When life isn’t all PSLs and Smiles
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and I wanted to take a hot minute to get real with ya because of how important it is. If you don't think you know anyone who has contemplated suicide, you're probably wrong.
Similar to most anyone who has gone through high school, I struggled A LOT. With my self worth, image, you name it. As I got older I realized a lot of my problems stemmed from depression and anxiety. In short, I was in some really dark places that I'd just get stuck in. And, for me, most people probably had no idea...like at all. THAT is a large part of the reason this is so important to talk about it. That friend in your life who seems like they have it all together-- they probably don't. And all too often suicide is the wake up call to that.
So, #1, be kind-- you never know what's going on in someone's mind and heart.
You might've noticed two of my tattoos and wondered the story behind them. I always want to ask people for their stories! If you don't care, skip down to the statistics, etc (:
"Peace will win; fear will lose"
This is a line you may recognize. It's from the Twenty One Pilot's sophomore record, Vessel. If you don't know Twenty One Pilots, the band is made up of two outstanding men that speak truth in a way I've never heard anyone else accomplish. This album carried me through much of high school and college. The way hope is woven throughout this record is impeccable and I'd encourage you to listen, and even more read the lyrics. ANYWAY, this line is from Car Radio and it's a line I've repeated to myself probably 3 million times (no exaggeration) since first listening to it because of the truth embedded in it.
This line so beautifully declares that fear, anxiety, depression, mental illness-- they will lose. Peace will win every time if I equip myself with what I need. We always have a choice of fear or peace and if you look down the path of either, peace always wins.
The semi colon isn't just a meaningless trend that took over the nation a few years ago. The idea is that when a writer uses a semi colon, he or she could have ended the thought, but decided to keep going. This is to parallel the thought that I could end my life, but I've chosen to keep fighting. Something I love about this tattoo is that it shows how many people struggle or have struggled with depression, another mental illness, and/or suicidal thoughts. Getting this tattoo was somewhat of a victory statement for me, as well as a way to get the conversation started with anyone who wants to talk about it (:
If you're at all interested in the hope I've found, I'd love nothing more than to talk to you about it. Email me, message me, or even facetime me (virtual coffee dates are, in fact, a real thing).
Below are some statistics and resources to help you if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and also if you are worried about a loved one.
According to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America for all ages. Their recent studies have also found that depression affects 20-25% of Americans 18 and older. Another study by the Dave Nee Foundation found that 20-30% of teens reported symptoms of depression and that 9% of high school students have attempted suicide in the last year.
//Risk factors + Symptoms//
Below are some warning signs that may mean your loved one is suicidal. I find that when I’m not aware of these symptoms, these actions can come across as annoying or aggravating. But when I’m aware of what these actions can mean, I am much more forgiving and willing to look for a deeper reason of why they’re acting this way.
Sleeping too little or too much
Withdrawing or isolating themselves
Extreme mood swings
Talking about being a burden to others
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
Below are some of the most helpful resources I've found. I'd love to hear any that you know of too! To Write Love on Her Arms is an non-profit that sells merchandise to help raise money for people to get the help they need. They are amazing and so are their products. Look them up! The other two are especially helpful if you are feeling like you don't know how to lead someone you know is struggling.
Be aware. Take your eyes off of yourself or your phone and pay close attention to the people in your life. Ask them how they are- how they really are. Don't wait until it's too late.
Just as a final thought, we need you here. You are loved. You are cared for. Depression tells us that nothing is worth fighting for and everything is pointless. Stop and call out those lies. Like I said above, if you'd like to talk about the hope I've found and more about my story, I'd love nothing more than to talk to you about it...just say the word (: