What I Want Every Young Suicidal Person to Know
Today I took flowers to a close friend. Just a few days ago he informed me that his little cousin, at 18 years of age, died by suicide. Like a slap to the face, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped. Like a mathematical equation beyond my grasp, my mind struggled to comprehend the news. The only response I could muster was silence followed by a tight hug.
These tragic stories are all too familiar to me. I’ve been working in the mental health space for two years, but nothing can prepare you for when tragedy strikes so close. Then there’s a flood of feelings and thoughts that whirl around: “What if?”
I can’t comprehend what her family is going through. But having crossed paths with her on several occasions, part of me wonders if there’s something I could have done or said.
She’s gone now. But in the hope of saving another young person out there, I feel the following words are still deserving of their place:
There’s a look in your eyes; a heaviness in your heart. You don’t feel strong, but believe me you are — as I’m sure there are a lot of people being fooled by the front you’re holding up. The reason I can see past it is because I’ve been on the other side when I was younger. I won’t for a second tell you that your problems don’t matter or you should “move on.” All I ask for you to do is wait.
Time has a way with things, but we unfortunately only learn this when we’ve experienced enough of it. I’m not saying I’m whole, flawless or without my own occasional difficult days; I’m just trying to gently remind you that you’re probably not there yet.
In the most loving way, I’m trying to say that you’re still young, like the dawn of a new day; a rising sun unaware of the heights it will reach and of how many people it’s yet to touch with its warmth. Life is yet to surprise you, but first it needs a chance. You can do that by giving yourself time. You may not feel like it, but you’re worth every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year. And there’s people out there who will give you every second, minute, hour, day, week and year of support you need. Please reach out to them.
Follow this journey 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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
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Unsplash photo via Wellington Sanipe