The Best Actors and Actresses Aren't In Hollywood

We hear about Hollywood and how most of these stars actually believe they are worth millions of dollars for their acting. While some of them are good, the best ones in the world are those suffering with Mental Illness and go about their lives helping others and smiling and laughing. The best actors and actresses are in your family, your friends, your co-workers.

There are so many in this world like my beautiful daughter, Heather. She wasn't an actress but she played a role of a lifetime. She worked with the developmentally disabled, she was going to school to become an EMT. When someone called her needing help, she would drop everything and help them. She had a heart of gold. The closing scene of her greatest role was putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger and ending her life.

No one expected this. No one thought she was hurting so badly that she wanted to end her life. She was a young adult, with her whole life ahead of her. While most of us look at the future and think there is possibility of change and a better future, she looked at her world as one she didn't want to be in. She didn't sulk and share her pain. She spent her days and nights trying to make the world a little better for others.

How do you know that someone you care about is hurting that badly that all they can think of, behind the smiles and the laughter, is the pain of living day to day. You don't. What can you say to them to get them to realize that death is not an option? Nothing. Heather didn't want to tell anyone and there are many more like her. She didn't want to tell anyone because she feared people would just think she was trying to get attention.

What do you do then? How can you help those that are still with you that are hurting so badly inside if you don't know who is hurting and who isn't? To start with, we need to make suicide and mental illness isn't taboo to talk about. I remember a friend losing someone close the them in an accident. She was very upset and more upset when she started hearing rumors that the accident might really have been suicide. Her response, like so many others, was "Please, don't let it be suicide." Death is death so why was the distinction so important? Because suicide is a definite choice that death is a better alternative than living.

We need to talk about it. We need to let others know when we feel like life is getting too hard for us at times. Have you ever felt sometimes that life would be so much better if we just ended it? Did you ever feel like just taking your own life? Did you talk to anyone about it? Did you talk to your friends and family and let them know? Did you hold it inside because you thought no one would understand it? We need to start talking and sharing this with our friends and family. The one thing we can't do is blow them off. We need to really listen. We need to open our hearts.

It's been almost 16 months now that Heather has been gone from us. Every day is hard. Every day I want to just break down in tears. I miss her terribly but I can't do anything to change it. Heather made her choice and we all have to live with it. I can't ask her how she is coping with everything. I can't ask her if there is anything I can do for her. I can beg her from the bottom of my heart to come back to us but I know she can't come back. It's a one-way trip.

Please, don't just read this and move on. Make a decision that you are going to have suicide and mental illness a part of your conversations. When you see your friends and family or talk to them on the phone, ask them if there is anything they are coping with that they need help with. Let them know that they mean the world to you and you would be lost without them. If you don't, one day you could be at another funeral saying goodbye to someone that didn't have to die. Another life lost to pain. Come on, let's work together and Help Stop The Pain.


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