Suicide: the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the CDC, 105 Americans commit suicide every day, with one happening every 12.3 minutes. About 38,000 Americans lose their life to suicide every year and around 250,000 people survive a suicide attempt. For every twenty-five suicide attempts, one loses their life. Males represent 79 percent of all suicides. Females are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to suffer from depression. Women attempt suicide at a rate 3 times higher than men. Suicide is highest among ages 18-24, which is the second leading cause of death among this age group.

Across the globe, there are 800,000 lives that are lost to suicide. It is the third leading cause of death among ages 15-44 across the globe.

Depression is the leading cause of suicide.

* * *

It's 8:15 a.m. and the bell has just rung. The principal's voice comes through the loudspeaker to tell the school that one of their beloved classmates has lost their life. After the initial shock and horror, the responses vary.

“I don't understand."

“Why?"

“They had so much to live for."

“They were so young."

* * *

I am an 18-year-old college freshman. I am involved in Greek Life, Youth Ministries and Boy Scouts of America. I have a loving family. I have never suffered severe trauma. I have never been abused. However, I suffer from depression. I suffer from suffocating thoughts. I suffer from the demons that lurk in the night waiting to tear every shred of happiness. I suffer from a disease that cannot be seen.

I have sat awake at 3:30 a.m. staring at the wall. I have felt everything disappear from me. I have felt my eyes run out of tears. I have heard my cries go silent. I have had days when there is no hope. I have had weeks where getting out of bed is a battle. I have had to stay strong when I have nothing left.

If you don't understand why, be thankful. Because if you understand, your heart breaks even more.

Be thankful that you have never had your life seem meaningless.

Be thankful that you have never wanted to end everything.

Be thankful that your smile is genuine.

Be thankful that you can feel.

Be thankful that you do not have to remind yourself that the shaded lies of depression are not reality.

Be thankful that you are not suffering from a deadly illness.

Be thankful that you don't know why.

Sometimes the “why" is because we have no hope. Sometimes we have no reason to keep on going. We know that we are loved. We know that our lives matter. But sometimes, we forget. We forget because we are ill. We forget because our illness tells us that there is no reason to wake up. We forget because our darkness has blocked out everything. We forget. We are not selfish. We are not weak.

We are strong. We are fighters. We are the ones forgotten. We are the ones looked past. We are the ones you never knew are on the brink of death. We are the ones you never thought to save.

When our deaths are kept silent, depression wins. When our illness goes unacknowledged, another person succumbs to the demons.

We need you. We need your help, your love, your strength. We need you because sometimes, we forget that the morning after we are gone, is the one worth fighting for.

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