Suicide: I Lived to Tell You It's Not the Answer | Teen Ink

Suicide: I Lived to Tell You It's Not the Answer

August 11, 2019
By Anonymous

Hello, 

Today I have the opportunity to write something I almost wasn't around to write. I hope that anyone reading this, suicidal, depressed, experiencing hardship, or just seeking to understand can pay attention to what I am writing today. It isn't normal for me to implore anyone to read my work, but this is it, this is the one you must read. I nearly died to tell you that whatever you are going through, suicide is not the answer. 

To my readers who are currently dealing with this particular monster, be it your own thoughts, attempts, or the death of a friend or loved one, you've probably heard a lot of things about suicide, many of which are untrue or unfair. I'm here to set the record straight. People like to tell me that I'm too young to be thinking of or attempting suicide. Maybe you've heard the same. They don't know how on the mark they are. For me, my suicidal thoughts started when I was twelve and got progressively worse over time. I was, quite literally, a child. It is unfathomable to most to think of a 12-year-old plotting their own death. It's not a comment on society. It's not beautiful or tragic. It's not "a sign of the times." It was the mark of a very deep form of undiagnosed depression I'd had from childhood. It was a sign of many co-occurring mental health disorders I picked up as a side effect to being an undiagnosed high-functioning autistic. It was, most importantly, the beginning of something called chronic suicidality. Daily. Suicidal. Thoughts. For anyone who has any doubts about what causes that: brain chemistry. Not a moral failing. Not a lack of discipline or being ungrateful. It was simply and only rogue chemistry in my brain. Anyone's brain can do that. Children's brains can do that. Adult brains can do that. Elderly brains can do that. There is no age to suicide. 

Perhaps you've heard many times or even felt within yourself that suicide is the ultimate selfish act. I'm here to tell you that it's not. Let me clarify something here. I have lost a friend to suicide. I myself have nearly lost my life to suicide. I've been on both sides, so I can tell you for a fact that the thinking behind suicide isn't selfish. Don't get me wrong; it's not brave or heroic either. It is blind. It is an illness. It is a terrible and fearful place to be. I was tormented. I did not want to have those thoughts. I was consumed. I once described it to someone as my world being too dark to see my hand in front of my face. Mental illness is one of the only illnesses that will down right lie to you, and it's likely that any sufferer will believe it without a second thought. It is not in human nature to be distrustful of our own thoughts. It will tell you that you are crazy. It will tell you that you are a mistake, unworthy, unloved. It will quite possibly tell you that you are a burden, that others might be better off without you. It will tell you that the pain is never ending, that you cannot withstand it one moment longer, and it will make it seem so easy, so simple. THESE ARE LIES. They are chemicals in your brain lying to you, and while it is never your fault for having these thoughts, there is always a choice to not listen, to seek help, to find a better alternative. I am here to ask you to make a different choice. Suicide is no more than a rather convincing conman. To fall for it is no different than the thousands who followed Bernie Madoff or who took drugs or did something they regretted because their friends asked them to. Because it seemed so irrevocably like the right thing to do at the time. It isn't your fault. It isn't selfish, but your actions are your choice. Join me in making a better one.

The final fallacies of suicide I want to address are that there is a "look" to mental illness/ suicide and that anyone else bears responsibility. I have heard so many times, "But you don't look depressed." "You have nothing in your life to be depressed about!" These statements are so, so damaging. For background, I am smart. I get good grades, have fair looks, dress modestly in bright colors, and almost always wear a smile. People take one look at me and assume I can't possibly be depressed or mentally ill. This is the ultimate misconception. Depression has many faces. Sometimes it looks like not getting out of bed for three days. Sometimes it looks like long sleeves and dark clothing. Sometimes it looks like poor grades and failing relationships. Others, it looks like a sudden burst of creativity. Sometimes it looks like the endless pursuit of perfection. Sometimes it looks like mania or the quiet girl in the corner. Sometimes people will tell you. Many times, they won't. It often looks like exhaustion or comes with anxiety. It can be forced smiles or relentlessly trying to cheer others up. It can look like the class clown, the shy nerd, the most popular kid in school who never feels genuinely liked, someone who misses many days of school or work, quiet or overly loud. There is no one face to depression. To say there is would be to undermine nearly the entire mental health community. And for those who say, "Oh, but you don't have anything to be depressed about," it is impossible to truly know someone else's life. You may not know what is behind the curtain, what is going on for them. It is also, LARGELY, brain chemistry. Brain chemistry doesn't care if you've never been traumatized or bullied or abused. Brain chemistry doesn't care if you didn't have enough to eat or grew up in a 10-story mansion. It's your brain, organic and unique, and like it or not, sometimes it goes rogue. When it does, don't panic. There are so many great therapies and medications out there to help realign those chemicals, change those thoughts. Seeking help for a mental illness is no different than going to the doctor for strep throat!

The final fallacy: responsibility. There are so many campaigns out there now preaching bullycide, preaching words hurt, telling kids that they are responsible for the deaths of their schoolmates. Here's the thing. Words do, in fact, hurt quite badly. Having a mental illness makes you more susceptible to believing the negative things that are said about you because it is likely that you may already believe them yourself. However, I don't think telling kids they are responsible for another child's death decreases bullying. I don't believe that true bullies actually even bother to self-evaluate enough to believe they have any responsibility. What I do know is this. Many people blame themselves when someone loses their life to suicide. Good people often times start to think of that one Wednesday three years ago when they were accidentally rude to the person. People start to wonder if they had picked up the phone or asked someone how they were doing if things would have turned out differently. The answer is: probably not. While reaching out or communicating are important things to do, if someone has made up their mind, it is unlikely you could've changed it. This is why it's so important to seek professional help. While I can say that bullying and hurtful actions are certainly no help in the matter, the final choice and therefore responsibility lies with the person choosing suicide. This isn't to start victim blaming. I hope I have made clear that the thoughts of a suicidal person are well beyond their control. This is to say that the responsibility for our personal safety lies within each and every one of us. I've yet to meet one person who truly caused me harm who realizes how much harm they've done. I've yet to meet one person who has truly caused me harm who would actually realizes how they may have contributed. I think it's time we stop telling people who more than likely had nothing to do with it that they should bear this ultimate and incapacitating burden. 

Finally, there's a reason I am not quoting facts and figures at you. That takes the humanity out of it. I am here to tell you that I literally, physically died. Medical intervention brought me back. I was in the ICU for two weeks. I have physical and emotional damage, some of which cannot be undone. I've had doctors admonish me for not thinking about the consequences. The truth is, no suicidal person ever really does. My consequences are the health implications, the trauma, the pain I caused my friends and family. The consequences of my friend's death are a deep loss and terrible pain, sleepless nights, grief groups, trauma symptoms, and a sense of never being the same. I do not love her better because she died. I have always loved her. I do not hear her better in death. I have always heard her. There is no glory in suicide, no increase in listening. There is no revenge or fame in death. It is death, unpleasant and the same in all of us. There are much better ways to have people hear you. All of which involve living. I thought it would never get better. I had psychiatrists tell me there wasn't any more they could do for me. I struggled for years. I learned things. I grew. I became stronger. I made mistakes. I learned I needed to ask for help- from a trusted adult. I learned I needed to advocate, to learn the signs. I got tired of hearing people telling me how resilient I was because I was exhausted. I didn't want to hear it. What I needed to know most was this: I am normal. I am a human being. I am worthy. There are always options. People care about me. It is hard, and that sucks, but it's also okay. I needed to know it was okay to cry, that I was loved, that there is strength in reaching out. I learned that it was okay to do things in my own time, at my own pace, that faster isn't always better, traditional wasn't always right. Most of all, I HAD OPTIONS. Waking up after my attempt was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was also the best and luckiest thing I've ever had the privilege of doing. If I had not survived, I would not have known I am autistic and gained some self-acceptance. I would not have found the medication that worked for me. I would not know for the first time in almost 8 years what it means to not be suicidal. I wouldn't have gotten to ride rollercoasters, build friendships, play glow in the dark badminton. There are so many options and experiences waiting for you. Suicide is not one of them. Suicide is not the way to get to them. 

If you are considering or have ever considered suicide, this is your sign not to do it. I lived to tell you it's not the answer. I lived to tell you that suicide was nothing I thought it was supposed to be. I'm here to tell you that it starts with telling a teacher, parent, counselor, police officer, mental health professional, any trusted adult "I need help." That one sentence saves lives. Use it! There is no shame in those words! They are the strongest, most courageous words I could have ever said. It is the same for you. Your pain is not your choice. Your thoughts are not your choice. Suicide is. Let's make a different one, a better one, together. 

 

Resources that helped me:

Crisischat.com

Soul Medics at remedylive.com

Campus mental health offices

A trained therapist

A trained psychiatrist

Neuropsychological testing


The author's comments:

For anyone who is struggling, has lost someone, or wants to understand, please read all the way through


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This article has 2 comments.


on Oct. 9 at 7:15 am
keertukkun BRONZE, Trivandrum, Other
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments
Wow, this is really heartfelt. I'm sorry you had to go through that. This article is sure to reach out to anyone in need. Keep going!

on Aug. 23 at 5:09 pm
PoetFromAnotherPlanet GOLD, San Jose, California
15 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things." -T.S. Eliot

Hey guys, I created this to hopefully share my experiences in a way that could be helpful to others struggling. I would love some feedback!


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