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As we lost two icons this past week to suicide, I am filled with sadness. My heart not only hurts for the loss of these two beautiful souls and how they inspired us to dream big, explore and open our hearts to others.But my heart also aches for all the many people that feel lonely, hopeless and in despair on a daily basis.Depression is so painfully real and difficult to understand until you are in the depths of it's darkness.I feel helpless in the fight against this horrific epidemic that is taking beautiful lives.What can we do?I don't know the answers but I do know that each one of us can try to make a difference in our daily lives. Depression often wears an amazing mask and hides behind a convincing smile. The ones that seem okay on the outside may be the very ones that are struggling in their own internal hell.Sometimes the little things we do can make all the difference!
And if you are currently experiencing depression, you are not alone! Reach out to friends and family and do not be ashamed. There is no shame in depression. You can't just snap out of it. Depression is very real and painful! Find hope in knowing that every single one of us will experience degrees of depression during our life. It can feel debilitating but the storm doesn't last. It may be hard to realize right now but the rainbow will show up.
For powerful words from suicide survivors, please read Allyn Lewis' story of how she lost her father to suicide, how it impacted her life and how she is determined to get the word out about mental illness and suicide prevention. Also, Melissa Yu's story of how her partner of 6 years committed suicide and she is on a mission to prevent others from experiencing the pain she has.
If you need to speak to someone, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255.