September is Suicide Prevention Month and this week is Suicide Prevention Week.
I was a junior in high school and when I thought about what my generation was facing the first thought that came to my head was suicide. We had recently had one of those programs at school where they talk to you about bullying and they showed us the video about this boy who was being bullied. He ended up killing himself and he was pretty young and it still haunts me to this day.
I have several friends who attempted suicide or who came very close.
The first character in Cirque is named Drew. He was the first chapter I wrote of Cirque back in high school. He kills himself in his chapter. The chapter is a day in his life, a day inside his head, a day of bullies, pain, and suicidal thoughts. There are some flashbacks of him growing up and how the suicidal thoughts started as young as the 6th grade which unfortunately is normal.
Every year the average amount of people committing suicide is getting higher and higher and each year the average age keeps getting younger. You’re not alone in what you’re feeling. Millions of people all over the world are feeling like there’s no hope and no way out.
I want to say a few things and I hope to either bring someone hope or help someone learn how to give hope to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
1. Pain is pain.
Your pain is valid and it matters. You’re not crazy. And if anyone is trying to make you feel stupid for feeling what you’re feeling, find someone healthy to lean on. maybe a friend, a church, a program, but don’t isolate yourself. There is someone in your life that can be there for you, whether you’ve met them yet or not.
Pain is pain. don’t minimize someone’s pain. don’t tell them to relax, that it’s not a big deal, that they’re being dramatic, that they’re too young to be so sad, angry, etc.
Emotions have no age preference, neither does depression or mental health issues. If you’re a parent, try to understand your child and just hear them out and don’t take what they’re feeling personal, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
What they’re feeling is what they’re feeling whether you think there’s a legit basis for it or not. try to understand where they’re coming from and if you can’t understand that’s okay, you can still be there. you can still listen. and you can offer support.
2. There is always hope.
Maybe you’re living in a house that’s toxic, maybe where you are in your life right now seems like it’s never gonna end- but please, don’t give up.
Time goes on, seasons change. if you’re a kid in a house that’s causing anxiety and stress and making you want to escape, you’ll grow up and get out of there eventually.
In the meantime, find other ways to escape, healthy ways. Find good friends, a good support system, books, music, tv - but most importantly find a way to get the help you need.
If you’re open to the idea of God, He is the hope of all hope. Jesus changes everything.
3. You’re not alone.
People say that we’re a generation who has never been more connected and more lonely at the same time, but we could change that. Use your phone, your social, your snap - to reach out to someone. To open up a conversation and just be real.
Maybe you’re scared to talk about what’s in your head in person, then text, call on the phone -
When we understand and accept that we’re not all alone, some of the weight gets lifted off of our shoulders. I know how it feels to think that someone won’t understand but here’s the thing - even if they don’t understand, it doesn’t mean they can’t be there for you.
I may not go through what you go thru but I can still support you and love you and fight for your regardless, just like you can for me even though you’re not walking in my shoes either.
On this website, there’s a sign up to become a member and there are discussion boards that are there for anyone who wants to open up a conversation about what you’re facing. Let’s build a community there. The link is in my bio.
This month reach out to people and check on them, whether they look or seem happy or not. Whether they’ve struggled before or not. Let’s be a community, a family, and let’s not be afraid of having these conversations.