If only every depressed individual could get this kind of help, we would probably have a lower suicide rate in the world.
An Ohio State University football offensive lineman has penned a heartbreaking look at his depression and thoughts of suicide as he posts his "retirement" notice on Twitter.
Harry Miller, a fourth-year offensive lineman for the Buckeyes, took to the social media site to announce his medical retirement from the team.
In his announcement, he shares a heartbreaking account of his situation and praises his handlers for getting him the help he so desperately needs.
Miller's statement begins, "I am medically retiring."
I would not usually share such information. However, because I have played football, I am no longer afforded the privilege of privacy, so I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, "What is wrong with Harry Miler?" That is a good question. It is a good enough question for me not to know the answer, though I have asked it often. - Harry Miller, via Twitter
I don't know the entire situation surrounding Harry Miller's issues, but I am assuming that it took a huge leap of faith to post this retirement notice.
"Prior to the season last year, I told Coach Day of my intention to kill myself. He immediately had me in touch with Dr. Candice and Dr. Norman, and I received the support I needed." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
Coach Ryan Day, in my eyes, is a hero in this situation.
I don't know what the protocol is for college coaches, but I am hoping that it's to do what Coach Day did and immediately seek professional help for his student-athletes. That immediate help probably saved Miller's life.
We, as a nation, are sometimes quick to label people who are involved in certain activities. We usually see football players as tough and strong, and often commend them when they "shake it off" and play through an injury or ailment.
Harry Miller is brave enough to not only recognize his illness but to seek help in a world that still looks upon that illness as a weakness.
A few weeks after beginning treatment for his issues, Miller says that he started playing football again "with scars on my wrists and throat."
"Maybe the scars were hard to see with my wrists taped up. Maybe it was hard to see the scars through the bright colors of the television. Maybe the scars were hard to hear through all the talk shows and interviews. They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide, but they sure do hurt. There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
"They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide, but they sure do hurt." Those words from Miller gave me chills, as it reminded me of someone I once knew who took his own life. On the outside, he was happy and healthy - what we would call "normal." But on the inside, he was in turmoil, and no one knew it.
"At the time, I would rather be dead than a coward. I'd rather be nothing at all, than have to explain everything that was wrong." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
Do you see that word, "coward"? It's too often that we associate people who admit that they have mental issues with cowards.
When you have a heart issue and you visit a doctor, does that make a coward? When you have lung issues and you visit a doctor, does that make you a coward?
The brain is an organ, just like the heart and the lungs. When you have an issue with an organ, seeing a doctor should not be looked down upon, regardless of the organ.
The stigma surrounding mental health must end.
"A person like me, who supposedly has the entire world in front of them, can be fully prepared to give up the world entire. This is not an issue reserved for the far and away. It is in our homes. It is in our conversations. It is in the people we love." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
It is all around us.
Miller goes on to say that, in spite of his request for help, he will go on to spread love and be grateful for those who "preserved" him with kindness.
"And so I will love more than I can be hated or laughed at, for I know the people who are sneering need most the love that I was looking for. The cost of apathy is life, but the price of life is as small as an act of kindness. I am a life preserved by the kindness that was offered to me by others when I could not produce kindness for myself." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
A simple kind word could be enough to bring light to someone who can't find it, even though it's shining in their face.
Miller goes on to thank Coach Day for his help and for allowing him to help others on the team.
"I am grateful for the infrastructure Coach day has put in place at Ohio State, and I am grateful that he is letting me find a new way to help others in the program. I hope athletic departments around the country do the same. If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
It's obvious that Coach Day, indeed, saved Harry Miller's life.
"God bless those who love. God Bless those who weep. And God bless those who hurt and only know how to share their hurt by anger, for they are learning to love with me." - Harry Miller, via Twitter
Miller ends his statement with a simple "I am okay", along with the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Latin "Dum Spiro Spero": While I Breathe, I Hope.
I hope that Miller's statement helps squash the stigma surrounding depression and other mental issues, and I also hope that he sees the light shining upon him.
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