I am done letting others silence me.
I am done being told that this is “too dark” of a subject to talk about.
I am DONE being told that speaking out about suicide will hurt my reputation or make others think differently of me. If people like me are not brave enough to use their voice, it could hinder someone else from speaking up, unintentionally creating a ripple effect that will keep suicide awareness a taboo subject.
While sharing my story may not change the world, it might save a life. That in of itself is worth putting aside my pride and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Several years ago, life dealt me a complicated hand. I say complicated instead of bad because realistically, I was blessed. My family and I were in good health. I had a roof over my head and food on the table. I was very loved and well taken care of. Deep down, I knew how much I had, and how incredibly fortunate I was. But when you are a moody, confused teenager, and are suddenly torn away from your childhood friends and hometown, the world is ending.
This alone is not what put suicidal thoughts into my head. Those of you who have struggled with it know that there are so many factors that come into play. Many elements of my life were changing at such a quick pace. I felt unworthy of love. I felt like a failure, like I was a disappointment to everyone. I had convinced myself that the world would be better without me. Then I started planning the quickest, most painless way to do it. I even wrote multiple suicide letters to all of my loved ones. If nothing else, I wanted them to know how much they meant to me, and how sorry I was for being such a heavy burden. Once I had the details figured out, I waited for everyone to fall asleep before I snuck out to the garage. As I closed the car door and turned the key, I begged God for a reason to stay. Like most individuals who struggle with suicidal thoughts, I did not want to die. I just had no reason to live. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate when a picture of my baby cousins popped into my mind. They had fought so long and hard to stay alive, and here I was taking my life for granted. I also thought about how much I wanted to see who they would become, and how it would be impossible to protect them if I was no longer here.
So I decided to stay.
My road to recovery was not an easy one. Especially since the select few that I opened up to, immediately shut me down. They told me to keep my feelings to myself which is exactly what I did for a very long time. I let others convince me that suicide isn’t something you speak openly about, and if you are struggling, you should keep quiet and hope that the feeling goes away. I let others belittle my pain and treat me as a lesser because of it. I believed them when they told me that my scars were something I should be ashamed of. Many friends walked out of my life because I was “too broken”, and the subject of suicide scared them to the core.
I am here to tell you that silence is NOT the answer. Speak out. Scream. Whisper. Do whatever you need to do, but do not remain quiet. If you are struggling, reach out to a friend, family member, me or whoever you feel the most comfortable with. Do not suffer in silence, and never let anyone treat you as a burden. You are far more important than you will ever know, and you were created for a purpose.
Approximately, one million people are lost each year from suicide, and that number is estimated to almost double in the near future. The more of us who are brave enough to speak out, the more people we can help and ultimately save. So please use your voice. Share your story. The time is now.