscent of Robin Williams.

To anyone out there suffering, find someone to speak to about it. You never know who you are helping by being honest about your own life. We can’t save people who don’t want to be saved, but if you let people know what you are coping with, it might crack a door open to have a conversation.

So many people cannot sit in an uncomfortable emotional space with another person. We all want to fix and control circumstances, but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes you have to just sit next to someone and witness the humongous disaster that is life from time to time.

I don’t know what any of the answers are, but I know that throwing out platitudes feels like an injustice to the tragedy of suicide. The impact it has seems infinite and widespread for something that is intended to end the suffering of a single person. Suicide never has a singular victim.

My heart is hurting for the entire tragedy and loss of such a bright light.

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