By Kim Artlip, Columnist
I have a wonderful husband who supports me and only wants me to be happy and fulfilled in what I do. I have done so many things in my life and being a wrestling promoter has opened up a crazy wonderful world to me. I will soon run out of space in my office for all of the posters, photos and awards that I have won, so from the outside looking in my life is very very good.
But you don’t see me struggle every day with depression and anxiety, the tag team champions of the World Wrestling With Mental Illness Federation.
Depression isn’t something you snap out of. And, it’s not the same as simply being sad, or lazy because you don’t want to get up out of bed. It doesn’t mean you are seeking attention. I am one of 16 million adults who live with depression. I can go from being my normal self to being depressed in the blink of an eye.
But how do you ask for help, when you don’t even know how to explain what you’re going through to yourself? I didn’t know I was depressed; I just knew I either wanted to cry or sleep all the time. I felt like every decision was crushing me and I just didn’t know how to break out of the cycle.
I had begun to feel hopeless. I wanted to give up. I wanted to end my life.
I knew it had come down to either asking for help, or ending my life. But how do you tell the people you love most in the world that you want to end your life? I knew what I had to say; I just couldn’t find the words.
Finally I found the words and it gutted my husband to hear me say it but we knew that the depression, grief and anxiety that I was dealing with needed to be addressed and I needed help and support.
“Why didn’t they tell me?” is such a common refrain when we talk about suicide or mental health challenges in general. It’s easy to make this remark, because “tell someone” seems like a simple request. But in truth, it’s vague at best.
I know is that we need to remove the stigma from asking for help and talk about what that might look like, rather than pretending it’s a simple and intuitive thing to do.
Maybe then, we can reach people sooner. We can meet them more compassionately. And we can find better ways to support them.
So if you’re struggling but you don’t know what to say? I get it.
Let’s talk about it.
If you are reading this and you are contemplating suicide, then I know where you are. There is nothing I can do or say to make you feel better. But, if you can understand me through the pain, talking to a stranger is oddly comforting. If you can’t talk to a friend or family member then calling the suicide prevention lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is extremely helpful.
I’m not saying this cure you but talking about may take away your pain. But they WILL be there and they WILL listen to you. Even if all you have to say is silence, or sobs, or ranting wordless, nonsense. They will stay on the phone. They will not judge you and you are not encroaching on their time and/or life. They are literally there waiting for you to call. You can tell them anything. They won’t make you feel bad about it. They will just listen.
Reach out to someone. You don’t need to know them but they are there to listen and help you take the steps needed to fight this crushing feeling. I’m thinking of you and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Until next time, ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.
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