“just mental illness”… Those were the words I said a couple of days ago to someone who I was talking with about my son’s death. We were discussing families and such and the subject came up naturally and I shared that I had lost my son last year. Unlike most people who I tell, she actually asked how he died. I was a bit taken aback and found myself stammering. I still have a hard time saying the words and there’s no easy way to tell someone that he killed himself. It feels like I’m hit with a sledge hammer when those words come out of my mouth. So I told her and she expressed her sympathy; then she asked another question. She asked me if, like so many other kids she has heard about lately, was he bullied; was that why he killed himself.
I was more than a little stunned as no one ever asks “why”. That’s a question I ask myself every day and I’m finally beginning to understand that it’s not a question that has an answer that will ever satisfy me.
So I said no, that he wasn’t bullied… I mumbled and finally just answered “he was depressed,, we think it may have been the early stages of psychosis…it was just mental illness”
There is so much in the media and so much publicity right now about bullying and especially cyber bullying. It’s a horrendous situation and it needs awareness definitely. But we’re forgetting about the all too prevalent problem of depression, psychosis and a myriad of other disorders that afflict not only youth but all of us. Mental illnesses that are suffered and that kill. Let’s not forget that “just mental illness” may be quieter than the sensationalized and media stormed bullying issue but it is every bit as needing of attention and awareness.