Jared David Yazujian
May 4, 2000 - January 2, 2020
I struggle to wrap my head around the fact that mental illness is still being pushed under the carpet. Why? I don’t want to be the next person to say, “hey, it’s 2020 let’s get ourselves together here and stop the horrible stigma around mental illness.” The first step to eliminating a stigma is to talk about it. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions is a brave way to educate others. However, to those with a mental illness, talking about their problems may seem like a sign of weakness. This is because we are conditioned with sayings like “other people have it worse than you,” “you shouldn’t feel the way you are feeling,” or famously “boys don’t cry.” In addition to possible being a sign of weakness, the way mental health is talked about in the news- like it is something to be feared. As a society, we need to change our language so those who are suffering are able to talk freely.
I suffer from anxiety, and I am so lucky to have supportive friends and family, but I also have people in my life who can’t believe that I have a mental illness. They say “you don’t look nervous/anxious” or “why do you feel that way” but I have come to realize that they say these things because they either don’t suffer from it or simply can’t understand it.
If my, or anyone’s, mental illness was ever brought into conversation please realize, we never asked you to understand it. We, as people, are telling you because we clearly trust you enough to know this about us. If I am opening up to you as a person, friend, family member, I am asking for you to listen to me and be there for me. I am not asking you to solve my problems for me. This goes for all people who struggle with mental illness. Don’t judge someone because you do not understand. What you can do is be there for them and support them the best you can. I have luckily found ways to cope with my mental illness through spending time with friends and family, horseback riding, and keeping my mind and body busy so I don’t have time to have thoughts that bring me anxiety.
Hunterdon County NJ just lost a beloved young man due to depression. Jared was known to be good hearted, hardworking, and goofy, not to mention that he had a smile that would light up whatever room he entered. Jared was the type of person you would meet once and you were forever friends. “Jared desired to always have fun yet also was always driven to be successful, took pride in all he did and was always inspiring others to be better versions of themselves.” Jared wanted it to be known that this was no one’s fault, that no one was to blame for his decision but to continue and move forward by living full and meaningful lives. Questions will forever be asked about why he didn’t ask for help, why he chose to end his own life, how they could have stopped him. These are the questions that will probably go unanswered. The wish of Jared’s friends and family is that he be remembered for all the acts of kindness that filled his life and that others do small gestures of love where ever they go, even if it is just smiling at a stranger. Jared’s passing has left countless people heartbroken and speechless. The amount of love and support I witnessed during his procession was heartwarming and truly beautiful. There was no better way to send Jared off in peace.
Depression is known as the silent killer. It affects roughly 264 million people worldwide and negatively affects how one feels, acts, and thinks. Depression causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities that they once loved. Depression can make someone feel hopeless, worthless, and helpless, resulting in no longer being able to function in everyday life like one used to.
The biggest struggle and the first step for anyone suffering mental illness is admitting that something is wrong. Depression is real. It is an illness and just like any illness help and treatment options are available. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, a good place to start is seeing your doctor. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation to address your mental health needs.
If you know someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression, any mental illness or symptoms, try to have an open mind, don’t try to give advice, and listen without judgement and be there for them. Encourage them that help is out there- to talk to a doctor or a therapist. Other things you can do to support someone with a mental illness is stay connected with them, hang out with them, help them with what they are struggling with, or recommended exercise/physical activities to create positive feelings which would help improve one’s mood. Encourage them to try to stay in the activities that they enjoy, get enough sleep, maintain eating habits and avoid alcohol (which is a depressant). The busier one will be the less time they have for their thoughts to take charge.
Be the warrior battling mental illness, or be the warrior staying on top of your loved one, helping them every step of the way. We are not asking you to understand, we are asking for your patience and support. You can be the difference in someone’s life.
To Jared, may you rest in peace.