First Star I See Tonight...

"Do you know why I'm sad?" I asked her when she looked t me with those eyes of hers.  "No, mama," she said. "I just want to love you." I had plans today. Lists and To-Do's are part of my every day. Without a list filled with items one would expect to see of a freelance writer and mother, the utterly mundane fills the majority of the space. Even if I spaz and never get to the important stuff, I can at least feel like I got something done because sometime anything is better than nothing.

Sometimes I make it through the mundane. I brush my teeth. I workout. I shower. I get out of bed before breakfast becomes lunch and lunch pushes dinner into the bedtime.

And I delete as I move through my day, only to replace the item just deleted with four more reasons I'm never going to catch up with myself. If you're new here, I'm severely ADHD, which can be easily confused with bipolar disorder. I swing up and down with highs and lows, only to a lesser extreme, than a bipolar person. For me, depression has been an on and off and off an on part of my entire memory.

Today, between fielding calls from my mother in Michigan about her basement flooding and learning of Robin Williams' apparent suicide, I stopped moving forward.My kid and I ended the day with her reading to me from a fairy poetry as we snuggled in her bed. She had no idea why Mama was crying, but she didn't need to know and she didn't even ask. All she asked was for me to get into her bed because she wanted to love me.

My heart hurts. People will talk. They will guess and discuss and no one will walk away knowing more than they did when we learned Robin Williams has died of an apparent ssuicide. Some will say he took the easy way out. That he was a coward. That he was selfish for hurting those he left behind. None of this is true. His family and friends are lost in grief. The world will mourn the loss of a genius who made us laugh to distract himself from his own pain. The only lesson is that sometimes even the brightest stars aren't capable of recognizing the very light that keeps the darkness at bay for the rest of us.

When I was in college, I was hell-bent on destroying myself for a bit. I was promiscuous. I was bulimic, anorexic, extremely depressed and was up all night and slept through almost all of my classes for an entire semester. My friends tried to help, but I hadn't hit bottom yet in my emotional well. Until I did. With an entire bottle of Advil or Tylenol or whatever it was sitting on the desk in my dorm room. But then I got scared because sleeping and ignoring the sun is not the same as never having the chance to try again. Death is permanent. And I got scared.

Luckily, my boyfriend at the time was a nursing student and he got me to the ER, I drank charcoal, lied when I was asked if I was still feeling like hurting myself (because wanting to and following through are two different things), and was sent home.

Suicide is steeped in stigma and misunderstanding. Those who keep their pain so secret that a suicide attempt shocks even their closest confidants are the ones who the judgmental will refer to as selfish for not thinking of the loved ones left behind. Remarks will be made about if how they'd really been looking for something other than the easy way out, counseling probably would have been a fantastic idea.

And then we sit and wonder why so many suffer in silence when the answer is staring us straight in the face: it's not that not one single suicidal person has ever felt the need to call out for help. I was one of them. The problem, my friends, is that when we're so down that we honestly think we are doing the world a favor by ridding you of our presence, you tell us to cheer up, snap out of it, and expect the despair trapped inside of our heads to instantly be replaced with rainbows and unicorns.

That's not the way it works, but we know you don't understand. So we smile and nod and try to act like everything is okay because it's supposed to be. We have friends and family who love us or a great job or just graduated as valedictorian from high school. We're not supposed to feel like going to sleep and never waking up is a solution. For those of you who do not understand, I am glad. The kind of despair that led Robin Williams to his tragic end is not is by no means the fault of the depressed, nor is it a choice to be made. Depression just is.

And that fucking sucks.

Robin Williams' death has everyone talking. And a huge part of this conversation needs to focus on more than the often-mentioned connection between creativity and depression. My friend and suicide prevention advocate, Cristi Comes from Motherhood Unadorned, reminded me when she said that while she understands the media coverage surrounding Robin's death, the conversation simply cannot be dropped. Every fourteen minutes, we lose a loved one or a friend to suicide. To honor their memories  and keep the conversation going - I invite you to submit their name(s) here by emailing me at aspiringmama@gmail or tweeting me with your message at @pauline_campos. As soon as I am able, I will add a linky.

Don't Stop Talking.

1. Libano Castro, Father. 139-2002. Submitted by Joy Castro

2.  Martin Aguero, Friend. Submittted by Claudia M. Elizondo

3. Matthew Cox, Friend. Submitted by Christopher Ortleib

4. Wendy, aunt. submitted by Aubrey Ortega

5. Jeremy, friend. Submitted by Aubrey Ortega

Hug your loved ones. Hug yourself. Reach out, please, for help, before you try. Call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 . If you need to connect or just talk, I'm here. Tweet me. Email me. Aspiringmama@gmail.com.

Just don't close your eyes to your own light.