Can't believe we are here again, beginning another season already! So much has happened that I am not even sure where to begin, but like I was always taught growing up -- you just have to buckle down and find someplace to start.
As everyone knows, it's been an extremely difficult and challenging off-season for all of us, obviously for no one more so than Taylor. When we began this journey on this show, I think all of us expected to have some ups and downs, and we knew it would be hard to see some parts of our lives play out on TV. Of course, nothing we imagined could even compare to the reality of losing one of our own to suicide.
I know there has been a lot of debate in the media about whether or not the season should go on, and if so, then how much of Taylor and Russell's struggle should be shown. I can only speak for myself when I say that I felt that out of the worst of situations, we had a chance to actually do something positive -- and that's to really confront and expose the epidemic of suicide. The more I learned about just how many people we lose each year to this tragic epidemic, the more convinced I became that we had to create awareness of how to talk about suicidal thoughts, how to reach out for help and how to prevent this from happening in the first place. I learned that suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst our youth -- so why aren't we talking about this more? Too often in these cases, suicidal people are embarrassed about their thoughts, and families coping with the resulting loss feel like it is their fault they lost someone in this way -- so the subject is hidden or danced around. Is it painful and uncomfortable to watch? Yes. But this is the reality we are facing. We are watching our lives in hindsight just as you are. We're looking for clues as to what was to come, just like you are. It's a process of grieving and understanding -- and it doesn't get more real than this.