Earlier this month was suicide awareness week and I have some thoughts that have been heavy on my heart. I have been hesitant to write about suicide because I think it will stir up worry in those who know me. I hope my thoughts are clearly presented so you can see where my heart is.
Suicide is something I take extremely serious. In middle school I learned statistics about it and lost a few classmates over the years. I served at a bereavement camp a few years working with kids who had lost loved ones to all types of death, including suicide. In college, I took a class to know the signs of a suicidal person and how to talk to someone at a dark place in their life and do a suicide assessment. I even have strongly considered volunteering for the Crisis Call Center in Reno, but because of my Lyme I have been too low on energy. Suicide to me is not a social topic to avoid, but to confront and understand.
Before I was diagnosed, I learned about the staggering statistics of people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease and the high numbers of them who take their own lives (I wish I could remember where I learned it). I couldn’t understand how life could get so hard, but now I can say with all assurance, I get it. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the support I do. I am in a very healthy place in my life with understanding that I am very lucky to be going through my treatment with financial, emotional and spiritual support. Without this support I know it would be very easy to slip into a place of deep darkness. I feel for my fellow Lymies who do not have the support I have been blessed with. I hope to be supportive to those who have none to prevent someone from taking their life.
I read a post recently from a fellow Lymie, they said, “Please tell me I’m not the only one who has the Suicide Prevention line on speed dial.” The comments that followed were supportive and I commend those people who are reaching out.
Here’s what I have come to understand about the connection between Lyme and suicide…Lyme is not recognized by most doctors, many insurance companies, and is extremely controversial in the medical community. There is no clear cure for Lyme. Testing and treatment are expen$ive! Most people with Lyme can not maintain a job. Relationships are tested and many do not survive. Fighting Lyme is a marathon not a sprint. No one knows if the finish line will be four months away or ten years away. What works for one person likely will not work for someone else. It is complicated, frustrating and scary. The disease is painful. Mixing all this up over a period of time and it is a recipe for a person with Lyme disease, who feels awful, to see suicide as the only option.
Fortunately, there are organizations that want to help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/ 7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.
Suicide AWARENESS Voices of Education
Post Secret encourages people to send in their secrets via postcard or electronically through their app. Don’t keep your secrets to yourself. Get it out there. Confidentially. No one has to know it came from you, but please get it off your chest.
Thank you for reading…this blog has been weighing on me for a while…