A recent Dear Abby post (from Tuesday, August 5, 2014) reminded me of something I wrote in That’s All I Got. The lady who wrote to Dear Abby mentioned that no one outside her immediate family knew she suffered from depression or a suicide attempt.
When Russ and I were dating and then married, we never shared the information about Russ’ mental illnesses with anyone in my family. We wanted Russ treated without judgement, as a regular person and not someone seen as a victim or a special case. This was our mutual decision.
After Russ died and the details started to emerge, I heard or maybe asked about why we didn’t tell and that maybe they could have helped. My first thought was: How? Can you take the illnesses away? When I gave the reason behind not telling, I heard, we wouldn’t have done that (meaning judged him based on him having bipolar disorder and auditory hallucinations). Really? It’s 2014, everyone is quick to judge. How many times have you heard about someone committing (completed is the correct term) suicide and thinking they’re crazy when in reality they suffered from a mental illness known or unknown to someone else. I used to do this myself until suicide affected me. Can you say the same? Do you want to?
Think about it. Don’t be quick to judge.