Today on whoisamberjanae.com I want to honor the life of Black Lives Matter Activist MarShawn McCarrel.
“My demons won today. I’m sorry,” was an eerie Facebook post that McCarrel posted just hours before the 23-year-old committed suicide on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse. One single self-inflicted fatal gunshot by McCarrel ended his life. It had me asking the question we all often ask “Did anyone around detect signs of depression?” I remember the times when I silently cried for help but because my cries were masked with smiles it’s like nobody seemed to notices or care. As a child I always toyed with the thought of committing suicide. If I was in enough emotional rage I acted on these thoughts. Most assume it humanly impossible to suffer from depression or battle suicidal thoughts as an adolescent. Often times it starts when we’re young and as we grow older things trigger us to drift back into that dark space. I thought I was alone as a child. Not receiving the help I need caused my battle to carry on into adulthood. My heart broke when I recently read the story of 6-year-old Kendrea Johnson who was found hanging from a jump rope. Johnson’s death is still presently being investigated by Minnesota authorities, but her death is believed to be an apparent suicide. As a young Black woman who’s overcome her battle with suicidal thoughts as well as survived multiple suicide attempts, I can tell you it’s not always easy. It becomes a constant battle that is sometimes never-ending when struggling with depression. We overlook the fact that our struggles with self-love or self-acceptance begin at a young age. We ignore the fact that our circumstances as children are more often than not a result of how we grow up to feel about who God created us to be. If we feel unloved or mistreated we project those actions and feelings onto ourselves.
Often times it is those of us who work hard taking care of others who fall short of taking care of ourselves. In this case this was Marshawn’s story. Someone who was on the front line, risking his own safety for the betterment of his people. We can’t forget to put ourselves first. We can’t continue to forget the importance of self-care. We must remember the value of self-love. Our emotional imbalances causes us fall into a dark space.
I was at my most self-destructive state when I was at war spiritually. I had forgotten God’s importance in my life and as our close-knit relationship went out the window so did everything else. My demons sought to overcome me, but I am still here to tell my struggles all because of my faith in God and my desire to be spiritually whole again. My demons fortunately lost the battle. It was God who taught me to learn to be a little more attentive when it came to myself and others. I learned to ask questions when those around me seem down and depressed because I once knew how it felt to feel forgotten or forsaken. It was only the love of Source who told me pulled me through to bring awareness and help others through their hard times. So when I see stories such as MarShawn’s my heart aches. It aches because I know what it feels like to have your demons win. I know what it feels like to feel alone even when you’re not. I know what it feels like to give up on yourself and everyone else, all because of the emotional load becomes too heavy. MarShawn’s story hit me just as hard as the story of 22 year-old Kalief Browder, who after being wrongly imprisoned in Rikers Island for 3 years of robbery charges, Kalief committed suicide shortly after being released from prison. A young man who openly expressed that he knew he was battling with depression. A young man who knew he needed help, cried out and never got the help he desired. It saddens me that there are so many of us battling our demons alone. It saddens me that our struggles and battles often go unnoticed.
I’d like to challenge you all to know what depression is and ways to help yourself and those you love overcome that battle. Start with:
Educating Yourself. Read as much as you can to be fully educated so you’re able to easily detect the the signs of depression in yourself or others.
Be Aware of Symptoms:
- Sadness or Emptiness
- Loss of interest in passion(s) or everyday activities.
- Constant complaints.
- Always upset/Unhappy
- Headaches, Loss of Appetite, Loss of Energy, Sleeping Constantly, Restlessness or Irritability.
Behavioral Pattern Changes:
- Mood Swings
- Heavy Drinking or Drug Usage
- The Desire to Be Alone 24/7
- Mention(s) of Death and/or Suicide
We have to be educated and learn to be fully aware so that we can help those who are unable to help themselves in difficult times. We have to stand in power and not be afraid to teach those we love to practice self-care, but not forgetting that it is our duty to care for ourselves as much as we care for others. Remember you’re not alone. My inbox is always open to any of you who are fighting depression. If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact:
Be Inspired. Be Encouraged. Be Blessed.