Whether you are reading this because you are interested in what I have to say or because you are seeking help doesn't matter to me. I'll never know. What I do know is that we need to break the stigma surrounding mental health, and that as many people should read this as possible. Suicide affects people of all ages in all places.
No matter if you are a 12-year-old in Kentucky, an 18-year-old in California or a 50-year-old in Canada, please know this: You are not alone. You are never alone.
You're probably thinking, What could someone behind a keyboard who-knows-where possibly know? About me? About what I'm going through?
I don't know what you go through every day. In fact, no one knows everything about you but you. But what I am 100 percent positive of is that you mean something to someone in your life. You might not realize whom or how much, but it's true. You have such an impact on the lives of everyone around you. And if you were gone, no one can or will be able to fill the hole that you would leave behind. The world without you would be very different; you have a purpose in this life, a purpose that only you can fulfill.
I know that you can get so down that it seems impossible to believe that anyone out there cares whether you live or die. But I've been to the funeral of a friend who committed suicide. Many of my close friends have lost someone to suicide. People in my community have experienced the indescribable grief that comes with losing someone that shouldn't have been lost. And the overwhelming consensus of everyone who has lost someone is that they wished they could have done something to help. Because they would have, if they only knew. Whether it's the girl who sat behind that person in class, his/her next-door neighbor, parents, best friend or best friend's older brother—all of these people wished they could have been there.
So I know that you are not alone. Someone used to seeing your face every day would notice its absence, even if they aren't your best friend. Someone would ache to hear the sound of your voice one more time. Someone would pore over old photos of you with a broken heart.
Because if you are gone, these things can never be repeated or replicated.
Life will take you places you never expected if you give it a chance. If you told me this time two years ago that I'd be sitting where I'm sitting and doing what I'm doing right now, I wouldn't have believed you for a second. There's a saying attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus that the only constant in life is change. Things will change. Please don't lose sight of what the world can do for you and what you can do for the world.
If you or a loved one are in need of immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Calls are free, confidential and put you in touch with a trained crisis worker at the nearest center. It's available 24/7, so please don't hesitate. There's also a chat option on their website for the deaf and hard of hearing. The site can also connect you with tips and resources to help yourself, someone else or the suicide prevention cause.