A video by Eric Raymond Lim for his sister Tanya Lim who committed suicide touches Thaddeus Howze deeply. And he hopes it will touch others.
Depression and suicide are two subjects most people won’t find in polite conversation anywhere. I am a person who has dealt with chronic depression and I am not ashamed to admit I have sought professional help during those times. Culturally, Americans have tried to be a land of ‘rugged individualists’ prone to tell each other to ‘walk it off’ when we are in physical or emotional pain.
Let me admit what few men will. Depression doesn’t ‘walk off’. You could have the strongest will imaginable but depression may still prevent you from being at your best. It undermines your resolve, erodes your ambition, and depletes your strength.
To overcome depression, you may need to change your lifestyles, your diet, your habits, your way of thinking AND still need to seek support from your family, friends, and a professional community i.e. a doctor, therapist or counselor. Not everyone, however is as fortunate, and people who commit suicide is on the rise.
Depression is just as real as cancer and as of last estimate by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, present in 1 out of 10 Americans in varying degrees of intensity.
Chronic depression can have debilitating effects on the people who suffer from it, including adverse effects on the outcomes of other diseases such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, absenteeism, short-term disability, decreased productivity and an increase in the chance of committing suicide.
Suicides are strongly linked to depression and is considered a preventable public health problem. In the last year for which there were statistics, (1999 to 2010) suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the US. The causes for depression range widely from chemical imbalances in the brain, to responses from long term exposures to stress like those present from the financial crisis of 2008.
It is estimated that more Americans are dying from suicide than from car accidents according to the CDC. From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among US citizens between the ages of 35 to 64 soared by about 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, a jump from 13.7. In 2010, there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.
Eric Raymond Lim knows firsthand the effects of suicide. His sister, Tanya Lim committed suicide, leaving her little brother money to make a film. To bring creation from destruction, he made THE FORGE, an emotional, anti-suicide message in which a man battles his inner demon in a fight for his life.
The film resonated with me on several levels, the most important one was the idea that you have to be able to take the hits and recognize them for what they are, something happening in the moment. They will not last forever. In the throes of depression this is the hardest thing to recognize.
“We all get knocked down. We all have to face bad things. I wish I could have told you to fight through it. But I didn’t.” I am going to repeat what Eric Lim tells you in his painful and beautiful video.
You will get knocked down. That’s real. I’m a martial artist. No matter how tough you are, no matter how skilled you are, you will get knocked down by someone who is better than you are or by a shock more unexpected than you were prepared for. The death of my mother was one such moment; she died suddenly and unexpectedly.
Enjoy the view — remember life is 1/10 what happens to you and 9/10s how you emotionally deal with it). I had trouble with this part. I kept feeling like a failure because I had been hit, been knocked down and at least for a moment, unable to get up or see anything good having happened.
Then get up. If you can’t — this is the important part — call for help. There is no shame in it. You get up, you learn from it and you get better. Thank the people who were there for you. You may need their help again in the future.
My mother, a woman of indomitable will, used to tell me: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If you hate lemons, get a shovel and plant a different tree… Life is work. Get to it.”