People who suffer from bipolar disorder or depression deal with a silent killer. That silent killer is the potential that suicide might one day take their life. As someone who has battled this silent killer for years, I know how hard the struggle can be each day. I call it a silent killer because it seems that is the best way to describe it because many people suffer in silence without getting help. Even in these times mental illness is still something that people feel ashamed of and don't reach out for help.
I guess there have been so many suicides reported lately that I am concerned we are not any better off than we were a decade ago. Last month I found out about the suicide of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson. He had spoken out often about his battle with depression and now we are left without another talented person. I just read on the news today that former NHL player, Rick Rypien, took his own life on Monday. He had battled with depression for over a decade. Also on Monday reality star of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong found her estranged husband Russel Armstrong dead. He had hung himself after dealing with a difficult divorce, being in the media spotlight for alleged spousal abuse, and financial pressure. While I am an advocate against violence against women because I survived an abusive marriage I still am a huge advocate of preserving life. The thing that struck me about about all of these suicides is that they all told people in their lives that they were "fine" the last time they spoke to them.
The key to warding off the silent killer of suicide is to have a support system that knows you very well and can tell when you are not "fine" and just giving lip service. My family members know me so well now that they know a tone in my voice that gives away my depression. While not everyone has as much support as I do I would encourage anyone that suffers from depression to find some type of support that they can reach out to when they feel suicidal. Mental illness should be treated just like any other medical condition and there is still so much more that needs to be done to make treatment equal to any other health conditions.
Patrick Kennedy is a key person that is trying to push for more research on the human brain. As his late uncle President John F. Kennedy pushed for moonshot, he calls this his new "moonshot" into inner space. In 2008 he pushed to have mental illness health insurance coverage the same as all health conditions. Kennedy also wants to push for the medical community to create a detailed map of the brain so that we can better understand mental illness and have better treatment. I believe this is a good step in the right direction but so much more needs to be done before we lose even more talented people. I don't just mean celebrities. I mean someones mom, or your next door neighbor. There are so many lives that are devastated after suicide kills and we should strive everyday to keep that tragedy from happening.