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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Eminem & Me

This morning, The Boston Globe published an article that proclaimed, “Suicide rates rise sharply across the US, new report shows”. I didn’t necessarily need a report to hypothesize my own suspicion which was borne prior to today’s news of chef Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, which came on the heels of fashion designer and business woman, Kate Spade’s suicide a mere three days prior.

In the aftermath of his sister-in-law suicide, David Spade said it best: “…Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on.” It is a rough world indeed, Mr. Spade. It’s feels more rough recently, where people are angry over a variety of things – school shootings, politics, discrimination, and lash out online at others.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that there are, on average 123 suicides each day. Lives no less important than Spade or Bourdain’s, but certainly less visible to the public eye. Although, in 2017, 81% of the population in the U.S. had a social networking profile. Our own small limelight where we typically put our best face forward to our audience comprised of friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers. Often, our real, “off screen”, lives, aren’t much different. Sometimes though, and not nearly enough, people are courageous enough to be vulnerable. To ask for help. To admit they’re scared - - unsure. But those who do are those whom I respect and admire the most.

In April, the artist Eminem celebrated 10 years of sobriety and commemorated the event by posting this picture to his Instagram. And I thought, “Good.” Then, a (sober) author whom I respect and admire wrote on her Facebook page, “You’re not supposed to crow publicly abt sobriety, but I am tickled #Eminem is 10 years off the sauce. Best decision I ever made. It wasn’t easy, but there’s free help, and ingesting a depressant drug to cheer up just ain’t a good idea.” And I thought, “Crow away, Eminem.” Over 1 million people “liked” Eminem’s post on Instagram and if one person realizes, because of this public display of vulnerability that they too can get sober, overcome their demons, then “crowing” was worth it. I too publicly acknowledge my sobriety at anniversaries in the hope that maybe that’s a message someone needs to hear. Honestly, what good would it do Eminem, me and anyone else if either Eminem or myself acted as if we have our shit together? I don't think either of us would be fooling anyone. And, besides, that’s boring.

This afternoon, a (male) friend shared this on Facebook:

And it was far more interesting than much of what I see on Facebook because it was honest, vulnerable and I hope updates like this will continue to be shared to destigmatize mental illness. Four others, and myself, commented that we too have seen a therapist/counselor and I know it saved my life in more ways than one. I have taken prescribed medication and I struggle with this – harshly judging myself as “weak”.

I'd be remiss to acknowledge that Kate Spade was reportedly getting help for her anxiety and depression. I'd also be remiss to say that our brains can be real assholes - telling us things that simply aren't true. Talk to someone who can help you rewrite the story that you're brain's telling you.

“…Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on.”

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