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I Am Not a Liability Because I'm Suicidal

Here’s five facts about people dealing with suicidal thoughts or self-harm you need to know:

1. We breathe.

2. Our hearts beat.

3. We feel pain.

4. We are humans, worthy of love.

5. We are not a liability or a burden.

A few months ago, a group I had been very active with turned their backs on me. This was a group that preached love to all. They said out loud it was not a business, but an organization dedicated to reaching people with love and hope. I had been involved there for years, as was my entire family.

But then I started struggling as childhood trauma surfaced. Things that happened to me I had no control over, that I was not guilty of or responsible for, surfaced after many years and my life fell apart. 

Someone else’s guilty actions when I was a child destroyed my life as an adult. I needed that love and hope the group preached more than ever before, but they were silent. The more I approached them, begging for help, the quieter they became.

My life was spinning and in the darkness of the depression caused by trauma, I wanted that pain to end. I wanted my breath and heartbeat to end because I was tired of the pain. There was no hope in me and I didn’t see myself to be worthy of the love every human should be freely given. I didn’t really want my life to end, I just wanted the pain to end.

When the pain became so bad I couldn’t comprehend it, I harmed myself superficially, and for a second, the pain became less.

I needed this group to come around me and support me almost as much as I needed air in my lungs. But instead of support, there were growing whispers of concern and worry. Rather than come to me, with the respect that should be afforded to fellow humans, they let the stigma hold them at a distance as they whispered.

And then I was asked to step down from the group because they were scared I was going to harm myself. They stated they still wanted my kids around, they hoped to see them at future events. My husband was still scheduled for volunteer shifts. But I was patted on the back and released. 

It was then I realized that I was a liability to them. The things I was struggling with, the sin done against me, wasn’t important to them. What was important was how it would be perceived if I hurt myself or tried to end my life. They were so scared to support me in my mental health crisis that they crushed me even further.

There’s a level of suffering people are comfortable with. But when that line is crossed and it goes from heart-wrenching but culturally acceptable, into gut-wrenching suffering that makes people uncomfortable because of the stigma? The people struggling are seen as liabilities and burdens instead of humans worthy of love, hope and support.

It’s hard, it’s ugly and it comes with a huge stigma attached to it. People are afraid of it and their answer is to call 911 and let the professionals deal with it. But calling the police only deals with it for 72 hours, perhaps even less, sometimes a little longer. When that person is released from the hospital, they’re still in the depths of their own suffering.

Suffering past the acceptable level, suffering past the stigma, does not change a human being into a thing that can be discarded or a business write-off that can be seen as a liability.

We breathe. Our hearts beat. We feel immense pain. We are humans, made of the same skin, emotions and feelings as you. Most importantly, we are worthy of love, even if we can’t see that for ourselves at the time. We need you to be the one that takes a stand and show us by your actions we deserve the basic human need we are all worthy of: love.

We are not liabilities. We are not burdens. Don’t write us off or break us down.

If you want to love us, the people struggling with life’s hardest thoughts, stand beside us. When we reach out to you, don’t turn your back on us because it’s uncomfortable or not acceptable.

I am not a liability and I refuse to believe for a second longer I am. If you want to whisper about me, whisper about how hard I’m fighting. If you want to call me something — call me a survivor.

Getty image by AaronAmat