Joe Mental Health Column

“You’re worthless. A waste of life.”

These are just a few of the statements I’ve uttered to myself over the years. The conflict between one and themself is a struggle many go through, and with the stigma surrounding mental health shrinking, a dialogue has started, allowing those who suffer to feel like they are not alone.

But even with the conversation becoming more common, it’s still hard to admit when you’re not OK. Looking someone in the eyes and admitting something is wrong can feel like a Herculean task.

Depression is not a sadness or anger, rather a numbness. A numbness that feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulder like the Greek myth of Atlas. An emotional stasis where everything seems static.

The things you love seemingly become mundane and banal, with nothing being able to bring you out of the bleak state of mind.

The scariest part of depression is the fact that you don’t know who has it. And at times you sadly find out about it too late.

Anthony Bourdain is a hero of mine. The man spoke his mind through the use of classic films and a verbose vocabulary. He was living what was to many, the dream life. That didn't change how he felt on the inside.

After seeing “Roadrunner,” the documentary detailing Bourdain’s life, rewatching any of the chef’s work from here on out will have a much more melancholic tone to them knowing how much pain he was going through during it all.

It pains me to know the world no longer has a voice like Bourdain. It is even more painful knowing a daughter lost her father. I am not the type to consider suicide to be a selfish act. Putting yourself in the shoes of another may lead to the realization that the pain inside came to be too much. But to those who have suicidal and harmful thoughts, remember that there is always someone who will listen. It is OK to not be OK. If anyone who might be reading this is having the aforementioned thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

It is disheartening to think that the death of a beloved figure via suicide serves as a reminder to check in on others. A simple text message could change the course of an entire life. You don’t need to write an entire novel, but just a quick check in means the world to someone.

We often jump to conclusions without truly knowing everything that happened prior in a situation. The most recent occurrence of this came when a video showed NFL star Richard Sherman attempting to break into the house of his in-laws. In an uncharacteristic confluence of events, Sherman, a future hall of famer and graduate of Stanford, has gone from heralded athlete to simply the man in the video.

I don’t condone Sherman’s actions, but rather than jump to conclusions, I’ll ask this — what has been going on in his life recently? We don’t know what has happened to Sherman and what he is going through. So why vilify him? He made a bad decision. Just like plenty of people I know. Just like plenty of people you might know. The only difference is his missteps can be viewed as an opening segment for SportsCenter.

It feels incredibly backhanded to encourage people — especially men — to speak up about their mental health and then go and share a video of a man who is already at his lowest and now feels even worse most likely. My thoughts go out to Sherman and his family, and I hope he is able to get the help he needs.

I hope this incident serves as a reminder to everyone that we don’t always know the full story. And maybe that’s for good reason. I don’t know how Richard Sherman felt. I don’t know how Anthony Bourdain felt. And I don’t know how anyone else feels. Neither do you. So why do we continue to assume things we don’t know?

The moral here — sometimes it’s OK to not know.

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