The Artidote Did It Again: On Making the Internet a Safe Space to Talk About Hard Topics Without Glamorizing Them

At one point, I felt responsible for the pain of the people around me.

A year ago, I finally had the courage to write about my depressive episodes, anxieties, and suicidal thoughts. It was even braver of me to make them public and send them to various platforms to reach a wider audience.

I was finally comfortable with baring my soul and letting the world know how fucked up my life was.

I was an open book, ready to be judged and laughed at by people who did not even know me.

But I did not mind the judgments because the process helped me heal.

When life became a meaningless blur of depression and anxiety, writing became my therapy.

It was a process I almost got used to—reach rock bottom, cry myself to sleep, write my way through the pain, publish the post, receive I-can-relate comments from my readers, know that I wasn’t alone in my battles, get in touch with people who felt the same, realize that life still sucked. Repeat.

And in between all those moments, I always a held a book on one hand and a beer on the other or turned to materials—movies and Facebook pages like The Artidote—to get my daily dose of motivation. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it here to type these letters.

After months of writing my way through the pain, a thought suddenly hit me—I was glamorizing suicide by writing about it.

At first I tried to brush it off, thinking that it was silly of me to entertain such an idea.

But anxiety got the best of me and I thought about it so often that it began to bother me every day.

I couldn’t get over the idea that I was to blame.

This generation is suicidal because of people like me who keep talking about suicide.

This generation is depressed because of people like me who keep treating depression as normal.

If no one talked about suicide, we would probably hear fewer stories of people dying by suicide because they wouldn’t think about it as an option in the first place.

If we didn’t talk about mental health issues so often, the world would probably hear less about Millennials whining about the bullshit that is life.

If we didn’t glamorize these issues, they would probably not be a concern these days.

The worst part was it threw me in the battlefield defenseless, with no one to turn to in fear of getting blamed. I didn’t want to admit my fault to my friends and readers who had been with me during my worst nights. I didn’t want to let them down—I didn’t want them to feel that those sleepless nights spent over beer and cigarettes rambling on about all the bitterness of life were all for nothing.

I didn’t want to disappoint them.

I didn’t want them to blame me for their pain, even though every part of my being was aching for them, even though I wanted to apologize for misleading them.

For saying it’s okay to be depressed.

For saying not to apologize for feeling.

For saying life really sucked and that it’s nice that they, too, were aware.

For thanking them for making me feel less alone.

For validating their thoughts and feelings, when I shouldn’t have had.

I felt I was a failure through and through. A disappointment that did not deserve all the comfort in the world.

Eventually, I went on a depressive cycle and I stopped writing on my blog completely. I almost asked the platforms who published my posts to take my entries down.

I was ashamed. I wanted to hide from everyone I knew and from all those who held on to every word I wrote.

I wanted to disappear forever and bury my words with me.

The depressive cycle was on and off for months, and I did not say a single word about it to anyone. Not to my boyfriend. Not even to my best friend. I was as selfish as anyone could get.

And then earlier today, I saw this post from The Artidote:

I was like the person who sent the message, afraid that however supportive and uplifting I thought my posts were, they were, in a way, actually glamorizing suicide.

But now I am like Jova, the founder of The Artidote. These were the words from his post that struck me the most:

And that’s been my role as curator: to try to make this a safe space to talk about hard topics without glamorizing them. Because, I mean, we have to talk about this, right? We have to. When there’s a real problem in front of us, like potentially lethal illnesses affecting our mental health, we must address them in order to understand them and learn how to treat them.

You see, The Artidote did it again. Validating my feelings and saving me from my own misery when no one else could.

I read the post over and over, and each time I did I came up with the same realization:

Yes, I, too, am responsible for making the internet a safe space to talk about hard topics without glamorizing them. But I also learned that sharing your suicidal stories doesn’t glamorize suicide—in fact, it does exactly the opposite. It is an affirmation that while life sucks on most days, suicide is never the answer.

After all, I am still alive and breathing. I’m still fighting. If anything, these suicidal stories are often success stories of how a person embraced the process, however difficult it may be. These are testimonies of how people like me learned to live with the pain.

I still think that dealing with suicidal thoughts is like dealing with the curve ball that life throws at us. Suicide will never stop the ball from rolling; instead, it will only pass the burden to another person, and this does not really solve anything.

To conclude this post, I’d like to reiterate the words from one of my previous articles:

Depression is not a phase. You wanna know the truth? It’s bound to stay with you until your last fucking breath.

That just when you thought things could not get worse, it will hit you. It will fill your head with monsters and one sleepless night is never enough. It will haunt you and suck all the remaining happiness out of your mind, filling your brain with dreadful thoughts that will make your heart ache. Every. Fucking. Time.

And even if you live through a day without them, they will come back when you’re at your most vulnerable to remind you that your worst fears and nightmares are coming true. It sucks, but it’s true.

Depression is not “just a phase.” Truth is, you just learn to live with the pain.

So next time a person tells you that “it’s just a phase,” tell them they’re wrong. Tell them it will stay with you forever and that it’s okay. You won’t get over it because it will haunt you when you least expect it. It will come for you when you’re lonely. It will come for you when you’re happy. You won’t move on from the pain. You won’t forget the feeling. Ever. It stays with you until you grow old, even as you watch the last moments of your life tick away before your very eyes.

It will always hurt, yes, but the time will come when even the strongest storms won’t tear you down. Depression is not just a phase, but the time will come when you’ll learn to cope with the pain. Please tell them to stop acting like they know your pain because they do not. Please do it for your own sake.

From a woman who learned to live with the pain.

I know it’s been a while since I last published a post on this blog, but I promise to keep writing to inspire other people.

I hope I inspire you to stay alive the same way other artists and writers inspired me to keep going. Remember? Our story is not over yet;

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