** The topic(s) discussed below may be triggering for some readers. Please consider passing on this post or reading with a loved one if you are struggling. **
Happy hump day, friends and welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that your week has gotten off to a great start! My weekend consisted of the best country playlist, a lot of relaxation and loads of college baseball (War Eagle)…so basically all of my favorite things! Now I know I typically talk beauty, fashion and lifestyle here on Southern Lights, but today I wanted to hop on and talk about something that has been weighing heavy on my heart. The recent loss of 2 relatively high profile individuals has sparked a (much needed) conversation about suicide awareness and the need for “reaching out” when you need help; now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re FINALLY having this conversation, but I’m terribly sad that it’s us taken this long. If you’ve been around my corner of the internet for any length of time, you know that I am a HUGE advocate for mental health; I think it should be treated as willingly and with the same amount of care as our physical health. I cannot understand why someone would think that treating a heart condition or high blood pressure with medication is any different than treating a chemical imbalance in your brain with medication…I just don’t get it. The stigma that surrounds anxiety & depression (among other illnesses) make it hard for those who are struggling to reach out; I know, I’ve been there. We’ve certainly made progress but we still have a long way to go.
After the news broke about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, my timeline was FLOODED with posts about suicide awareness and reaching out for help when you need it; and as much as I (and everyone else) would like for it to be that simple, the reality is that it’s much, much harder. There are a variety of reasons why people don’t reach out for help and even though we mean well, our encouragement isn’t always enough. Think about it; if you’re an independent person who likes to complete tasks (whatever they may be) on your own without the help of outside sources, you won’t ask for help. You’ll take on unnecessary stress and stretch yourself beyond thin just to avoid “burdening” someone else by asking for their help. Now imagine for a second being clinically depressed or overly anxious and trying to reach out for help? It feels impossible. Sometimes the thought of talking to someone about how dark your thoughts have become is enough to cripple you with unimaginable fear. What if I’m bothering them? What if they judge me? What if they don’t understand? Unfortunately, as much as we try to be helpful in times of need, the stigma that surrounds mental illness can oftentimes encourage folks to run the other way.
I’m not saying this to be negative or to imply that you that you’re doing a bad job by sharing resources and asking people to reach out, I 100% encourage you to continue doing so. However, in addition to sharing that information with your loved ones, I would also encourage YOU to reach out. If there’s a friend that you haven’t heard from in a while, give them a call and check in. You wouldn’t believe how good it feels to hear from someone that you haven’t talked to in years…especially if they’re going through a hard time or feeling a little lost. Regardless of how it comes to be, if someone comes to you and indicates that they may need help, listen. Try to understand their pain and empathize with their experience. Offer whatever resources (numbers, names of professionals, etc.) you have and check in as often as you can. Life is hard and we are all doing the best that we can, but sometimes a little extra help is just the thing we need.
If you or someone you know is struggling, how can I help?! I will leave resources below in case you ever find yourself (or someone you know) needing them. But until next time, know that you are beautiful, inspiring and oh so worthy.