I don’t remember the first time I wanted to kill myself, but I know my reasoning behind it. I was a teenager who was sick of not fitting in. I was a closeted gay so wrapped up in a lie that I convinced myself that I was anything but what the kids at school were calling me. I was uncomfortable in my body, and it read in almost everything I did.
But I persevered. Through years of both external and internal torment, I finally realized a truth hidden beneath years of lies, I began living that truth, and I was happy. Yes, there were times when I wasn’t happy, but the happiest people in the world experience all kinds of emotions. Happiness isn’t a destination; it’s a reoccurring stop on a life journey.
But over the years, I stopped frequenting happiness. It wasn’t by choice; it was simply coincidental. There were glimmers of hope, or days when I felt unstoppable, but on a life journey, I found myself unable to take a pit stop at happiness, even if it was just for a day.
It led up to the day after Halloween. I was (and still am) suffering with diagnosed depression since early October. However, it had been a part of my life for years, and I had just now sought help. I was lying in bed crying uncontrollably, and even when I asked myself why I was so upset, I only made it worse. I was sick of crying every day, sick of being controlled by a feeling I found insurmountable, sick of fearing the next low so much that I couldn’t enjoy any highs. And as I lay in bed crying, I said, “I want to die.”
In the United States, someone commits suicide every 13 minutes. That means that every time you watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or Mad Men or Gotham or any other show that you deem worth your time, four people out in our world feel like their time isn’t worth it. But it is.
When having urges to commit suicide, you have to find reasons to hold on. It’s easier said than done, but they do exist. And once you find them, those thoughts tend to disappear. Here’s why I didn’t commit suicide and why you shouldn’t either.
When I was in bed that fateful day, after crying for hours, I called my best friend, Steve. And having lost all composure, I couldn’t even get one word out without crying, and he listened to me. I was sick of a metaphorical cloud metaphorically clouding my judgment, making me think irrational thoughts. And that metaphorical cloud made me say, “I’m sick of feeling like shit every day. I want to kill myself.”
And that’s when he stopped listening and started talking. He told me he loved me and he wanted me to be safe and around people. He told me I had to text him so he knew I was okay. He told me I was worth it. He saved my life.
You may think that you have no purpose and that no one would be affected if you were gone, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. People often get caught up in materialistic things. Just because someone doesn’t use tangible, physical things from this world to show you they care, we automatically assume we don’t matter. But we do. A person’s love is not measured by the amount of money they spend on you or the text messages they send or the amount of likes they give you on social media. A person’s love is simply not measured. So stop trying to measure it. Whether you’re 13 or 38 (or every age for that matter), there is at least one person out in the world who needs you. To someone else, your livelihood matters.
I knew that no matter how sad I was, I would miss seeing Steve Cuff and Erika Hanson and Emily Wright and Becky Ceel and Jordan Gohre and every beautiful person in my life. So I kept living for them, but I also kept living because my heart needed them.
People often disguise their personal problems, and that has become progressively easier to do with new presentations of self on social media. People suffer with anxiety and depression every day, and that is masked by a façade meant to seem entertaining, witty and like-worthy. But we all have things we deal with on a regular basis, and if our society allowed open discussions of those problems, maybe people wouldn’t feel so abnormal.
I’ve always been a music head. I’m someone who turns to music for every situation, good and bad. And I have separate songs that help me through specific moments; “take away” by dumblonde and “Part of Me” by Katy Perry have become my personal anthems in my battle against depression.
Listening to music let me know that even if we don’t openly discuss our issues with each other, there is someone out there going through something similar. So always remember, even if you feel alone or as if your struggles are exclusive to you, they’re not. Some of the happiest, most successful people in the world feel everything you’re feeling. So find that artist or album or song, and let it shape you. Your power should not be lost behind fear.
I was raised a Catholic/Christian (but don’t worry, I’m not one of those Christians that boycotts Starbucks red cups). I have certain beliefs that I was raised on, one of which is that killing yourself would essentially damn you to hell for eternity. That sounds quite extreme when I say it out loud, and I don’t necessarily believe in that sentiment anymore; however, those Christian morals are ingrained in me.
Whether you’re Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Lutheran, Catholic or simply just spiritual, you have to believe in your higher calling and faith. For me, I’ve always believed that the God I believe in has a purpose for me. I’ve seen parts of that purpose lived out throughout my journey, and they always manage to restore my faith in the larger picture. So whether you believe in a larger, higher power, or you believe in an inner energy and light, or you just believe that there is something, let that faith keep you here. Because that faith wouldn’t have you here if you weren’t supposed to be here in the first place.
This is the part I just reached last week, and I can’t truthfully tell you if it’s long lasting or temporary. I’ve spent the past month fighting off suicidal thoughts nearly every day, and it got progressively easier. I was able to tell myself that I wanted to be alive to see my friends and to finally hear Rihanna’s eighth album and so that I could live through my faith. But I knew deep down that those things weren’t going to be enough forever.
What I needed to know was that I was good enough to be enough for myself. No one should feel the need to commit suicide, and it’s unfortunate that so many people do. So it’s important to have things that keep you attached to this world; those things are what make us human and make us feel and give us purpose. But at some point, you have to start living for yourself. It, like everything else, is a lot easier said than done, but it is still do able. I know this from experience.
I haven’t had suicidal urges in over a week now because, for now, I know I’m worth it. And one day, you’ll realize that too. So hold on. Find the lives and the stories and the reasons to shape who you are. They will keep you here until you’re enough to keep yourself here.
I believe in you.