5 Things I Need You to Remember on World Suicide Prevention Day
Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.
This is my first year as an advocate, as a writer, and not only as a patient.
This year, I’ve decided that not only do I have to help others stay alive, but I need to celebrate that I’m still alive, too. God knows how hard it has been, but I made it. So from now on, every September 10 I make it alive, I will celebrate it as a second birthday.
This year, I realized not everyone has the amazing support group I’ve got, not everyone has access to help, not everyone has a family who makes them feel safe and worth it. Not everyone has someone who tells them their story is valid, needed and not over. Not everyone has loved ones who work as a reason to be alive, and a reason to be better. Not everyone is as lucky as I am, but we all share a common truth: Suicide is the ghost no one dares to talk about.
For those reasons, I’ve come to the following conclusion: We are all capable of saving a life. We have the duty, for the sake of being human, of supporting suicide prevention. Because it’s not something we can avoid. It’s a reality and a public health matter that keeps growing with every passing minute.
So, if this hits close to home… This is for you.
1. I love you, and I believe in you. I don’t have to know you to say that, and to be truly convinced about that. Because if you are here, you are a warrior. If you are here, it’s because you have a purpose. If you are here, it’s because you need to be here. If this is the first time someone has told you this, I’m sorry. Many times, we think others know how much they matter to us, how much we love them and how essential they are to us. So we don’t say it out loud, but it needs to be said: I love you, you are essential in someone’s life, your story deserves to be told and I’m thankful for your life.
2. You may feel like a burden. I know, I’ve been there. So I’m not going to try to convince you that your mind is a liar (which it is). I’ll just tell you to wait. Wait and see for yourself, that it does get better. That in a moment, you’ll start feeling that you are able, that you are important, that you matter. And it’ll be a flash at first, but then, it’ll become a longer lasting flame…
3. You are not damaged. Yes, you might be broken, but that doesn’t make you any less beautiful. There is a saying about how we need cracks so the light can come out. And it is absolutely inspiring that you’ve decided to carry on, placing the pieces back together. That, my friend, is art. That makes you unique. That makes you beautiful. That makes you inspiring, and others will see it and be amazed by that. I hope you grow to love your cracks, and as you pass your hands through them, a sweet melancholy mixed with victory and resilience will emerge from your soul.
4. You don’t give yourself enough credit. I know, because I’ve been there. Hell, I’m still there. I say, “I don’t do anything special, I just survive.” But when you have a physical or psychological or any type of condition, surviving requires so much effort, so much passion, to hold on tight to life in such a profound and conscious way, that it is special. It requires courage, strength, hope, faith… It is a big deal. So congrats for that. Give your soul a hug today for that.
5. Stay. Just do it. Be alive. Be here. Don’t let suicide have the last word. Don’t let fear and pain decide who you are. Don’t let anything but you guide your ship, even if you’re going through deep, dark, turbulent waters.
A special mention for those who we couldn’t save on time. We remember you on this date more than ever. We can’t take your life back, but we can help families and friends not go through the same pain. We will fight in your name. For us, you aren’t recalled as selfish or weak. For us, you are, and were, fallen soldiers in the battlefield. For that, you deserve all honors, because we know that you fought, you tried, but you couldn’t be here today.
For the survivors, we are thankful. For the ones struggling, we support you. For those who aren’t with us, we honor you. For all of you, we will wear orange and/or yellow.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
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.
Thinkstock photo via 5ugarless