The most alone I have ever felt was standing on my front porch
on a chilly February evening.
My sister had taped a note to the front door that said
“Eleni, if you’re the first one here don’t go in the basement.
Just call 911.
I don’t want you to see me like this.
I love you!
She put an identical sign on the back door.
Even in the midst of consuming depression,
Aletha tried to protect me from the full horror of her suicide.
I went on to share with everyone —
friends, family, students, and work colleagues —
the cause of my sister’s death:
depression and suicide.
I told them that my hilarious,
silly and loving sister
couldn’t see any of that in herself
and it killed her.
I told them that her depression
created an impenetrable fortress
that blocked the light,
preventing the love of her friends,
and any sense of comfort
and confidence from reaching her.
Depression lied to my sister,
told her that she was worthless.
Undeserving of life.
I imagine these lies were like a kind of permanent white noise in her life —
a running narration of how unworthy she was.
After years of the lies and the torment,
my sister believed that depression told her the truth.
In the notes she left for my parents and me,
“don’t feel sad, I’m not worth it.”
She was so wrong.
I have to tell the truth.
Here is the truth:
My sister was amazing.
She exuded life and made my life millions of times better just by existing.
Any time I needed help,
any time I was struggling,
any time depression and anxiety overwhelmed me,
Aletha was there.
Any time I had a good day,
I needed to share it with her.
She was my anchor.
Aletha and I had a relationship and a closeness that I will never have again.
My sister’s depression fed on her desire to keep it secret
and hidden from everyone.
I could not save my sister.
I could not reach my sister through her depression.
Aletha slipped from my grasp and I cannot bring her back.
I can only urge others to distrust the voice of depression.
I can plead for people to seek help and treatment.
I can talk about depression and invite others to the conversation.
I can tell everyone that will listen that depression lies.
I can tell the truth.
The lies of depression can exist only in isolation.
Brought out into the open,
lies are revealed for what they are.
Here is the truth:
You have value.
You have worth.
You are loved.
Trust the voices of those who love you.
Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing:
We must tell the truth.
Read more at: Washington Post