Why I'm Speaking Out on World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day.
I usually keep my participation in this day pretty quiet. It reminds me of dark times. However, I feel compelled this year to speak out. Suicide is a leading cause of death among my age group. It’s a taboo topic. And yet it’s one that I feel strongly should be spoken about. You see, I know all too well what it means to reach the point where you begin to contemplate what your life means to yourself and your loved ones. You begin to contemplate what your worth is in society. And you begin to wonder, is it even worth living anymore? Because how else can you escape the pain you endure every waking moment?
I know this all too well and you may not believe me, but I do. I’m a survivor, many times, in fact. I’ve stared into the blank walls of the ER isolation room and looked through the blinds to the officer standing outside, guarding me and keeping me safe from myself. I’ve struggled with these dark, morbid thoughts for over 10 years of my life, and all I can say is that they consume you from the inside out.
Just in the past couple months I’ve “rediscovered” (they don’t ever go away, I just quiet them) the suicidal tendencies and fantasies I’ve not yet figured out how to manage. I’ve managed to keep these thoughts as just thoughts, and not actions, though I know what I need to do if they become actions. But these thoughts are real. They consume my daily thoughts and actions. They take away from my work, my passions, from being present with the people I love.
I’m the least likely person you thought would be speaking out about this, right? I have it all: an amazing rescue pup, a service dog for my autonomic nervous system condition, a roof over my head, a car to drive, the most amazing network of friends and an adoptive family that has taught me what family really, truly means. I’ve got an amazing little sister, the financial means to support myself and my dogs and a job that allows me to do what I’m passionate about. However, I have a mental illness and I’m a survivor. I’ve lost two co-workers to suicide and countless other fellow students to it as well.
I’m not saying there is a solution, because if there was one, I wouldn’t be speaking out. I am saying the conversation needs to start. It starts with the survivors, like myself. It starts with one. It starts with me. I’m always, always available to talk. I’m more open about my experience as I find myself growing stronger every day, learning how to combat my diseases. I may be chronically suicidal, and I may struggle with PTSD and severe depression, but I still am out there, walking my dogs and smiling at the next stranger to pass me by. Why? Because it is the simple hug, the smile, the warmth of your laughter and your “hello” that has helped prevent my suicide, my death. And it is because of the kindness I’ve received in my journey from those near and dear to me that I pay it forward, that I speak out. Because at the end of the day, change starts with one, change starts 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 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Icons8 Team