This month of June rolls by unlike any other. Not just because of this time year or the cloudier days that the locals in SoCal call June gloom.
This month gave me a very unique opportunity to work on a side project called Erasing Shame about Mental Health. Very grateful to work on this special series of videos that captures interviews and stories of Asian Americans who have struggled through life issues; grateful for their humility and courage to share their stories, potentially with the world, and for many of them, for the first time.
How it all came together and how it got done was very much a God-thing. Learned a bunch of things in doing this video series, growing a greater appreciation for what effort it takes to produce videos and audios. Basically was aiming for the production quality that would be one notch above low budget.
Honest Talk about Mental Illnesses
In the episodes produced so far, we’ve covered mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, insomnia, family dynamics, sex and shame, queen Christians, and stressful life changes. I don’t think the word suicide got explicitly mentioned, those negative thoughts and feelings that overwhelm during depression certainly include questions about the meaning of life and whether suicide is the answer, also called suicidal ideation.
When Thinking of Suicide
How can we not think about suicide when it’s in the news, as this month we heard about the tragic suicidal deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Now, most people don’t think about suicide for themselves, but there are still too many people that do think about suicide because the statistics are too high, and even getting higher, not only in the United States, but also in many Asian countries too.
All kinds of different things could cause someone to die by suicide. It’s a very complicated and complex thing; most do involve mental illness. Most involve life stresses, struggles, and pains, whether actual or perceived.
Reaching people who struggle with a very hard life
How do I reach them? I have been there, having those thoughts of quitting on life, on a few moments or short bursts of time. I cannot imagine how anguishing it would be if those negative thoughts won’t go away because of a traumatic life situation, real or imagined, past or current, brain chemistry imbalance or other factors.
Only God knows what is really going on.
And suicides are that shocking and surprising because most, if not all, didn’t know about the person’s heavy life struggles.
Why would people not know? Because they were not told. And why was the person unwilling or unable to share?
Because of shame; shame is what keeps someone from talking about their pains and struggles, their imperfections and fears.
Why Advocacy about Mental Health isn’t Enough
While we have some good activities and organizations doing advocacy for mental health and suicide prevention, the statistics and the real-life stories we hear about, and the many we don’t, shows that the problem of shame and suicide has yet to be solved, or at least minimized, in our American society, and societies around the world.
That is why we want to continue the Erasing Shame podcast, to have honest talk about healthy living. We can keep talking about how life matters even when someone struggles with hard things, because sharing one’s pains in a safe place is the first step of erasing shame.
God willing, one of our conversations or stories, will reach the right person in their time of need, show them that life is worth living, and the hardest things in life does not mean their life’s end.
We want to keep this podcast alive so people will stay alive. Help us to do that. And, help us with more people and resources, so what we’re doing can help more people walk into life again.