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What We Need to Combat the Voice of Mental Illness


A dear Internet friend of mine intentionally overdosed, much as I can gather, but received emergency medical attention in time and, dear God, thank you, is now safe.

Though I cringe to write the word safe because this person, along with too many others, live a life saddled with mental difficulties. These emotional aberrations present a constant risk to the well-being of my dear Internet friend along with all others faced with this most unfair challenge.

But unfair is a stupid word. Because it suggests there’s a fair and there isn’t.

Let me step back and tell you a small bit of my story.

On one occasion, over a period of time, I developed a voice of thought. Not something external that could be picked up by my ears. But a voice of thought sharp with nothing but self-contempt. This is a voice of thought I’ve had since a kid, only it changed perspectives many times depending on the environment. 

Now let me give character to what makes this voice of thought different than other thoughts. It can continue on its own — I’m not able to stop it. It can be like a song that never leaves you. The song could be your favorite or a song you hate. But you’ve had it. The song plays on its own, and you can’t will it away no matter what you try. And if it’s a song you hate, you might try things like physically listening to a different song you like in hopes it’ll drive out the hated song. 

This voice thought would not be drowned out until it lead me to my most serious suicide attempt, which by sheer grace was disrupted by a parking lot cleaner who’d been running late that night.

Now I’ve argued with many this errant wiring that would allow such disruptive and incessant thought is not organic. It is environmentally derived and fostered. But I’ve been learning lately it can be nurtured by what would appear to be the most benign situation. And that behavior that may be deemed as shy, or hyper, or grumpy can actually be an eroding mindset laying faulty tracks for what will become a lifetime of mental “unfairness.” And safeguarding against this requires an attentiveness and awareness most humans just don’t possess.

Yes. These chronic mental hiccups that become the bane of our existence are also bred through gross abuse, mistreatment or neglect. And the apparent benign situation that gave birth to this unfairness only continues, in my humble opinion, through a fatal flaw in the family dynamic.

So what could be done for my friend that will prevent this from happening again?

I must be another voice; a voice of love, patience, caring, concern and reason. And I must do this even when I’m pushed away with vehemence. And it guarantees nothing. But it’s powerful enough to create a chance.

If you pray, please pray for my friend. If you are as my friend or myself, please pray for me and you as well. If you don’t pray then please use your power to love in whatever way you can.

 I’m happy my friend is alive. And I hope my friend is OK.

 I hope we’re all OK.

A version of this post originally appeared on @life_man.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.