Trigger warning: This piece contains details about suicidal thoughts.
While we are certainly making strides toward making mental health struggles less of a taboo to discuss openly, it's still something a lot of people struggle with — and as a result, still something that people endure alone, without access to the help or support that they need. That is why discussions ignited by people like Craig Stone, who recently shared the story of his journey with depression — and how ultimately, his life looks a whole lot different today than he might have imagined it would at darker points — are so meaningful to so many who relate, whether they feel comfortable talking about it or not. Bustle has reached out to him for comment, and will update this post upon reply.
You may have come across Craig Stone's books before; the author has garnered quite a following with his powerful words, and a recent post about his own personal struggles was no exception. It was roughly eight years ago, Stone wrote in a tweet on Sunday, that he sat on a bench and contemplated ending his life. Revisiting that same bench all these years later, he realized how far he has come — and that, in his own words, "Hang in there. Love is always coming."
His tweet spoke to so many hearts, and at the time of this article, has gathered over 7,000 retweets and nearly 23,000 likes. It seems a lot of people can relate to the story, whether they themselves have had similar experiences, or know a loved one who has.
Since posting the powerful image and accompanying message, his tweet has snowballed, and served as a powerful reminder to so many who are struggling with the same thoughts and feelings.
While Stone is probably having a hard time keeping up with the outpouring of support, he still sees the love people are sending. He told Indy100, "It’s been a waterfall of human kindness. People are sharing their own experiences with depression. People with depression are talking to other people with depression. The conversation is healing. I’ve received direct messages, several from people who just happened to read my tweet while thinking about acting out depressive thoughts. Which is mind blowing."
And to think that Stone wasn't even going to say anything at all. "I was going to walk past the bench and ignore it. It’s a trick of the mind to stay silent; depression demands silence to do its best work, and I’m just as susceptible to that trick as everyone else." But, in what hardly seems to be a coincidence, his wife decided to stop at a store right across from the bench, and his son began playing around it.
Fighting that urge to stay silent is, Stone says, the most important thing. "If depression is the bullet people fire through their heads, silence is the gun ... The only way out of a pit is to announce you have fallen," he says, concluding with another powerful thought: "If we hang around long enough, all the bad days fade to experience."
Stone's story is nothing short of amazing. He was once homeless and lived in a park, which was where he wrote his first book, The Squirrel Who Dreamt of Madness. It was around this time that he also met the woman who would become his wife and the mother of his child. This week, he didn't just reflect back on the person he was on the other side of it; so many who needed hope reflected right alongside him, too.
According to the World Health Organization, every year, around one million people take their own lives. That comes out to about 3,000 per day, or one death every 40 seconds. This doesn't include attempted suicides, either, of which there are about 20 per every suicide.
If you or someone you know are struggling with depressive or suicidal thoughts, talk to someone. Anyone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It's free, confidential, and available 24/7. And remember — "Love is always coming."