Op-Ed: It’s World Suicide Prevention Day & It’s Okay To Talk About It

Posted: by Emily Dubin

“I’m just worried that the environment that you’re in, with everybody talking so much about anxiety and depression, isn’t it just going to make you feel worse?”

This sentiment came from my mom, with whom I’d just had a two-hour conversation discussing my recent panic attacks and admission that I struggle with some level of anxiety. She feared that the environment I was so immersed in– filled with musicians and artists who struggle across the spectrum with depression, anxiety and other related illnesses, and who are very vocal about them– would exacerbate my own feelings of newfound anxiety. The only thing was, the reality was quite the opposite. The anxiety I was struggling with was not new, it had just been suppressed. Before finding my place within the music scene, my friends did not talk about our issues. Transitioning from high school into college, I found that I did not want to go out as much as my freshman peers, despite being in a new and exciting environment. Parties made me feel nervous and I would often stay for twenty minutes and leave, embarrassed that I was unable to socialize like everyone else. I was outgoing, lively, and relatively well-adjusted overall.

So why couldn’t I fit in?

It turns out I was putting a square peg in a round hole, and finally, instead of desperately trying to change myself, I changed who I surrounded myself with. I have met my closest friends through music, and they are multidimensional individuals who accept their struggles as part of who they are, instead of pretending they don’t exist. It gave me a new perspective through which I could truthfully assess the spectrum of my emotions, instead of swallowing the lump in my throat so I could tell myself that it was “no big deal.” It is a big deal. Struggling emotionally in any capacity is a big deal, but we are told that talking about it will make it a weakness. The friends I have made and the openness with which they can talk about and write about their struggles is inspiring. It allowed me to look back on certain experiences and understand that what I was going through was real. It helped me accept that I was not weak, I was not crazy, and most importantly I was not alone.  To be immersed in open conversation about emotional issues will not “make me feel worse,” but will make me feel validated and teaches me to deal with my anxiety head on instead of fearing it. The only way to approach this battle is to acknowledge in the first place that you have the ability to fight. Watching my friends become stronger every day, and openly communicating with them about how we feel and why we feel the things we do, has made me an immensely stronger individual. Talking about it means that we are never alone. Art, music, conversation– outlets that are centered around connectivity and community– is the reason I can grow and become stronger.

Not by staying silent.

– Emily Dubin

Editor’s Note – This post is our first official Op-Ed on The Alternative. While all music discussion and reviews are opinion, Op-Ed articles are meant to be a place where our contributors can express their own views and ideas. All stances taken in Op-Ed articles are the opinions of the author and are not meant to represent the opinions of The Alternative. I hope that through these pieces we will be able to open up a discussion on a number of issues.