Why we need to talk about suicide and mental illness

I’ve thought about suicide. I don’t like to talk about it because I know it will freak people out. In fact, it went through my mind just this weekend.

This thought will come into my head, unannounced and uncontrollable – “Everyone would be better off without you. What’s even the point of you being here? Don’t you want to stop feeling like a disappointment? Don’t you want to stop hurting? Then just do it.”

My life is really good. Great actually. So much is going right for me. Sunday, I had an amazing night, yet, when I got home, I started sobbing and shaking and rocking back and forth. I thought to myself, “What if I emptied my bank account, sent the money to my parents and my boyfriend, and then swallowed all the pills I have in my apartment?”

Yup, that’s what I thought out of the blue. After a good night.

But, thankfully, I am also very well-versed about depression and suicide. I know it’s a mental illness. I know suicide isn’t something I really want. And I know, deep down, that people wouldn’t be better off without me.

I’ve done my research about this illness I suffer from. In the midst of a complete breakdown, my real, logical self, comes into my head, like music breaking through the static on the radio. I tell myself, “You’re not in your right mind. You don’t actually want to die. Once you do that, there’s no coming back. I know that’s not what you want. You don’t know what comes after this life, and you shouldn’t know yet because you’re not done living. Just go to sleep and you’ll feel better in the morning.”

And so that’s what I did.  And when I woke up, that feeling was gone. It felt like it wasn't even me thinking those thoughts, and I didn't understand how I can even consider that.

Why am I telling you this?

Not to freak you out or make you worry or feel bad for me.

The reason is this: First of all, to show that those who do lose their lives to suicide aren’t in their right minds. They aren’t thinking about their futures. They aren’t thinking about the people who will miss them. They aren’t being selfish. Instead, often, they are making a split-second decision because they want the pain to stop.

I’m also telling this story because it’s important to talk about it. Being able to talk about it – that’s what’s saved me time and time again. Being able to reach out on social media and say, “I’m depressed,” and knowing that I have a support network who will be there for me – that’s what keeps me alive. That’s what breaks through the clouds of my brain, even on the darkest days.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, being human is hard, and we need each other. 

We need to erase the stigma that comes with mental illness and suicide. We need to talk about how we’re feeling. We need to seek help when we need it. That’s how suicide can be prevented. That’s how we survive this life.

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