Today is my first day back at work.
It's the first day back since someone who I admire with an intensity that goes beyond affection and branches into the realm of awe took his own life.
It's the first day that I will sit across from people and gather information about how they're feeling and how many other times they've tried to get help.
It's the first time that someone will describe something that sounds like major depression or bipolar disease, and I'll know what needs to be done for them.
It's the first time that I won't be able to do anything because I'm not a doctor, but I'll be able to get them with the person who can.
It's the first time that I'll tell them that we're available 24/7 and they can call at any time if there's a problem.
It's the first time that I'll tell someone that this is a disease and not their fault.
It's the first time I'll tell someone that they can't get better from a depression until they're clean and sober.
It's the first time I'll do a lot of things today that I've done almost every day for years and years.
But today, I'll be thinking about him.
Today, I'll be saying it and desperately wishing that I could have been there for this total stranger who needed help.
Today, I'll be asking the universe why we couldn't get to someone when there are SO MANY people like me in the world.
Today, I'll be a little bit angry about it because we need to do better.
We have to do better.
I'll blame myself not because I had any control but because someone has to fix this. We have to do better. As a nation and a profession and a medical community, we have to do better.
If I was heartbroken two days ago, I'm even more so now. I'm never ready to say goodbye to anyone that I could have helped. Never. No matter how near or far or out-of-my-reach they are, I still could have helped in some divine intervention threw us together on the street.
I'm no more talented or intelligent than the thousands of other people who do what I do in this very big and supposedly very accepting country. We're all hurting today. Not because we could really have done anything, but because even with our lack of impact on the situation we still didn't do enough.
Depression and bipolar disease are not moral issues. They're diseases. They're words that are stigmatized to mean "crazy" or "too lazy to stop crying and get things done."
And you know what? That's bullshit.
We have to do better. We have to stop treating mental illness as an unfixable problem. We have to stop encouraging people to keep to themselves about their hurt because hurt that can't be seen doesn't exist.
I want to shout this from the rooftops.
It does exist. It's very real. There's nothing wrong with you. You're suffering from a disease that lies to you and tell you that you're the problem.
Don't do it alone because your shit head cousin or neighbor or best friend thinks they know what they're talking about and tells you that depressions don't exist. Depression makes you listen to negative people because depression wants you to believe bad things about yourself.
DEPRESSION LIES. DEPRESSION LIES. DEPRESSION LIES. DEPRESSION LIES.
People you love you will stand by you and support you through the help you need. They'll help you find a doctor. They'll go with you to appointments.
And if you read that and think no one loves you, remember this:
I LOVE YOU.
And I'm never more than a click away.
Today is going to be tough. I'll get through it because there are people like him in the world who deserve more out of life. No matter how much money or good fortune they have, they deserve more out of life.
And I'll be here because I'm not going anywhere.
Are you going anywhere? If not, post it on the comments. Post it on Twitter. On Facebook. On Instagram. On your forehead.
We're standing by people with mental illness.