Suicide Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

This month is suicide prevention month so let’s talk about suicide awareness. I want to take a moment to speak about suicide and my own experience. I’ve been through it and if you’ve been around awhile you know how passionate I am about mental health.

I don’t remember when I first thought about suicide but I do remember being about 11 or 12 and feeling like I didn’t want to exist anymore. I wanted to disappear but I didn’t understand why.

As I got older and hormones and puberty kicked in I struggled a lot with my body image and even more with (what I didn’t realize at the time) social anxiety. Suicide became something that I thought about often as a teenager and into my early adulthood.

I thought that there was something wrong with me.

There were things wrong with me and that’s okay. We all have issues and baggage and mental illness is just that – something wrong with your brain chemistry that you can not control. I was struggling but I thought I was alone. I thought I was broken. It was always going to be this way. I thought no one else understood how I felt. I felt like I was going to feel sad forever, I was wrong.

Those feelings are not terminal.

I was so afraid to get help because I thought it made me weak and mental illness terrified me. I felt like I couldn’t see a doctor because I didn’t want to be labeled.  Everything about seeking help made me feel anxious and I felt like it was better to suffer alone because I didn’t want to be a burden but there were so many things stopping me from seeking help. Suicide awareness wasn’t really a thing – I just knew that people did it and they went to hell for doing it and that everyone always said how selfish it was.

No one talked about the reasons or about mental health in general.

I remember the turning point. 

I was 21 and I had just broken up with my boyfriend. It was an emotionally manipulative and abusive relationship but without it I felt like I was nothing. I had been idealizing suicide for months. I wanted to stop hurting. My heart was so full of pain. I wanted him to realize how much he had hurt me. I wanted to stop trying to find a way to cope with a pain that seemed insurmountable.

Eventually, I reached my breaking point. I was having a really terrible day and I decided to call a suicide hotline. I poured my broken heart out to a stranger.

There was so much healing in just that action.

I acknowledged that I was in pain and I couldn’t deal with it. I let myself be weak and feel broken and sob uncontrollably to the unknown woman on the other end of the line.

It was terrifying but it also felt right. I don’t remember her name or anything specific that she said to me other than that I was not alone, there was help out there and what I was dealing with was something that I had the strength to overcome.

It made me feel just a little better.

I got off the phone with her and I debated upon checking myself in somewhere. Looking back, I probably should have but there was still that fear of what will people say? What will they think? Will seeing a doctor confirm all of my fears about how much is wrong with me? My anxiety kicked into overdrive. Instead, I called a friend that came and stayed the day with me, allowing me to talk and cry even more.

I needed help and that was okay.

That day I realized a lot of important things. I didn’t have to kill myself. I was not irrevocably broken. There was help out there and it would actually help. I realized that I had really really bad coping skills and I needed to work on that. My depression was out of control and I needed to manage that. My self-esteem and self-worth were non-existent and I needed to fix that.

I realized that I could do all of those things. None of them were impossible. None of it was hopeless and I didn’t have to do any of it by myself.

That was the last time I got to the point of seriously considering ending my life. I’ve had severe periods of depression since that day, I’ve thought about suicide since that day, but I know that whatever is making me feel lost and hopeless is not permanent. That’s why we need suicide awareness.

It gets better. 

Here are some resources for anyone thinking that suicide is the only way out. It isn’t. There are a myriad of paths in front of you. Do some exploration. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone, to try therapy, to get on medication, to speak your truth and your story.

Share these numbers for suicide awareness and to help others that are struggling.

Suicide Awareness Resources

Toll-free National Suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

I’m Alive An Online Crisis Network. chat with a Crisis Intervention volunteer online.

Crisis Text Line TEXT “START” TO 741-741 to text with a crisis counselor.

Lifeline Crisis Chat Talk to a Lifeline Crisis volunteer.

Other Important resources:

(800) 442-4673 …. National Hopeline Network, Suicide & Crisis Hotline

(800) 784-2432 …. Spanish speaking suicide hotline

(877) 838-2838 …. Veterans peer support line

(800) 773-6667 …. Postpartum depression hotline

(800) 246-7743 …. GLBT National Youth Talkline

(800) 799-7233 …. National Domestic Violence Hotline

(800) 656-4673 …. Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

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