Last week was National Suicide Prevention week, but I couldn't bring myself to talk about it, not yet. It's been three years since I ever thought about wanting to die and it still makes my stomach churn to even think about the things I felt about myself back then. Today, I'm deciding to be brave enough to tell my story to anyone who needs to hear it.
The first time I wanted to die, I was 12. I wouldn't tell my mom but school was hell. Marching band season had ended, so I didn't have an outlet for what was going on. There was a boy who would RELENTLESSLY pick on, say these awful mean things about me and yes, I had friends. Yes, they stood up for me. Yes, they did everything they could to make sure I was okay, but that is a personal battle.
The things I was going through, the war with myself I was going through every day from 7:30-3:00 was so hard. Being 12 is hard, middle school is hard, throw bullying on top of that and you're just asking for a mental breakdown. I still remember the day I started self harming. I still remember sitting on my bedroom floor and not knowing what I was going to do if my mom saw.
I spent three years hiding my legs, never going outside with anything less than basketball shorts and a t-shirt on. I remember her asking me why I didn't want to swim with my brother and sister, be outside and run with them. I didn't know how to tell her I was so sad, I didn't know how to tell her I hated walking into 2nd period every day and that 6th period gave me so much anxiety that I couldn't breathe when I walked in.
My mom is the most amazing, understanding, loving woman I have ever met. But she was, and still is, proud of me. She told me every day how strong I was, what a good leader I was, how powerful I was. She never meant anything harmful by this, she just wanted to encourage me. To make sure I knew what I was capable of. I was so afraid of disappointing her, so afraid of letting her down.
I've still never told her how sad I was back then. And that is the number one thing I regret. Had I told my mom how mean that boy was to me, how he made school so hard on me, and how even my friends couldn't help me, she would have done everything in her power to make sure I was okay. But, I suffered in silence until my freshman year when he moved off to a private school.
That same year, I fell in love for the first time. Real, genuine, powerful love. He was two years older than me and everything 14-year-old me dreamed of. Wow, he's older, he plays football, he does drama, he's hilarious, he's so smart, he takes college classes, he does so much and he has a car! Mom warns me, she tells me when he breaks my heart, she will be there. And that I can come to her with anything.
Here we are, a year later. And, my heart is broken. He cheated on me the second he left for college. I was shattered, the first boy I had ever loved and planned on spending forever with did the one thing he promised not to do. I don't know what to do, all my friends just say I told you so and my heart hurts. I can't tell my mom, I can't tell her what he did. I can't hear her say it to.
So I lay in my bed and I cry, and I cry. Eventually I come to terms with it and we get back together. Two years later, it happens again but this time, I lay in bed and I don't get up. I leave my light off. I cry, and I cry. I quit band, my one sanctuary, I can't do it anymore. I don't go to school for a day or two. I just lay there and I pray to God that he either takes the pain away or takes me. At that time, I would prefer he take me.
Then my door opens. And my mom is standing there, a drawing from my little sister and a note from my little brother in her hand. I can't look at her, I can't let her see me this way. I turn my head and I bury myself into the blankets. She lays down next to me as she has so many times before, normally just to check up on me after I've been doing homework for three hours.
She shows me my sisters drawing and we talk about what a good artist she's becoming. Then my thoughts go to how much she looks up to me, regardless of if she'll admit it or not. I start crying, and she just holds me. Then, it spills out. I tell her everything. I tell her how bad I'm hurting and how if I don't make it go away soon I don't know how much longer I can take it. I explained to her how everything hurts, my head, my heart, I can't breathe. I just want to disappear and then I apologize.
I tell her I'm sorry for being weak. I'm sorry for getting my feelings hurt. I'm sorry for being so stupid and for not seeing what was going on. I'm sorry for missing school. I'm sorry that I can't breathe and my words aren't coming out so great. I'm sorry I didn't tell her how bad I was hurting. I'm sorry I did tell her how bad I was hurting. I'm sorry I'm coming to you with all of this, I'm sorry I let this happen. I'm sorry I let this throw me off track. I'm sorry I let her down, I never wanted to disappoint her. Mom, I'm so sorry.
And she holds me. She holds me, telling me how sorry she is and that she never, ever wanted to see me hurt that bad. She tells me she's proud of me. And in that moment I lose everything. I stop crying and look at her, confused, dumbfounded really. And tells me she's proud of me for knowing when I need a break, knowing when I can't take anymore and knowing how to come to terms with the things I'm feeling. She tells me I must act like the sun, I must rise and try again. Clouds will stand in my way but if I play my cards the right way, there is nothing that will ever stop me.
I am now 19. I attend my dream school, in pursuit of a degree for my dream job. I have two lovely jobs that make my heart soar. I have friends who genuinely love and adore me. I have a life. I wear mom's reminder on my skin every single day. I stare at it when things get too tough. I survived.
There are days I still can't get out of bed, there are days i cry for hours. There are days I do not want to be alive. But most days, I thrive. You will only ever be as down and out as you allow yourself to be. Reach out, stand up, fight back. I promise, if no one else is...I will always be on your side.
I designed this world...custom t-shirts and everything.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE STRUGGLING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND/OR TENDENCIES, REACH OUT IMMEDIATELY. NO ONE SHOULD GO THROUGH THIS ALONE. SUICIDE IS SERIOUS.
National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255 - available 24/7