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Invisible Pain Still Counts as Pain: Suicide During The Holidays

I woke up on Tuesday morning and thought, "I should post about how difficult this time of year is and remind my community and followers that suicide can be more prevalent right now."

One hour later...tWitch.

It's taken me all week to formulate these words because the ache I felt when I heard that news was large. Not deep...but large. I didn't know tWitch. Like most of us, I was infected by his energy through the screen.

tWitch, Alison (his wife) and three children (Instagram/sir_twitch_alot)

If this were Tuesday, I would have said that the holiday season can be challenging for many people. It is packed full of expectations that you be merry, bright, excited, and warm. However, these are not feelings everyone experiences during this time of year. As most of you know, it isn't easy to walk into a space knowing that people have expectations you can't fulfill. It's even harder to do that nearly every day of your life. This holiday season, please let go of your expectations for yourself and others.

If you aren't feeling well, share what you need. If you don't know what you need, share that too. You won't always feel this way, but it's OK that you do now. Feelings, like thoughts, are subject to change at a moment's notice. If you can't keep yourself safe, call 988. Help is coming.

Here are my thoughts post the news about tWitch...

Before tWitch was "Ellen's DJ," he was his momma's baby and his granddaddy's boy. He was a brother, cousin, mentor, role mentor, dancer, competitor, friend, and nephew. He became a husband and father, which I imagine were titles he held dear. He was also Ellen's DJ.

  • Imagine having the pressure of being such a bright light for others, but when you look in the mirror, you see a very dim light.

  • Imagine wondering if others would even care about who you really are if they knew that your smile was part of the makeup that you put in every day.

  • Imagine thinking that the best gift you could give your family was to subtract yourself from the equation.

  • Imagine believing that your kids would be better off having positive memories of you instead of feeling worried about you because you are always so "sad."

  • Imagine convincing yourself that your spouse is still young enough to marry again because they deserve a life where they don't have to raise three kids AND take care of you.

I don't know what tWitch's final thoughts were, and I don't know about the feelings that he experienced every day and in those final moments. Here's what I know.

1) He was in pain. Invisible pain still counts as pain.

2) Pain changes our perception of feelings and how we think. It can intensify everything.

3) How much we are loved can be irrelevant when pain is excruciating and chronic.

tWitch and his momma (Instagram/sir_twitch_alot)

In the moment, suicide likely seemed to be the only logical plan that would end the pain, lighten the weight of expectations, stop the torture, and remove the burden that you have placed on your family and friends. While some of these ideas are faulty, it made the most sense at the time.

The fact that it was a permanent solution to a temporary problem was just a small concern compared to the size of the problem.

If you are feeling anything even close to what I

mentioned above, please call a friend or a stranger NOW. Call 988. Don't think about it anymore and stop reading. Just pick up your phone and call 988. Go to the hospital. Call a friend and ask them to transport you to the hospital. If they don't answer, call another one. If they don't answer, knock on your neighbor's door. If you don't have a neighbor, call 988.

His grandfather "Da Da" and tWitch (Instagram/sir_twitch_alot)

Hopelessness, which is the most prominent feeling connected to suicide, is lying to you. It's telling you things that are not true, and you can't continue to listen to its voice.

If you have a loved one who is in this fight, you must join the fight with them. Call them, drop by, sit with them (there's such power in sitting with someone who is struggling without expectation of a conversation or entertainment).

Suicide is preventable. Therapy can help. Medication is available. Don't think about what these things look like in a month. Just focus on today.


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