Sunny SnoBall’s Hosts 3rd Suicide Prevention Fundraiser
So, I feel it necessary to caution you that this isn’t going to be all about food, but it’s important. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and there is a truly great event taking place in Chandler, right up the road from my house, at Sunny Snoballs on Saturday that I need you all to know about.
I need you to know for a few reasons. The first being that we have lost some really great artists in the last few years as a result of suicide. Second, I have lost a very significant person in my life because of suicide. And lastly, because I almost lost myself to suicide, three times.
I have battled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can recall. I remember taking pills before going to school, in the 7th grade. I remember taking pills before going out to a party in high school. I remember taking pills before I went to bed when I was in college. Thankfully, I wasn’t particularly efficient at it. I ended up in the hospital twice. There were conversations; conversations where I was informed that I had everything to live for, indictments of being selfish and just wanting attention. There were counseling sessions in which I was incapable to define or discover where it was all coming from. As an adult, I have a general sense of where it came from, but I also very firmly believe that a lot of it is chemical and could not have been “fixed” by a few more hugs or by a parent coming to one of my school functions.
Depression and anxiety, my afflictions, can lay quietly, dormant for many days, months and sometimes years. It’s like when the sky goes grey, the wind stops and things get eerily peaceful before a powerful storm. You realize that something is not quite right, but the sky isn’t falling. There’s no rain, no thunder, not even a flash of lightning. And suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere and with little provocation, there it is. That overwhelming sense of everything just being wrong. Everything you say is wrong. Everything you do, think and way that you react plays over and over in your head. Well, you should have said this. You certainly over-reacted there. What will people think? Looping over and over in your head, with each replay digging further and deeper into every insecurity you have, reaffirming that you’re not good enough and the fact that you ever thought that you were is laughable.
I have carried along for a time with minor struggles, which I tell myself aren’t even worth mentioning. But this past year, things got bad. Like, “I think I might be crazy” bad. Bad enough to stop me from going to events like I had in the past. Someone lashed out at me, in a very public forum, and all the work that I had done for so many years seemed as if it all was for not. Debilitating panic and anxiety attacks were back. Staying in my pajamas all day, losing the passion I had for my job, for my life, for myself. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Life can be sunshine and unicorns one day and one negative word, look or comment can bring it all crashing down. It snowballs to the point that you can’s even remember when you felt okay, normal, real.
I’ve worked hard in the last few months to get back to me, and I think I have done a really remarkable job thanks to love and support of my family and friends. But some individuals are not that lucky. We hear about a celebrity or notable community member taking their life and then you start to hear about what a selfish act it was. On the surface, it seems as though it is. But all is not what it seems. When you’re in the thick of a depression that all-encompassing the suffering is oppressive. You feel as though you are bringing everyone down, that you are making everyone’s life as tragic as you feel, that they will absolutely be better off without you. The pain, pain that is far more than a case of the blues or a gloomy cloud over your head, is so overwhelming and relentless that it fills every corner of your brain and you would do anything to escape it.
My reason for sharing something so incredibly personal? On my website about food and food news?
- You’re still reading this. So somehow, some way the message has resonated with you.
- Social media is not always reality. I can take a ton of happy, smiley photos with my family or capture a moment where I am all dolled up at an event with fellow writers, but that’s never going to convey what’s going on internally. No one has it as together as they appear to online.
- It’s important. It’s important to remove the shame and stigma from mental health issues. Much like having blue eyes or being left handed, its not something that you choose. Its not something that you can resolve to not have anymore. It looks different on everyone (search for #faceofdepression on Instagram) and just because we’re smiling that doesn’t mean that we are “okay.”
If you have a similar story, or know someone that has struggles with depression or has committed or attempted suicide, I implore you to educate yourself on the signs and how you can help. One way that you can do that is to visit Sunny SnoBalls anytime from 1pm until 6pm on Saturday, September 30th for their 3rd American Foundation for Suicide Prevention fundraiser. You’ll be able to meet some amazing people working to remove the stigma and help prevent suicide by education and outreach. 20 percent of all the sales will go directly to AFSP. Stop by, start a conversation and be equipped with the power to save someone’s life.
Sunny SnoBalls | 980 E. Pecos Road | Chandler | 85225 | 480.786.9582