World Suicide Prevention Day

DISCLAIMER: This post contains sensitive material. If you need to talk to someone, please reach out to a trusted friend, family member, confidant, or the suicide prevention number as needed. 1-800-273-TALK [8255]

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day where communities raise awareness surrounding the conditions that lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.

“A few words can help save someone’s life”

“If you ever feel low, know that tomorrow will never be the same without you”

“No one should suffer alone and together we can fight suicide and reach out to others when they are in need”

“Remember that nobody’s life is perfect and no situation is permanent”

As I scroll through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the news (yes, I check the news daily), and other media platforms at this time of the year, I can only imagine what others are going through on the other days that this issue is not globally recognized.

Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, frustration, anger, all these emotions and experiences, are what today’s society is talking about. Not everyone will have the same experience, but they will have a similar feeling. It’s interesting, and a bit scary, what the mind can do to you when you are at a low point in your life. I’ll admit, I’ve gone through this. The thought of suicide is not foreign. Whether we have experienced it first hand, second hand, or spectating from afar, this is a serious topic, and it’s not new.

I can only speak for myself, as well as a handful of people that I know and love that have gone through this. Even then, their story is one they can share on their own time and at their own pace. So, I want to share with you a story. Something I wrote about a year or so ago that has been sitting in my archive. This is a first-person narrative about what can happen in the mind when someone is under a lot of stress, experiencing anxiety, and is going through depression. Sometimes, the individual will be triggered by a negative experience, or not even warrant a negative experience, but the thoughts come in and take over not just the mindset, but the body as well. Most of the time, if the person is struggling with using coping mechanisms, they will experience tunnel vision. This is when the view on life, the mindset, and sometimes even the physical vision, is narrowed and all they see is one thing and not everything around them. They become fixated on one specific, negative, idea, and they let that dictate what the rest of the world is like. All they want to do at that point, is to run away.

All I ask, before you read this, is to clear your mind, and put yourself in the character’s shoes. You don’t know this, and I don’t know this, but someone in your life, whether we know it or not, may be even going through this same feeling right now. The words you say, the actions you take, the choices you make, can impact another’s life in any shape, way, or form. Sometimes you will be able to help them, and sometimes you won’t. Every person deals with their mental health differently and positive forms of coping should be respected, encouraged, and provided with love and care. So here it goes:

;

“You can’t do that, Dillon, that move does not make sense at all .”

“But it makes sense, Perry, come on! Kat, back me up here.”

“I don’t know Dillon. You’re giving us bad hints right now and we are so close!”

“I swear if ya’ll fuck up this, we are going to take double the shots”

“Shut up, Jake! You’re going to get us all drunk.”

“That is the goal my friends”

Tonight our place was hosting game night. The rest of the roommates were out, so Katarina and I were the only ones home. The idea was mostly Katarina’s, but I thought it would be good to have some company over and distract myself from all the stress that has been consuming me.

James, Melanie, Katy, Dillon, Perry, Marvin, Rosa, and Jake were all over at the apartment and we had already gone through a couple of board games, ate all the food, and some of us have had a few shots.

I tapped out of this round of Meme Match. I was not feeling the atmosphere and to be honest, I started to feel left out as the night went on, almost invisible. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun. I felt like I could not say anything or jump in the game. I felt like if I did, everyone would laugh at me if I messed up or asked a dumb question. This feels like earlier this week when I tried to talk to one of my group members, and they just snapped at me and told me I should work on a different part of the project. This also feels like when I was at that party last week, and I just sat on the couch because I was tired. Everyone was going crazy and having a good time. Some people called me a party pooper. Some people pointed out how I fell asleep. I had a rough time the night before with my parents, arguing with them about how I haven’t been home from college lately. I couldn’t say that at a party. Slowly, more thoughts from the past week overcame me and suddenly it felt hard to breath. I also had the feeling someone was watching me.

I looked up to see Jake staring at me, our eyes meeting. As if he read my mind, he came to sit next to me.

“Hey, are you okay?”

Looking at him straight in the face suddenly became the most difficult thing to do. I looked down and fidgeted with the corner of my blanket, closing my eyes and counting in my mind. 1, 2,3, 4…

He took my hand and squeezed it, “Okay, give me a second.”

He got off the couch we were on and went over to the group, “Hey everyone can you go into the room for a minute?”

Everyone looked a little confused but they agreed, walking into the next room over still having their debate on how the clue made sense but without giving away the answer.

Once the door shut behind them, Jake came back to the couch and wrapped me in his arms.

“What’s wrong? Tell me.”

I shook my head. The words wouldn’t come out. This was not the time and place to tell him what was going on. We had company over and I did not want to make a bigger deal out of it. I felt like if they knew…they would judge me. They would make me feel smaller than I already felt. Telling Jake things was a gamble. Sometimes he cared, and sometimes he got upset. I was afraid how I would react to either response.  My vision blurred more.

“Let me get Katy, maybe she can help?”

Jake went to get Katy and I sat there staring at the dirty, carpeted floor. Counting all the specs of dirt and matching each one with something that was difficult for me.

What do I do…I don’t want to be here. I can’t breathe, I can’t focus.

“Hey what’s wrong?”

I looked up to find Katy looking down at me and Jake walking away to use the bathroom.

“You know you can tell me what’s going on…I know the past few months have been tough for you.”

I just looked past Katy at the white wall, and my vision blurred, darkened, and I managed to find words that made sense to me.

“I need to breathe.”

I got up from the couch, walked over to the door, and began running into the night.

_____________________

I broke the door open and shut it behind me, running down the stairs and letting the cold air wrap around me. I felt my body tighten, my back muscles clenched, my knees weak, my arms heavy, my heart hurting. I didn’t know where I was going, I was just running. I knew I needed to get away.

I ran to the farthest parking lot, a part where you overlook the city and the freeway and you see all the lights. It’s usually a beautiful sight to see.

But I sat down on the curb and breathed heavily as tears began streaming down my face. My vision blurring and my thoughts narrowing to just escaping.

What if I climbed the fence and jumped.

Yeah, that sounded like a great idea.

No, you idiot.

I am an idiot.

No, don’t.

My vision cleared a little bit and I found myself barefoot. I ran out the door without shoes.

And for a second, I blanked out and everything was a blur. Silent.

“I found you”

I turned around and there was a series of word exchanges that to this day I do not clearly remember. Then I felt him pick me up and back on my feet. I was swaying.

We walked back to the house, him holding on to me till Katy met us halfway and took my other arm.

Everything was a blur. Before we knew it we were back, and I remember opening my eyes for a little bit, Jake stroking my head and tucking me in before he shut the door behind him.

But I wasn’t.

;

This is only one scenario of a million that can happen, could happen, may happen,  or has happened already to someone somewhere. In the scenario, no one directly did something to cause the narrator to have a negative thought process. Acknowledge that witnesses are not always the direct cause of the moment, the episode, or the panic attack. It could be as simple as an object to an phrase to even just saying the name of a specific place or person. The past is powerful and can have an immense effect on how one approaches the present or the near future.

There are people around who want to help, and all forms of positive support are welcomed. However, not all methods such as asking others to clear the room, or asking the individual about a seemingly general or seemingly specific problem will have the person opening up automatically. Sometimes the individual will seek out the help of others, and sometimes they want to cope on their own.

Whatever your role is in all of this, please continue to check in with your loved ones: family, friends, and acquaintances. And if you’re going through this, I know you’re hurting right now, but know it’s not worth putting yourself through more pain. If you need to go out, take a walk, and breathe, go ahead and breathe. Know that those you call your friends, those you call your family, and I, love you.

Listen to:
get well soon by Ariana Grande

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