Sadly, we now know that Danny Frawley’s devastating death yesterday was not an accident. Frawley was respected for his willingness to share publicly his ongoing battle with depression. In a long list of great achievements, he is being remembered for using his profile to remove the stigma associated with depression.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s about raising awareness of suicide prevention and, as Frawley did, encouraging conversations around mental illness.
People say that if you don’t have depression, you don’t get it. That probably makes sense, because here’s something that surprised me — I struggle to understand it, even after my own depression.
I can’t believe that, back then, I drew a line down the middle of a page but couldn’t write one thing on the side the page that I’d titled ‘Good things in my life’.
I can’t understand how I wanted to drive my car into a tree. Not to end my life, but to end the numbness. I wanted to feel something…anything. If I could crash my car into a tree and just break my leg, I’d feel the pain of a broken leg. That would be something. I’d no longer feel nothing.
I can’t imagine that had the bottle of antibiotics in our medicine cupboard been full, I’d have taken them all. Not because I wanted to die. But because it would have made me sick, surely. And even feeling sick would be better than feeling nothing.
What I can understand is that either action back then would have been considered an attempted suicide, By everyone. Except me.
You don’t understand depression until you can’t stand your own presence in an empty room.’
That quote may help a little to understand mental illness. Or maybe that’s just for me; it reminds me how I felt.
Even if you find that you just can’t understand mental illness, please be aware of it.
Choose your words wisely when talking about mental illness. We need to raise awareness, not stigma.
And, as in all areas of life, please don’t judge what you don’t understand.
I took these two photos yesterday:
Together, on one side of the fence, the canola plants are beautiful.
Just over the other side of the fence, a single canola plant is a weed.
It made me think about how or why we would judge anyone who is different to us.
Frawley’s sad death yesterday, combined with World Suicide Prevention Day today, reminds us that there’s a story behind every person and a reason they are the way they are.
Danny Frawley encouraged acceptance and support for those who suffered with mental illness. By all reports, it sounds like he did the same for everyone else.
Let’s do the that too.
RIP Danny Frawley.