National suicide prevention week began yesterday, Monday September 5th, and goes on until this Sunday, September 11th. The “hashtag” this year is, “I Kept Living”.
The topic of suicide seems to still be taboo in today’s world, despite how common it is. Here are some facts you should be aware of, and then I’ll share my take on it.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America.
42,773 people die by suicide each year (117 suicides per day).
For each one suicide, there are 25 attempts.
Something you might not be aware of: The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular. In 2014, 19.3% of suicides were among people 85 and older, 19.2% were 45-64 years old, and 11.6% were people aged 15-24.
Yes, these stats are terrifying. Yes, they’re uncomfortable. Yes, it is a topic that you don’t bring up usually in the hallway at school.
And yes, we DO need to be aware of it nonetheless.
I am alive. I personally kept living. Living a life where suicide seems like a good option is a terrifying life to live. I felt alone. I hated myself. I hated my presence. I thought my existence was invaluable.
And here is where I will become super vulnerable.
In 2014, I was in the ICU after a major attempt. The doctors didn’t know if I was going to make it for a few days. And you know what? I made it. I’m here.
So many people I interact with in my life today aren’t aware of this. You probably can’t tell from just looking at me. I probably appear to just be another person walking through life. That’s kind of what all people passing by look like, right?
It’s intriguing for me to think about the people I pass by every day, but never talk with. Who are they? What’s their story? Can my story be valuable to them? Can their story be valuable to me?
I share these facts and this personal story for the chance alone that it might help someone. One person. Anyone. We cannot live our lives separate or alone. We need to help each other, be there for each other. Tell each other it’s going to be okay, because I didn’t think it would be, but I’m here. I made it, and I’m happy I did.
I have so much more in my life today than I thought I would ever have the day of my attempt in 2014. I know now that I am a worthwhile human being. We all are. As much as joining the world is uncomfortable, many times that’s the key to finding your meaning. Like I keep saying…we need each other.
You are important. You are worthwhile. There IS someone who loves you. I might not know you, you who is reading this right now…but I can guarantee there is something about you that this world needs right now.
Your story isn’t over. You CAN keep living. It’s painful sometimes. It’s not easy sometimes. Sometimes can feel like all the time. But it WILL be worth it. It is going to be okay.
Reach out to someone today, if you can. Tell them you love them. Tell someone their existence means something to you. Tell them now, because that could save them tomorrow.
-Tuesday September 6, 2016
Information from: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/