A Deeply Personal Decision by Heidi Hirsch

July 11th

A Deeply Personal Decision 

We recently lost two well know celebrities — Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. 

Rich, famous, trend-setters, jet-setters, loving families, children — they had everything! What else could they want? Maybe it had nothing to do with want.  We’ll probably never really know. What we do know is that they both decided to turn out their lights.

In a statement from Kate Spade’s sister, “Kate suffered from mental health issues and felt under pressure to maintain a ‘happy-go-lucky’ image which prevented her from seeking help ahead of her apparent suicide.” She was also aware that her sister had been self-medicating with alcohol.

Anthony Bourdain carried a lifetime of demons. He suffered from drug addiction and depression. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Bourdain spoke briefly of his “psychotic rage” saying, “I was an unhappy soul… I hurt, disappointed, and offended many, many, many people, and I regret a lot. It’s a shame I have to live with. I feel kind of like a freak and I feel kind of isolated.” It wasn’t the only time he hinted at the darkness.

We have a serious epidemic in our society when it comes to determining the value of our lives. Because we care about what others think of us, too many lives are sacrificed because of external circumstances, such as hostility, discrimination, and judgment of others.

I can’t begin to comprehend the process of letting go of one’s life, but this I do know, it is a deeply personal decision and far too often it is based on external evaluations. 

You are a unique individual. It is not the right of others to ever define, decide, or influence who you are. The truth of who you are is within. We are relentlessly  riddled by the opinion of others — families, friends, school mates, coworkers, people we work for, and even strangers. I was once told by an employer that my value didn’t warrant my salary and that she really couldn’t understand why I was there and had to pay me. I knew my value and walked away. 

We are bombarded with demands and criteria for establishing value. People are happy to tell you — that your hair is the wrong color, your teeth aren’t pearly sparkling white, you’re too fat, too thin, the list goes on. A friend of mine quit going to a manicurist because at every appointment she was told she looked like she was gaining weight. WHAT THE HELL?? 

The popular communication outlets are a cesspool of contradictions, they’re programs run by fears and “cures”. You can purchase drugs to make you thin, night creams that will make you youthful, pills to grow more hair, treatments to remove unwanted hair. There’s a pill for impotence and another to keep your joints fluid. 

All of these things address the external and warp the concept of our value. There’s nothing that addresses your inner world — on how to be authentically yourself and the miracle of your life. My bet is that the profit margin for that wouldn’t yield a substantial payout.

As we look to our community, we are facing our own uphill battle among members of our family. Many of us have dealt with bullying, hate, discrimination, religious back-lash, and family rejection.  

According to The Trevor Project:  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
  • LGBT youth seriously contemplates suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
  • LGBT youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBT peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical abuse or verbal harassment, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

As a community, we are getting stronger everyday, pushing back against those hostile to us. Our strength can be used to reach out to all that feel the dark cloud. No one should be alone if the light starts to dim.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of self abuse or suffering in a harmful relationship, personal, or professional — please turn to others for help. Don’t turn out your light. You are a gift.

Please know that you are precious. 

Holding your Light dear and Proud

For more information on suicide prevention and help:

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Suicide Hotline (the Trevor Lifeline): 1-866-488-7386 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)TrevorChat online chat: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now (Available 7 days a week (3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT).)TrevorText text messaging: Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 (Available on Fridays (4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PT)The Trevor Project website: 

National Suicide prevention Lifeline- 1-800-273-8255

On Twitter:

https://twitter.com/800273TALK

Teen suicide hotline (Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline): 1-800-USA-KIDS (872-5437) (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

The veterans suicide hotline (Veterans Crisis Line): 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or text to 838255 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

Befrienders Worldwide: http://www.befrienders.org/need-to-talk

 

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

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