By now you've heard, rocker Chris Cornell hung himself. If you're a gen-x'er, like I am, you're probably stilling wondering what led him to suicide. You know, what was the final straw?
Or, maybe you're someone living with depression, also like me, and you have a pretty good idea of what was going on in his head and that a "final straw" isn't necessary.
Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes a person can seemingly have everything one could ever want, but inside they feel like a failure or a fraud. Sometimes nothing goes right, like, for decades. Sometimes past traumas or a broken heart haunt folks.
Life is a cruel bitch, we know this. For those who choose to end their lives, they don't need a "final straw." My guess is that they've simply run out of hope that things will improve in their world. They've had enough. They need a break.
The idea to give up on life might even pop into your head from time to time. It's an unfunny trick damaged psyches play on us sometimes, reminding you: "You could stop, you can end the pain, suicide is always an option."
For someone fresh out of hope, for someone who has bottomed out on loneliness, for someone who feels like they're a burden, their brain may even convince them that life will be better for everyone if they take their exit.
Well, listen to me: your brain is misfiring, and it's wrong.
Brains that are working properly are not self-destructive, they're into self-preservation. If you kill yourself you will not spare or unburden people, you will, instead, transfer your pain load to others. And that's an asshole thing to do.
The problem is that the politicians and bureaucratic types in this state and country are such ginormous assholes that it's difficult to see how things could get better sometimes. I get it.
Take, for example, the recent finding by North Carolina state auditor Beth Wood that our state's largest state-funded mental health managed care company, Cardinal Innovations, receives nearly $600 million annually in state Medicaid funding and has had the bad habit of spending a large quantity of that money "making lavish expenditures on things such as cars, credit cards, parties, travel and bonuses for employees," according to a report in on NorthCarolinaHealthNews.org.
Their debauchery and greed in the face of rising suicide rates in this state is disgusting. According to the Center for Disease Control, North Carolina's suicide rate has been creeping up for decades. As of 2016, nearly 14 in every 100,000 deaths in this state are due to suicide.
It's not like there was much money for mental health services before. In 2015, the N.C. General Assembly, in its ongoing quest to make certain we realize they don't give a shit about us, cut a whopping $110 million from the state's budget for regional mental health services. And that was on top of the cuts experienced during the Great Recession.
So, as usual, it's up to us to save ourselves. No one else can do it for you, but you can do it.
However, and this sucks, if you don't have health insurance it will be even more difficult to get help. But you can do it, and you do deserve your best efforts; don't doubt that.
For those of you with health insurance, get thyself to therapy; that is an order. If you were looking for a sign this is it. You owe it to yourself and everyone in your life to try to understand your brain and to do your utmost to pull yourself out of your depression.
Take micro-baby steps. That's cool. Just get to therapy.
For those with and without health insurance, here's the best advice from me and others like me (thank you Facebook friends!) who must fight our brain chemicals: Do something other than what you're currently doing. Exercise helps. Sunshine helps. Talking things out helps. Art helps.
Depending on the person, antidepressants might help most — and you can drop your stigma right now because, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, one in six of you are already taking them, and that number rises if you're white.
Most old-school antidepressants are cheap, so even without insurance I know you can find $4 a month for a Walmart prescription.
If you are feeling suicidal, please, go do something. Anything. Really. Get up. Get out. Talk to people. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)). But don't succumb. I bet that if Chris Cornell was here today that he'd tell you that he regrets his decision. I am absolutely certain his children do.