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Why We Need to Stop Fearing the ’S-Word’

Suicide.

The word scared the heck out of you, didn’t it? I’m sure my grandmas both cringed. Sorry, grandmas. I couldn’t say the word two months ago. It terrified me. Now, it’s a part of my daily vocabulary — something that will come up when my girlfriends call to talk before bed. “I am suicidal” is something that takes the same amount of effort as saying I have a cold.

I don’t want to discredit the word. It’s a serious topic and something so many need to seek help for. But, if we are so scared of the word, how are able to do anything about it? If parents and friends shut down when someone reaches out, that person is more likely to keep going about their business of being sick. If there’s anything I would like to tell someone suffering out there who comes across my words, it’s that you are sick. I don’t mean this as something negative. I just want to remind you it’s not your fault. It’s an illness. Let me tell you again — this is not your fault.

Now here’s my message to parents, friends and kittens of those going through this: Just be there. I have the most incredible support system and that’s all they do — be there. I truly credit these people with saving my life. This doesn’t mean it didn’t take extreme courage to dial the phone initially. If you are the one to answer the phone or hold them through the night, this is all they need to be told:

They are safe.

You are there.

This will pass.

Keep breathing.

It’s pretty simple, really. I am begging those who need help: reach out. I am begging those who get reached out to: stay calm. This is a beautiful, sick life at stake. This isn’t an illness to fear; it’s just an illness to fight. I have dangled my foot over the edge too many times. Some nights, driving isn’t safe. There have been summer nights when summer camp hasn’t been safe. Just keep the person safe.

The thing is, I know I’m not alone, which is the truly terrifying thing about the word. Neither are you. I know you don’t want to die, but rather you just don’t see any other option for escaping. I really do know. I’m not 100 percent cured and this is something I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. The message I’m trying to send to the world is this: Get. Help. This is an illness that takes too many lives. Thank you to those who have saved me. I will never be able to say that enough. If this isn’t something you struggle with — thank God — then be the person someone else can thank someday.

You can do this, and frankly, you don’t have any other choice.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash