I've blogged a few times about depression: here, here, and here, and talked in person MANY times about the reality of the struggle with mental illness, but this idea came to me in the middle of the night and I want to share it.
Last night I ran across a post by a girl who had hidden a card with the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline under some papers on her family's fridge. So she'd have it and they wouldn't know. Now that right there kind of eats me up. But first, what WE can do. You and me.
I really loved the idea that BEFORE the crisis, we could provide ourselves and our friends and loved ones with a resource, a reminder of exactly what they can do. Kind of like a fire escape plan at your home. When you smell smoke and see flames, it's not the time for planning. When you feel the overwhelming pain and can't think of anything to stop it, it's the time to just get out the card and call.
Hotline Wallet Cards
I made 3 versions of this card, and I hope you'll pick one and print it out for yourself or someone who matters a whole lot to you. All you need to do is right-click on the image and save it to your computer. Then print it out.
Card 1: General Hotline Info
This card is for those of us who struggle with mental illness to carry with us. The day might come, the crisis might come, that it feels like there's no way out. Here is proof that there is.
Card 2: My Hotline
I made this card in reference to a post I made just a few days ago, when I said I texted my bestie, knowing she gets it. She doesn't suffer from a specific mental illness, but she is very well acquainted with grief, and I know she'll be there, always. If you have someone like that - your Person, print out this card and write their name and number on it, so you carry that with you. There may come a day when the only thread you have left of the fabric of your old world is this card in your wallet. May this be that thread. Make that call.
Card 3: Promise Card: I Will Be Your Hotline
This one is really special. We all know someone who struggles. This is proof you can give them, that no matter what time or place or circumstance they need you, that you will be there. If you are willing to make that pledge for someone who is really important to you, write your info down and give it to them. Look them in the eye and make them put it in their wallet. That promise is binding, and it is real. Your person will feel it.
One of the devil's lies to people struggling with suicidal thoughts is that things would be better off - that YOU their loved one would be better off if they weren't there. Depression is not a rational thing but a terrible, ice-breathing, infinitely heavy, lying bastard who obliterates all sense and reason, even in a matter of seconds. Even if you find it impossible to understand how anyone could think that their sudden disappearance from your life could possibly HELP you, trust me, in the terrible darkness, this monstrous lie becomes a reverberating echo in their head.
When you write this down, you have to understand how HARD it is to be someone who falters and fails, how hard it is to admit that there's no getting up unless someone reaches down for you, and I also hope you understand that if you ever get the opportunity to make good on this promise, you will have changed your person's life forever. There's a special place in heaven for the person who strengthens the feeble knees and lifts up the hands that hang down.
Please, PLEASE share these, ok? We CAN help save a life.