Hold On, Even If You Feel Like Letting Go
The content includes information related to mental and emotional distress and it might be upsetting to some people. If you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide, have attempted suicide, or experience emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273–TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat.To get general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, contact SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 1–877–SAMHSA7 (1–877–726–4727).
hold on if you feel like letting go.
hold on, it gets better than you know.
Suicide prevention is about a lot of things to me…
Mostly, it’s personal.
It’s been ten years and five months since I lost my friend and sorority sister to suicide. Her death changed my life. Every time I think about her, every time I talk about her, I always say the same thing. I wish she knew how much she meant to us. I wish she knew how much I miss her. But most importantly, I wish she knew that every future day of my life is different because of her. Every time I talk about her, I want people to know the same thing. I want people to know how much losing her made me afraid for every single day of the rest of my life that I’m not doing enough to tell the people around me that I love them and that they matter.
I have been the person for some
In the years since her death, I’ve stayed up all night, more than a few times, to save lives. To be the voice on the other end of the phone. To hold a hand, when each breath seemed impossible. When the will to live and the reasons to survive weren’t easy to come by. For some friends, I have been their person. I have helped them find crisis counseling. I have helped them make it through to the morning. And they may not remember that today, but I do. I remember every single breath. Every single moment. The fear, the faith, the compassion, the passion, the begging, the crying. I remember how I felt in the morning, when I knew they were okay. When I could let out the breath I had invariably held throughout the night, let my guard down, and process what had just happened. In the strength and power of friendship. In the will and testament of human life. Of the fight to survive. To live again.
Why I advocate
This year, I’ve thought a lot about life. About how somehow in all truth, life is actually a choice. Our choice. We choose to live, because the alternative is unimaginable. In the same way we choose our order off the Starbucks menu, we choose clothes from our closet each morning, or we choose the people we engage in relationships with, we choose to live – consciously or subconsciously, every single day. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. It’s powerful and incredible. It’s different than life and death. It’s different than fate or faith. It’s choice. It’s literally allowing yourself to be the puppeteer in the play called life. It’s quite different from some of the pieces of our lives – the ways in which we don’t get to choose the families we are born into, the bodies we grow to become, or the circumstances we face.
The choice to live or die, the choice to stay alive – it’s the biggest one any of us will ever make. It seems ironic, or cruel even that we don’t get to choose some of the smaller things – like how to maintain our lives when we are irreversibly sick, how to move forward through the grief and loss of a loved one, or how to fix something that has become permanently broken – but the biggest one of them all, the biggest choice any human being will ever make is still something that’s up to us. How is that even possible?
In my eyes, suicide isn’t about leaving. It’s not about saying goodbye. It’s about what you leave behind. It’s about the people that want to crawl into that casket with you. The people who cannot make sense of a life you’re not going to be a part of. The people who cannot move on. There are people who are not done loving you. Who are not done changing you. This might be the worst day of your life, but you probably haven’t had your best day yet. You probably haven’t finished what you were meant to do on this earth, because, well, if you had, you’d probably already be gone. That tends to be how life works.
We are not alone
But, in truth, the fight is hard. Every day, sometimes every moment, it’s really honestly hard to choose life. So, in a way that’s impossible to explain, we’ve slowly begun to seek reasons. By telling our stories, putting our most intimate thoughts and bravest moments on paper for the world to read – it’s terrifying. But, it’s freeing too. It connects us together. It reminds us that we are not alone, in any part of our journeys.
Today, we talk about suicide prevention in preparation of National Suicide Prevention Week, September 9-15, 2018. Today, suicide prevention comes to light with our friends and our families and our communities. Today, we know that we are not alone. Today, we know that by sharing our stories, our darkest moments, the scariest parts of our past and our present – we are helping each other. We are saving each other. And in turn, we are saving ourselves.
Other articles in this series for National Suicide Prevention Week:
- Life, Death & Mental Health
- IBD & Mental Health – How I Learned from my Past
- IBD & Mental Health – Hope & Help