I don’t think I’ve talked about my baby brother that I lost last summer on my blog yet. He passed suddenly and unexpectedly. I will not go into details here, but he was only 26 years old. It was tragic.
If you’ve ever read my happyhealthyme blog page you know i’ve been fighting to get fit for awhile. You may also know I delete them every time I start over. Every time I feel as if I fail. As you know, I’m incredibly hard on myself.
This has a lot to do with depression and anxiety. I am clinically depressed. I also have clinical anxiety. I refuse medication. It just isn’t for me- but I am not against those using it who need to. I know my brother was at least clinically depressed. Based on some things of his that I’ve read since he passed I would venture to say there was a lot of anxiety, like I have, too.
We were cut from the same cloth you might say.
The first anniversary of his death was last month. I was reminded by one of his friends that during his life Bob had no idea how many people truly cared about him. How many people’s lives he touched. I mean this in no small statement. Hundreds of people showed up for his memorial service. Friends from all aspects of his life- from middle and high school- to college- and young adulthood. Even some of his regulars at the restaurant where he worked came. I received a number of personal messages from people that couldn’t make it. People still write on his wall. He left a huge hole.
What makes this so deeply sad is he never knew. He often felt very alone. He often felt left out. Sometimes he thought people planned things and purposely didn’t invite him. He felt as if he was the last one to find out about something- or was included as an after thought.
I understand. I often feel the same way. In fact I have struggled with feeling like this since middle school.
Depression and anxiety are no joke. Both diseases- yes mental diseases- are irrational. Both are hard to manage. They are not diseases that simply go away or can be conquered. They can be treated and managed. The amount of misinformation and misuse of words surrounding these diseases is numerous beyond belief.
The stigmas attached to mental health make people think that it is something that can be fixed.
Can be solved.
Can be made to go away.
It’s not true.
These stigmas also leave people unsure of how best to help. The absolute best thing you can do is to simply be there for a person. Ask them how they are doing. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help- even if the answer is no.
Check in on people you know suffer as often as you can. Life is busy- most often times those of us fighting and suffering don’t know what to say if we reach out. We don’t want to feel like we are burdening people with our problems. All we really want to know is that someone is out there. That someone cares about us. That we in fact are thought of and valued as people in your life.
I am not posting this to have people be concerned about me. I have very low days. I have come so far from where I was with this disease when it first started affecting my life sixteen years ago.
I AM posting this to make people more aware. To urge people to educate themselves.
To STOP the stigma.
If for nothing else than to keep my baby brother’s death from being in vain.
If you care about someone – let them know. If you have something to say- say it now.
There may not be a tomorrow.