I see many people striving to get more out of life and be happy, be better people, achieve their dreams all around me. Yet, at the same time, I am noticing a shocking trend in the young Black generation, suicide. It is such a hard thing to fathom, because everyone seems so ambitious and in three of the particular cases I have paid close attention to, these were (by most people’s standards) successful young people.
I recall reading about Karyn Washington (For Brown Girls founder) and looking at her following, the same following I have been trying so hard to establish, and tried to understand what could lead her to these actions. At 22, she had the type of success and reach I had been awaiting since 25. While I read that she was dealing with depression after losing her mother and not having anyone to talk with about her feelings, I still could not grasp the concept, but I must admit, I have yet to experience death close to me. I cannot imagine what she went through. For a while, Washington stayed with me in the back of my mind, but then I slipped off into my own depression, and I no longer pondered. I was too deep in my own problems.
Oddly, only days before the suicide of GRL singer, Simone Battle (25), I talked with some online associates, and in the midst of our introducing ourselves and sharing, I learned one of the young ladies, Tiara, (the youngest of the group) had attempted to commit suicide three times. I was utterly shocked again. Though scary, one had to be pretty brave to attempt this more than once. I do not think my heart could handle it. One would also have to be destined for something more to continuing to waking up afterwards. I was amazed at her strength while sharing her story. I knew I would not have been able to hold up as well as she did, had I opened up.
Here were three sisters close in age, who all saw death as the only way to escape their problems. While I must admit during my most recent depression bout, I think I almost considered it too, I know I couldn’t muster the nerve. Upon learning of Battle’s death, I immediately reached out to Tiara for her thoughts. When asked if she thought it was something more within this age group (under 30) causing this mindset, Tiara replied, “I think a lot of times, we get so wrapped up in helping people that we tend to forget our own needs, and we are constantly pouring out but NO ONE is pouring in so that is frustrating and hard, especially being young. You face a lot. For instance, people tell me because of my age, I don’t seem qualified to (be an advocate for domestic violence and sexual abuse awareness).
What goes on in the mind of one who is suicidal? Tiara simply says, “They feel like life is worthless.” She went on later to say,”The first two times, I was like, “OMG, why didn’t this work. The third time, I said, maybe God wants me to be here, therefore maybe I should try this thing called life again.
While Washington’s death is accredited to depression from the death of her mother, Battle’s family says she was having financial problems. Keep in mind Lee Thompson Young aka Barry Frost on “Rizzoli and Isles” also committed suicide in the fall of last year. Thompson was diagnosed as bi-polar.
It kind of makes one wonder if we are too self consumed to pay attention to what is really going on with those around us. We are so focused on the outer and materialistic stuff, that we cannot see their pain, or we choose not to because it tarnishes our happy worlds.
From personal experience, when I was depressed after losing my first professional job this summer, I pulled away from everyone immediately. Why? Because it was not too long ago when I was unemployed and the “disgust” I was shown when trying to explain why this or that, let me know that those around me would not be accepting of the situation. I pulled away from them before they could pull away from me and hurt me again. I will keep those memories on the forefront, so maybe I can relate and possibly foresee if ever someone close to me is considering the same thing.
Rest in love Lee, Karyn, and Simone and Tiara, I am here if you need me.