Trigger Warning: This article contains references to depression and suicide, which some readers may find disturbing. Currently, the individual referred to in this article is well, having sought out the help they felt they needed. They have opted to share their story to show solidarity and offer advice for anyone going through the same situation.
How often have you thought of the person beside you? The lady next to you on the bus ride? The guy you passed by on the sidewalk? The person you see every day at your usual workout place How often do you think about others? About what they go through, and what they are dealing with. How they really feel. How often have you lied when asked, “How are you?”
On February 22nd, 2019, I survived a suicide attempt. I’m that smiley person who everyone gets positive energy from. That person who encourages others and is there for you when you’re down. The person who everyone says, “You’re always happy!” So does it seem strange that this version of me attempted suicide? Not so much, if you truly knew what being depressed and suicidal actually means.
Depression comes in many different forms. It can be unique to every individual. But the common thing is that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that cannot be cured by “just snapping out of it,” “going for a walk,” or “thinking happy thoughts.” Depression is complicated and hard. More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression each year, with 14.8 million of them being American adults.
Depression can lead to becoming suicidal. According to research conducted by The World Health Organization (WHO), roughly one million people die due to suicide every year. That is one person every 40 seconds. Bear in mind, it’s critical not to self-diagnose yourself with depression, but to reach out to a professional to truly understand what is going on.
Despite the seriousness of this topic, we don’t hear about it as often as we should, we don’t learn about it enough, and we certainly don’t know how to react, or deal with it.
I have been depressed for a very long time. I’ve tried different medications, therapy, and anything that doctors recommended in order to stay safe. That’s how we’d like to say, not being suicidal. Yet, I did what we were trying to prevent from happening a couple of weeks ago. I have my reasons. I can’t say I regret it. And I certainly don’t need to explain myself to anyone. The reason I’m writing about it is to raise some more awareness and be a little help.
I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. But every time I thought of my mom, my dad, my brother, my friends, my community, my dreams, and the small, happy moments in life, I wouldn’t do it. I would think of those, and then text the Suicide Hotline. The next day, I would move on with my life, showing the same positive person on the outside.
But this time, I was convinced no one needed me. I was convinced that by being alive I was just hurting myself and being of no good. I was also loaded with self-hatred. And when you are in the cycle of self-hatred, it’s hard to get out. The cycle doesn’t even let you get help for it because it makes you feel like that’s self-care and you don’t deserve that. So, I didn’t call for help, as I should have. I went with my thoughts.
However, one good thing that I had done was listened to my therapist and trusted two or three of my closest friends to tell them about the seriousness of my depression. I told them about how I truly felt, which was hard. It’s hard to talk about your true feelings with anyone, but I did it because I knew it would be one of the main ways to make sure I stayed safe. And I was right. I told my friends that if they saw any sign of me wanting to hurt myself, they should call the police on me. And on February 22nd, one of them did, and I was saved.
The point here is for you to have a couple of people that know your situation and always look out for you. They can be anyone you are comfortable enough talking to. But don’t stick to one person. Tell a couple of others just in case the other one isn’t available at the time.
One of the many mistakes I made is that I had let my feelings and thoughts pile up inside me. Not only did I not have an outlet that satisfied me, but I didn’t talk to my trusted people for a long time. I tried to push them away, which is part of the self-hatred cycle. Having those two or three friends that you talk to about your feelings and thoughts comfortably, with no judgment, is very important. As humans, we are dependent on socializing and feeling loved.
Obviously, talking shouldn’t be the only thing we do for ourselves. Writing, meditating, working out, reading, and anything that improves our mental and physical health are all necessary along with seeking out professional help. I denied myself all of that. That was my way of giving-in to my thoughts of self-harm. Some people cut themselves; I destructed my whole being.
I still have strong urges of self-harm. Sometimes, my mind still doesn’t think clearly and I’m still confused about how I feel. Truthfully, I’m still in the danger zone. But I’m getting the professional help I need.
After I did what I did, people who knew what happened reacted in interesting ways. Almost all of them were mad at me and very worried, of course. But also, most of them thought I did it because of something they had done. They blamed themselves. I told them that it wasn’t their fault at all, but none of them wanted to accept it. On the other hand, they didn’t change a single thing about themselves. They were sorry about their actions, but not sorry enough to change. That was funny to me. Funny how we have learned to act nice, but not necessarily be nice. Don’t get me wrong, I love all those people dearly and they don’t need to change. I just thought it was an interesting way of things unfolding. We, as humans, can be so thoughtless and I’ve been noticing it more these days. The way we talk to each other can be so arrogant. And almost everyone falls into that trap. This also mostly happens between people who are close, and I’m definitely guilty of this.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to become better people every day.
Some of my friends have been checking up on me regularly and pass no judgment at all. It’s the best response I could ask for.
On the negative side, I have also been called “weak-minded” and an “attention-seeker” way too often, which is the last thing you would wish to hear after a trauma. However, all in all, life goes on despite the severity of the trauma we go through.
And while our heads are deep in our own lives and problems, the person next to us might be gone tomorrow. Take care of one another, and seek professional help if you feel like you need it. Because no matter what your mind tells you, you are worthy.