• Roger Chamberlain shared a letter in the Group logo of Mental HealthMental Health group 1 month, 1 week ago

    Speaking up

    Dear Ian,

    Two years ago today you lost your life to suicide. 730 days have passed without the gifts your life brought to this world. It feels a little dimmer now without your light in it.

    You were a friend and co worker, a car enthusiast and so much more. You made the choice to serve your country. You gave us all so much. A storm that I know all too well myself robbed this world of you. Lost in what seemed like hopeless battle you fell much too soon. I wish I had done more to help you. As your supervisor at work I knew some of what you were going through. I tried to counsel you as best I knew how, all while fighting that same darkness inside my own mind.

    I cannot live my life in regret and I’m choosing not for you my friend. Each day I talk about the struggles we both faced and still face. Men are conditioned that they can’t show emotion and shouldn’t cry. To honor you I’m flying full on in the face of that. The things men are conditioned to is all FUCKING BULLSHIT! We have our emotions, and we need to cry too. The macho facade isn’t just a disservice to us, it is literally killing us, and in silence men everywhere suffer. I refuse to allow that to continue.

    Mental illness has been a chapter of my life I never used to discuss. For you Ian, I’m breaking that silence daily. I owe that to you and all men who are suffering under a stigma created by some BS stereotype. We need help, and if I have to scream it from a rooftop I will plead for it.

    According to SAVE, 48, 183 people in America died by suicide in 2021. Sadly Ian, you were a part of a gruesome statistic. Nearly every 11 minutes another life is lost to suicide. 6 people an hour, 144 people a day. 144 people too many.

    We have to start at the root of the cause and that is the stigma of mental health and mental illness. Most people feel ashamed of needing help, many suffer behind fake smiles until the pain they feel in their minds is too great. We need to completely change the conversation on mental illness. I talk openly every day about it because it needs to be talked about. If my voice and my experience being voiced convinces even 1 person to talk about what they’re going through, well that is a beginning.

    We need to expand mental health coverage, making it more affordable, cost sometimes acts as a barrier even when the stigma hasn’t shamed a person to silence. Health insurance should give greater freedom in options and reduce co pays for counseling or other treatment options.

    Though there’s one element that costs absolutely nothing. No legislation is required, no movement required. That element is kindness. We have to cast aside perceptions that might leave someone feeling like there’s no place for them in this world. Treating each other in equality is something that doesn’t cost anything buy can mean everything.

    A favorite quote of mine comes from Robert Kennedy and today it means something radically more to me. He said this

    “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope”

    Today I send my ripple of hope, to anyone who feels ashamed to speak. To you Ian as a memorial to a life gone too soon. To anyone that wishes to join me to send theirs, so that we can form the current of change. We simply cannot stand idly by and watch as this epidemic continues, otherwise some day it will mean more to you when it is someone you know that is dear to you. That didn’t give any indication. Let us all act to spare the pain of loved ones left behind and those that were so overwhelmed by pain that they saw no other choice in a illogical hurricane than to take their own life.

    I know this won’t be easy and I am prepared for a battle for the lives of so many against the enemy that is suicide.

    Ian, I may be exhausted when I arrive in Valhalla, but it will be because I fought a battle here in honor of you. Rest easy my friend

    Roger Chamberlain

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    • aww, Roger, Ian is lucky to have a friend like you. I am sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful way to honor him – to take care of yourself and also help erase the stigma surrounding men and mental health. I know he is watching down on you and grateful for your thoughtfulness and all that you do. This is a beautiful tribute. <3 Lauren

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      • Ian and I shared a common belief in Norse Mythology. I know that a day will come when we do battle against evil in Valhalla.

        A simple phrase in Latin, Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

        It means if you want peace, prepare for war. I’m preparing for a war against something that is very personal to me. It is now that I come to understand a lot of the feelings as to why I found a way through the darkness. It is now that I begin to answer a call that has been lingering in my mind for too long. Now it is loud and clear.

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    • Roger, I’m so sorry you had to lose such an amazing person to share. Amazing memories with Ian. I’m sure he’s also glad to have someone like you refresh his memories on this earth with you. Keep shining his light.

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