Earlier this month, a friend from a different community announced that she would be organizing a blog tour for Suicide Prevention Awareness. I had told her I was interested, but it took me a while to figure out how to put the importance of this subject into words that made sense.
The result is probably the longest thing I've ever written (that's online, anyway) - an open love letter to anyone who has ever felt alone or struggled with depression or thoughts of suicide.
Because that was me at one point.
The post is way too long to share in its entirety here, so if you want to read it all, you can do so here. (Feel free to ignore the debt parts - the focus of this particular tour was on the link between depression and debt, but I kind of ignore debt and go more in-depth with how I overcame things after that.)
Here's an excerpt -
This is an open love letter to anyone who has struggled with debt, suicidal thoughts, depression, or any combination of those. I want you to know that you’re not alone in this.
Why Suicide Isn't the Answer - My Story
I am firmly in the “suicide is not the answer” camp. But it wasn’t always that way.
Throughout much of middle school and high school, I struggled with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.
I attribute much of it to the bullying I endured during those years. I was carefully picked apart, feature by feature, trait by trait, by a handful of assholes who had nothing better to do. And I had no one to turn to.
One incident sticks out the most in my head: I was on the lunch line with a few friends when kids behind us started making fun of my teeth. At the time, my parents couldn’t afford braces, and my front teeth were, well, prominent.
I felt my face flush instantly. My friends quietly adverted their eyes, and no teachers were paying attention. I endured several more moments of verbal poking and prodding before running off the line and back to my table, tears running down my face.
When my ‘friends’ came back, they expressed some sympathy, but conversation around another topic resumed and that was that.
I could never come up with any reason for the bullying other than I was quiet, which made me an easy target. Which also sucked, because it made me wish for the power of invisibility more and more each time it happened.
I started thinking that my sole purpose on this earth was to be tortured at school. (Dramatic much?) At the time, I had one or two friends I could turn to, but when I tried to confide in them, it was clear they felt uncomfortable.
As a result, I felt completely alone, and things only went downhill from there. It wasn’t long before I would pass a group of laughing kids in the hallway, wondering what I did to elicit such a reaction. (Yep, I was super paranoid.)
Once a proud holder of ‘perfect attendance’ awards, I started missing school because it felt like a prison. I would wake up each day with the thought not this again.
Not only did I hate what my life had become, but I hated myself. I was firmly convinced I wasn’t worthy of love, and that there was no reason for anyone to love me anyway, so what did it matter?
Eventually the pain subsided; it was replaced with emptiness. I had cried enough tears, ran myself ragged with negative thoughts, and my soul had been ravaged. What was I doing with my life? Why did it matter? I don’t mean anything to anyone. Everyone always looks the other way. Their eyes speak of hate and disgust. I’m just a burden.
It was easier to go through the motions and put on a fake face to please others to avoid the inevitable are you okay?
But a life of emptiness has no roads to travel. Being directionless, it becomes pointless. So I found myself planning how it would all end.
Yet, for all the planning I did (and I’m quite the planner), I could never pull the trigger – in any sense of the word.
To spare you the unnecessary details, I eventually reached the precipice. I had to make a decision: end it, or figure out a way down.
I chose the latter, though it wasn’t an easy decision. Considering I had to build the road from scratch, the journey was anything but quick.
That journey taught me that suicide is not the answer. It took me years to reach that conclusion, but thoughts of suicide haven’t entered my mind since. 10 years ago, I never thought I would find peace, but I did.
Everyone’s journey is different, of course. What worked for me might not work for you. But I still believe that we have the power to control our destiny – we can choose to live, to find peace, to love and receive love.
That choice is one of the most difficult choices we will have to make in life, but it has been worth every struggle and battle I've endured. Even the ones I lost - especially the ones I lost, because I learned the most from them.
You're Not Alone
I'm all for being independent, but connection is something most of us crave. Sometimes we need the help of others to make it through, and there's absolutely no shame in that. We weren't meant to live in isolation. We're all trying to figure this shit out and stumbling along the way. So please, reach out and ask for help when you need it. Form connections with others because we all have something to learn from and teach each other. If you ever need someone to listen, I'm here.
What follows in my post is how I regained control over my life - my story - and why it matters. I talk about forgiveness, leaning into the pain, being enough, asking for help, practicing gratitude, the power of music, finding meaning, and why happiness shouldn't be our end goal.
Side note: As part of the music section, I also created a playlist that contains a range of songs which reflect the inner turmoil we all wade through at some point. There's a bunch of different genres and moods in there, but if you find turning to music helpful, I encourage you to make your own playlists as a form of therapy.
I hope this helps.