Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s one of those things that needs a day to remind people how important it is, but that should just be something that we think about all the time.
When I was a kid, I went through a period where I slept with a knife under my pillow. I wanted it to be there in case I got the courage up to just make my brain stop torturing me, to make my heart stop hurting. I was teased a lot when I was younger, and there was a time when the only people that I considered my friends abandoned me with harsh, inescapable, written words. I was desperate enough that it was hard to see past the immediate pain and into a future.
Some part of me didn’t want to die, because I showed my sister the notes that had been given t o me that had taken me to my breaking point. I told her how painful it was, and she told my mom. I was angry with her for weeks, but ultimately I’m glad she went for help for me when I was too broken to do it myself.
Through the years, the darkness has come back and told me to give up. Always, I have had someone that I trusted enough to say something to. My friend Jess gave me the number to a suicide prevention hotline when we were in junior high. I never called it, but knowing it was there was grounding for me. It gave me the courage to go on. Others let me tell them how my problems felt too big to bear. Never once did I run into someone that belittled what I was feeling. I was lucky that way.
Somehow I came out the other side unscathed. I got to grow up. I’m so grateful for that. There were people around me that helped prevent me from ending my life. Thank you to all of you.
Now, I’m going to ask a favor of everyone that this reaches: Be there for those around you, even people you maybe don’t know. Think about what you do and say. Slurs toward the LGBTQ community end lives. Telling women that they deserved to die instead of the baby they aborted ends lives. Hate speech, careless words, seemingly harmless teasing, memes that spread like wildfire through social media, telling people they should “die in a fire“, all of these things have more power than you could know. They have the power to be the tipping point for someone already on the edge.
Please, love one another. Think before you speak or repost something on facbeook. Remember that you have the power to save lives by simply being present and kind.
Finally, if you are out there and you are feeling lost, know that you aren’t alone. So many people have been in your shoes, and it is possible to get through. Call someone, anyone, and tell them what you are going through. Be open and honest. There are people out there, me included, that care that you make it through today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Life is livable one day at a time.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
The Trevor Project:
The GLBT National Help Center Hotline: