A Suicide Prevention Week Plea

It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and I just want to take a moment. We’ve had some high profile suicides recently, and those have been tragic. I struggled with Chester Bennington’s myself.

But there are also regular, non-celebrities who die by and consider suicide every day, and that needs to be talked about so much more. We need to acknowledge that you don’t have to be a celebrity for your life to have meaning or to define success. You can be perfectly normal and still matter.

I will be blunt. I have had to tell my mother to hide the knives. I have had to tell my husband that I can’t be responsible for my own safety. Those are two of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I will never forget doing them. But I will never regret doing them either.

It seems like people’s big question is, “But what can I actually do?” I wish I knew the answer. I wish I had at least a battle cry or something, but what I can say is this:

If you care about someone, make damn sure they know it. If you have a friend who is a hugger, even if you’re not, suck it up and hug them. Tell people they matter to you and that you love them. Tell the people you love that you love them over and over.

Maybe, just maybe, when whatever disease is playing tricks on their mind takes over, your words will break through.

And can we take a moment to talk about all this stigma that suicide is selfish? Because it’s bullshit. Complete bullshit. When I had those thoughts, I wasn’t thinking about my own pain. I was thinking about the burden I would be lifting off the ones I love. And when my illnesses tried to trick my mind into thinking it was the only way out? I fought like hell to live with the people I love. I fought for the people that I couldn’t leave behind. So don’t ever tell me suicide is selfish. We’ve just lost too many who had to fight for too long.

If you’re looking for resources, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has helped me, and imlistening.org exists for this very reason. If you’re looking for help, you deserve to find it. And if you’re not looking for help, I just ask that you’re there for the friend that is.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via DeepGreen

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

woman with hand on head looking depressed

When Your Thoughts and Emotions Are Like a Tangled Box of Yarn

A tangled box of yarn. As an elementary art teacher, this is something I have come across so many times over the years. Despite all planning and organization to prevent the mess from happening, it is usually a reality of using yarn with little kids. When I look at the twisted, knotty mess, with loose ends coming [...]

Why This 'Big Brother' Contestant's Rant About Depression Is So Dangerous

It’s suicide prevention month, and as most of you know, suicide is the second leading cause of death in children and teens, second to accidents. Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 3 a.m. (I rarely sleep when I am beginning to swing from bipolar disorder) and went to Twitter to find the following [...]
woman in darkness tying hair behind her head in ponytail or bun

When You Can't 'Think' Your Way Out of Depression

This blog post about depression was recently reposted by Tim Ferriss, a self-help author, podcaster and TV personality. He has a massive reach across his platforms with piles and piles of influence. His main point in the post was: how you “think” about depression is the problem, not the actual disorder. Long story short, he blamed you. He blamed you for [...]
woman covering eyes against unfocused background

What I Wish People Understood About 'High-Functioning' Depression

I have high-functioning depression and I have struggled with mental health issues most of my life. But when I finally gained the confidence to begin talking about it and telling others I had it, I was more often than not met with comments such as: “Wow, I would never have known!” This is part of the difficulty for people [...]