Growing Up With Mass Shootings

Growing Up With Mass Shootings

Give peace a chance
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*Trigger warning: shootings

*Note: This article is not intended to be a political debate. I could've easily written an article about my opinions, but there's endless ones out there, and I don't like repeating something I feel like has already been said. This is more about society and what different things people are exposed to. You're entitled to your own opinions and beliefs, this is simply my own.

Another day, yet another mass shooting. I normally don't write/discuss politically-charged topics, as there's plenty of articles like that out there. But with so much senseless death and so much publicity around it, I felt compelled to say something.

I was born in June 1993, almost 25 years ago. An interesting, seemingly peaceful time of VHS, gross cartoons, and great music. Little did my younger self know, there was a dark, scary crime that was happening before it became popular that would become part of my culture.

In April 1999, at the age of five, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. I don't remember any of the news coverage, which was probably a good thing, me being too young and innocent to understand. But I do remember one day, my elementary school principal came to my classroom and told me and my classmates that if anybody ever entered the school with guns or knives, to "not be scared." The room was dead silent after that; of course that was scary. Even at age five, I knew guns and knives were scary, I grew up watching my dad shoot deer, I knew that guns were dangerous. There were a lot of bomb threats at my school shortly after that, none of which were real, but I was still young and unaware, maybe these were all just surprise half-days.

Flash forward to October 2006, I was 13 and in seventh grade. The Amish Schoolhouse shootings happened. I read the news stories and I was disturbed by it; who goes into a school, an Amish school especially, and shoots kids? My school ended up putting locks on the classroom doors after that, which gave me a sense of false security: I was glad there were locks, but it was the reason behind it that was unnerving.

Only seven months later, another shooting happened. Virginia Tech massacre. I was home and logged onto MSN, where the news was all over the page. What was Virginia Tech? I knew whatever happened must've been bad enough for it to be front page headlines. American Idol even acknowledge the tragedy that night, expressing their condolences. Me being obsessed with Idol, I knew this was important. I figured I could research the event, just to understand. I was stunned by the severity: 32 victims. Wikipedia had posted a picture of the assailant holding two guns pointed at the camera. That scared me. How could someone be that bold? That photo was enough to tell me that the gunman had no regard for human life.

My small school (a middle school and high school combined into one building), began having practice lockdowns; Virginia Tech's aftermath now taking full affect. One day, we had a real lockdown. We saw a cop car outside. Eerie silence. It's just a drill, it's just a drill. There was a sound of scuffling and running on the squeaky hallway floors. No bangs, no yelling, no gunshots, just a lot of running. The lockdown lasted about thirty minuets or so. It was later revealed that the police had a dog sniffing out drugs, but no threat of a shooting.

Over time, I've felt like I've become desensitized to shootings and violence; it's become normal for me to see this on the news. This is not okay. From movie theaters, to schools, concerts, nightclubs, malls, restaurants, churches, military bases, are we not safe anywhere? I can't help but wonder if I go to any of these places if there's a risk I'll be gunned down. I have nightmares of this all the time, and I pray it stays as a nightmare, not reality.

I love going to concerts, watching movies, dining at restaurants, and going to occasional clubs. I can't go to these establishments and not paranoid myself that something tragic is going to happen. We can't be afraid of living, even though there's an increased risk of violence happening. If I chose to live out the rest of my life in my home because I'm scared of being killed, then I wouldn't be living, that would be giving the shooters what they want: fear.

Change is what we need, from everyone, not just the government and legislators. Stop preaching hate, judge less. Reach out more, be kinder to those who need it most. Trust your instincts. If you feel like someone is in trouble, listen and try to help. Take care of yourself and others around you, you never know how life changing that can be for someone who needs it most.

In the words of the wise John Lennon, another casualty of a senseless act of violence: give peace a chance.

This blog post is dedicated to the angels of Parkland, Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines School, and all the other angels who died in mass shootings. I pray change comes to this struggling world you left behind. <3

Suicide prevention hotline:

1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: PxHere

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Depression Is A Balancing Act That Is And Isn't In Our Control

Managing depression can sometimes feel overwhelming.

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*Warning: Before reading any further is that this article will be talking about heavy topics such as depression and suicide.*

Depression in this day and age is a very sticky topic to talk about. Yes, we are becoming more aware and accepting of the issue, but we still have a long ways to go in terms of really know how we can be there for people in a way that's most effective and where they don't feel judged because of it.

I have dealt with depression most of my life and especially going through college. It didn't become a big thing for me till I came to college, and then having to navigate my issue of it. Whether that's talking about it friends vaguely about it, bottling it all in, going for professional help, etc. It's one of the many reasons why I'm afraid of meeting someone new, or wanting to be in a relationship, I was afraid of the judgment and feeling that if I told someone they either might not want to do anything with me, say it's too much for them, etc.

Now some of those fears, in my opinion, were unjustified in a sense that yes even though it is important for people to be there for me in my time of need, I need to be conscious of how much I share and whether they can take that piece of me I shared. It's a balancing act that is hard to manage, but it allows me for a much-needed look into myself of what actually makes me happy, what doesn't, what triggers my depression and going out of my way to make sure I don't let it take control of me.

The depression took me to places, very dark places that I'm happy to have push through, with my depression it made my thoughts go into suicidal ideation, and even hurting myself, an act that I never thought I would ever do but thankfully I had people in my life that helped me overcome that and going to talk to a professional.

Depression is a mental health issue that most everyone struggles with regardless of where they're at in life, it can come like a tidal wave, or not at all. It's an internal struggle with ourselves, and we do our best trying to get through it. I know that I'm not alone in this, and if you're reading this you're not alone either.

Don't be afraid to talk about it, but be mindful of other people and how much you can share in order for them to be able to process it, go for professional help, exercise, hang out with friends. Don't let depression fully control your life, it won't go away but if we can manage it in a way that helps us be able to keep it under control then that's a win.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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