Saturday, June 7, 2014

2 Years Ago Today...

2 years ago today my dad took his own life.

I was out with friends when my brother called me with the news.  I was completely in shock.

I didn't tell ANYONE what happened.  I didn't want to talk about it.

This was by far the most shocking, sad, embarrassing, confusing, and life changing event that has happened during my short time on this earth.  I knew my dad was sick, but did not know how bad.  Mental illness is a strange thing like that.  It grows and evolves, but there is such a stigma that it's hard to talk about, and there are not easy pathways to get help.  When my dad pulled away, out of my life, I just let him.

My heart hurts so badly for the pain and hurt and horrible things that went on in my dad's head that lead him to end things.  My heart hurts for those that are dealing with mental illness personally or with a loved one.  If you think that someone needs help, they probably do, and it can be so confusing and difficult, but people can be helped.

When I found out about my dad 2 years ago I was set to leave for Kansas 70.3 that next morning, but obviously did not make the trip.  This year I will be racing Eagleman 70.3, for my dad.  When he was healthy, he was happy, supportive and loved watching sports.  He wanted to be right there on the side of the soccer field, or track, or pool.  I never wonder if he was proud of us, because he would be proud of us no matter what.

So I don't know exactly why I'm writing this post, except the only way to break the stigma surrounding mental illness is to talk about it.  I understand the feeling of shame that comes with it (hence why I don't talk about this much), but it is an illness like any other.

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.