Every struggle is different, even during a collective time of uncertainty, hate, illness, death, where anxiety is at an all-time high. Now more than ever, it needs to be okay to say, “I am NOT okay”.
My first introduction to suicide was at the ripe old age of twelve. I was in seventh grade when a boy I grew up with during our elementary school years killed himself. To this day I don’t know exactly what happened. What I do remember is he was kind, and full of life. He wore the brightest smile. His laugh was infectious. He had good taste in perfume. Mine came packaged in a small black bottle trimmed in gold. He was a good friend. We attended different middle schools. Every now and then I would see him around the neighborhood. We’d chat for a brief moment before saying goodbye. I never knew what he was dealing with. It wasn’t something we talked about then or even had the knowledge or vocabulary to address.
When Netflix aired 13 Reasons Why based on the novel by Jay Asher, I watched it because I have and work with children. From beginning to end my heart sank to further into the bottom of the earth. Deep in thought, it was hard to pull myself up. In that moment at the end of season one, sitting on the couch with my teenage daughter, I hoped I’d never be the adult to miss the signs for her or any child, or adult, that I would always lead with kindness, compassion, take mental health, depression and a cry for help seriously. That I’d never miss another opportunity to speak life into someone.
Every struggle is different, even during a collective time of uncertainty, hate, illness, death, where anxiety is at an all-time high. Now more than ever, it needs to be okay to say, “I am NOT okay”. If that’s you, go ahead and give yourself permission. If not, be sure to check on your family and friends. Nine times out of ten someone you know is struggling emotionally and your call, or text could make all the difference.
If it is you, know that you are enough, you’re loved, you’re breathing and you are here for a purpose.
Everyone can play a role in suicide prevention
1. Get the help you need now; resources for yourself or others
2. Help local centers, donate or volunteer
3. Spread the word about resources
National Hotline 1-800-273-8255