Rousey visiting the show "Ellen." (Source: Instagram.com/rondarousey)

Rousey visiting the show “Ellen.” (Source: Instagram.com/rondarousey)

 

Dear Ronda,

A lot of people have been talking about you lately. And why shouldn’t they? You’re a big name, you’re someone seen as strong, so strong, and you said you were thinking about suicide. So people are talking. A lot of people are proud of you, because you were so brutally honest and that’s something that’s hard to do when you’re supposed to be strong.

But not everyone is supportive.

It still shocks me that there are people who don’t understand. People who think that, because they’ve never been in such a dark place, you shouldn’t be either. People who think that if you have religion you should never think about suicide.

I just want you to know that I get it. I’ve been in that place. I read what you said, that you asked yourself who you would be without that win, and — wow. I’ve had that same thought, almost word-for-word.

Who am I if I don’t get an “A” in this class?

Who am I if I don’t get this job?

Who am I if someone is a better writer, gets more views on their articles, gets more money?

Who am I if I’m not the outward things that seem to define me?

It’s so hard to find a definition for my life. I wonder so often why I’m alive — why was I given the opportunity to occupy this space when maybe someone else could have done a better job of it. That person might still have been “Karis Rogerson,” but she would have had a different personality, a better personality, have had a different impact, a better impact.

And so, when things go wrong, I think about killing myself. Sometimes I make a plan; sometimes it’s just a thought, a “what-if?” a “why don’t I?”

I don’t know if you made a plan of if your thoughts were just “why don’t I’s,” but I do know that in any case, I take it seriously.

I take your pain seriously, Ronda. Not everyone will, and a lot of people will tell you that you shouldn’t, either. That you should just look on that moment as a blip, and then move on.


I take your pain seriously, Ronda. Not everyone will, and a lot of people will tell you that you shouldn’t, either. That you should just look on that moment as a blip, and then move on.


“When [Rousey] says like, ‘Oh, I was, you know, considering suicide,’ I don’t necessarily think she meant like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go home and, you know, actually do it,’ but it just feels like you want to die.”

That’s what Miesha Tate said. I’m sure she was trying to be supportive, to be helpful by saying that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

I had this moment three years ago, where I took a knife to my wrist and made a few cuts. Then I went to the hospital. The doctors tried to tell me that I should go home, because it wasn’t that big a deal. Obviously I wasn’t really suicidal, because I’d done so little damage to myself. It took someone else, my boss, to call that was it was: bull. To say that my pain was real, regardless of how it manifested itself.

I’d like to do that for you, Ronda. I want to look you in the eye and say, “Your pain is real.” You need to know that.

Hopefully you’ve been able to move past it. Even if so, I want you to know that I accept how real it was in the moment.

But if it wasn’t just a blip — if you haven’t been able to get over it or have just buried it instead of dealing with it — I hope you’re getting help. There’s no shame in that. You need to get help, so you can go back out there and kick butt, so you can show the world that being depressed does not make you any less strong.

You are a strong woman. Not just physically, although you do things I could never dream of — like, hello, I couldn’t fight someone else if my life depended on it. But you’re strong on the inside, strong enough to confess what you thought, to stand by it, to want to fight the stigma of mental illness.

I applaud you for that.


Thank you for doing what I can’t do, for using your fame and reach to do what I’m trying to do, but with so much more impact. You rock. You’re a hero.


I’m not a big fan of sports; I watch them, but I don’t follow them, especially MMA. but I want you to know that I’m now your fan. I’m with you. I’m cheering for you. You got this, girl.

And I want to say thank you. Thank you for doing what I can’t do, for using your fame and reach to do what I’m trying to do, but with so much more impact. You rock. You’re a hero.

Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com.

If you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm, there is hope. You can call 1-800-273-TALK to chat with someone about it. For a list of other resources, visit the website of To Write Love on Her Arms here.