Your Story Matters, No Matter What
Navigating through life is hard. There are so many bumps and waves and moments on this journey where the end of the tunnel is dark. Moments ingrained so deep in anxiety and panic that the brain shuts down.
Where the end of the maze isn’t reachable because it feels as though it’s never-ending. Moments where the trauma and pain is overwhelming. Where the smallest event or word can set off a trigger. During these moments, ending everything may seem like a solution because the darkness is overwhelming. Though each experience is different, I promise you it will get lighter even if things are pitch black right now.
I want you to know I don’t have the answers. I’m not even sure if I have one. Our stories are different. Your anxiety may be different than mine. You may or may not have been affected by suicide. You might not have had an eating disorder. But regardless, no matter what I’ve been through or what you’ve been through, our stories are so valuable. No experience is identical, but that’s what makes them full of worth.
That’s what makes our stories matter.
There are days where I’m in a heap in the middle of the floor feeling like my legs can’t hold me up because the weight of the world is crushing. Days where I question everything I’ve ever done in my life, days where I worry incessantly to the point where I become physically ill, and days where I feel like I’m not good enough and am stuck in a self-loathing cycle.
Losing my dad to suicide fractured my life is so many places. I’m still trying to figure out how to put them back together, where they all fit. Sometimes I start to put them back and they slip out of my hands, shattering back on the floor. But in trying to put the pieces back, I’ve learned that speaking out, becoming a catalyst for change, is so important. For years, I was quiet about suicide because of the stigma. I was worried about what other people would think of me. Worried that people might think I’m being dramatic or pitying myself. But in actuality, none of those things were correct. My irrational mind was speaking, silencing my rational mind. Now, I am relieved to have found my voice. Suicide is such an important matter, and I hope more people will start to speak out.
I only knew my dad for eight years. I have a letter I kept when he was in the hospital dealing with bipolar and depression. He wrote to my sister and I, “I’m working on being a better daddy to you girls. Please be good for Mommy and know that I love you and Mommy very much.” For years, I held such anger towards my dad for leaving us. Anger because I didn’t understand why or how he could do this. It took time, but I’m no longer overcome with anger when I think of my dad. I’m sad that he couldn’t overcome his demons. My dad fought. He wanted to get better, but he just couldn’t get out of the dark place. I know he wanted to be the best dad he could to my sister and I. I know he loved us.
Speaking out about suicide, telling my story and becoming a catalyst for change and prevention is a part of my healing. I will always love my dad and hope we can get people the resources they need to get better, to feel like they’re not alone.
Though Suicide Prevention Month is in September, let’s continue to use our voices throughout the year to incite change. Our stories are different, but they’re all important.