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'Suicide': The Word We Don't Want to Say

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This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. As the matter requires, I’ll try my best not to cross that thin line that divides testimonial information from a sensationalist piece. It hurts, as it comes from the darkest of all places, from that place where we all keep those taboo topics safe from public display. It hurts to accept it, to face the fact that you’ve dreamt of never waking up again. I know, fellow reader, it will hurt your heart to face the fact that I’ve gone through that. But we’ve gotta talk about that, about the things that hurt.

About suicide.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because I feel I’ve acquired a responsibility, which is to talk about it, to create awareness. Not only for you and me, for the ones who struggle daily, but for those who are gone but never forgotten. I need to speak up, for their memories to stay alive, for their legacy not to be lost. Speak for those who are for some just statistics now, but that for me are fellow warriors, soldiers who died in the battlefield.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because I refuse to live in a world in which the first response people have towards someone who died by suicide is “what a selfish act.” I’m not defending suicide; it’s painful and absolutely tragic, but thanks to education now I know it’s part of several mental and physical diseases. It’s not, as ignorance made us think, what people do when they aren’t strong enough or when they are selfish. I believe, and I’m learning every day, that there are so many different ways to cope with your emotional pain. I’ve been lucky enough to realize that death isn’t the only “way out.” But I’ve been sad enough to feel empathy, to understand, to feel the stigma that the word “suicide” itself carries. I’ve been frowned upon enough to realize we need to speak up about suicide, to educate ourselves and others. Because talking means we could be saving lives, creating awareness, teaching people.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because I’ve never wished for my own death as I have wished for it in the past year. It’s one thing to want to disappear for a while and another to want to kill yourself. To fantasize about it. To imagine it. To have it become a recurrent thought in your head. To feel the danger you are in and be aware of it. To accept that your head has way too much power. You know it’s wrong to want something so twisted and painful. You are the first to judge yourself, the first to feel ashamed.

I know many won’t get what I’m talking about. But imagine a pain so deep, so hard, so overwhelming that blocks your brain from seeing any way out other than dying. Imagine having feelings so strong and so profound they make you want to crawl out of your own skin.

I know many won’t get it. But it’s not a joke and it’s not a selfish act. The next time you’re going to judge someone who died by suicide, think for a minute. What kind of pain would make you give up on everything you know? It has to be one hell of a pain. One that can’t be described with words. And that person who died, passed away trying to battle that pain away. They were sick. Their disease just wasn’t visible.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because society hides, denies, and teaches people they can’t speak about suicide. We become terrified of being judged, of being made fun of for the marks on our arms. So we keep quiet. We believe what our heads tell us: that there isn’t a way out other than suicide.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because I’m learning to shut up my mind as I’ve seen there are so many ways out other that death. Therapy, medication, friends, family, volunteering, trying out new recipes, “Gilmore Girls” revival, late night conversations, taking pictures with my 2-year-old godson, sleeping until late on a rainy day, and more. I’ve found the joy of life in so, so, so many things.

Your mind may still suggest death as the way out in times of intense pain and deep emotions, and it may still sound convincing sometimes. But as you find tiny reasons to be alive, your mind becomes less and less powerful. Until someday it may be just noise in the background. You show your mind there are other ways and just keep living by living.

By living you can meet new people, form new bonds, create new memories, laugh until you cry for the first time in forever. You can enjoy life again. Please, please find help. Speak up. Your therapist might save your life. With him or her you can find a judgment-free zone. Your family and friends might save your life, loving you just the way you are and guarding your life as if it was their most precious treasure. Life can get better. But you have to ask for help, raise your voice, speak up. All of the good in you, as tiny as it seems, deserves to decide how your story ends.

This is, by far, the most important piece I’ve written. Because I intend to ask you, dear reader, three things. First, talk about all of those topics that are taboo, get information, make them come alive so if someone comes to you with a mental condition, they know you will listen. Second, please, oh please, don’t judge people who die by suicide or their families. Don’t say it was selfish. Don’t say they were weak. If you still can’t find empathy, don’t say anything. I can assure you they tried their best. It doesn’t make them weak. Third and last, let’s all remember those who passed away for so much more than the way they died and the stigma that surrounds it. They were so much more than the way their story on this earth ended. They were so much more than their disease. And they deserve to be remembered like that.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by alex kotlov

Originally published: January 20, 2017
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