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A Suicide Prevention Week Plea

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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 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.

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Thinkstock photo via DeepGreen

Originally published: September 10, 2017
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