I Still Think Suicide Is Selfish And No, I'm Not Ignorant For Believing So

I Still Think Suicide Is Selfish And No, I'm Not Ignorant For Believing So

We need to stop ridiculing people who believe differently than us.
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My eleventh grade teacher always reminded his students to remove phrases like "I believe," "I think" or "in my opinion" from first person essays. He said it was redundant to include them because anyone reading our work would know what we write is our personal opinion.

Mr. Ponikvar is correct to an extent. I think now, more than ever, it is so important to include those phrases in our social media posts. In regards to my recent article about suicide, I heard many complaints about my lack of compassion, awareness, and sensitivity.

But if there's one regret I have about my last article, it's this: I didn't emphasize enough that the words I wrote are my opinion, which are based on my personal experiences ranging from childhood through present day.

Let's get one thing straight — opinion does not equal fact. Almost every negative reaction my last article received was so consumed in an egotistical outlook, that many people forgot the foundation of an opinion. It is neither right nor wrong.

However, my fiancé brought up a good point as I wrote this article. Some opinions can be discredited, and that is exactly why it's so important to hear each other out and be open to different perspectives.

Everyone has different life experiences (education, religion, etc.), some might be more knowledgeable about a topic than you are. You’re allowed to have an opinion, but you should always be willing to admit that someone else might know something you don’t.

We can all learn from each other.

What hurts the most is people who call me ignorant or say things like, "You've obviously never experienced depression." The hurt I felt, however, wasn't for myself. It was for all of those people who ACTUALLY believe I don't know what I'm talking about simply because it contradicts their own knowledge and beliefs.

I'm writing this article as a partial follow-up to my last one, but I mainly want to talk about a larger issue that was brought to my attention through the conversation my article created.

Every single person is different. Everyone is raised differently than their parents, siblings, and neighbors. Everyone experiences different friendships, hardships, and feelings. Everyone has a right to believe in what they believe in, and no one should be ridiculed or belittled for thinking differently than anyone else.

Something important to know about me is that I was raised in a Latino-Christian household. Those aspects of my life played a huge role in the types of life lessons I was taught. One of the life lessons emphasized early on is that family is everything. Family comes first, and you should always do what you can to help your family before yourself or anyone else.

Mental illness and depression were taboo subjects growing up, mostly because I was surrounded by adults who believed depression was experienced by individuals who lived a life without Christ.

My depression was brought on at the young age of 14 when my best friend, Brittany Kirk, was murdered by her stepdad. The same stepdad we all joked around with and loved hearing tell jokes. No one saw it coming, and her murder, along with her brother and mother's, was a shock to everyone who knew their family.

It was a long road to healing, but I overcame my depression because anytime I heard about suicide, it was described as selfish.

"There's more to life than yourself and your sadness. You can't let your emotions overpower your common sense. God has a plan for you, and killing yourself is just plain stupid."

Those were the kinds of things I heard about suicide growing up. The only reason I didn't kill myself when I was 14 years old was because all those words flooded my mind. Despite the deep darkness that consumed my mind and heart, I knew ending my life wasn't the answer.

It would hurt and permanently scar the lives of my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and so many others. I would set an awful example, and I would cause more damage than I could possibly imagine.

The opinion and belief that suicide is selfish saved my life, but many people think that kind of outlook is toxic. Regardless of how you were raised and what you have been taught to believe, you have to remember that everyone has a different outlook on life because of their upbringing and experiences.

Don't judge others based on their beliefs. They're entitled to them just as much as you are. No one can help what they're taught to believe, the people they meet, the schools they go to, etc.

No one opinion is more important than another. Just because a particular opinion is popular doesn't make it a fact.

Experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts does not automatically make you an expert on it or qualified to assume why Chester Bennington, or anyone for that matter, did it.

I don't care if you have a Ph.D., you will never completely understand my, or anyone else's, experience. Depression is experienced differently by everyone. No one can experience someone else's pain because it is caused by a unique experience, and they feel what they do based on their past, their ability to cope, and many other factors.

Some people label my opinion on suicide "toxic" while others label it "a revelation." At the end of the day, it is only an opinion based on my personal experiences, and no one can take that away from me.

I want to also point out people are not defined by their actions. By labeling suicide as selfish, I am in no way labeling a person who ends their life, selfish. Millions of people deal with horrible mental health issues, and I never have and never will take it lightly.

Depression affects everyone differently, which means there are some life-saving methods that work for some and others that don't. This phone number 1-800-273-8255 might save someone's life, but it didn't save mine.

You don't have to believe suicide is selfish, but some people do. Accept it, don't judge, continue to disagree if you want, but move on. There is no room for hostility or lack of respect when discussing other's opinions.

Let's do better.

Cover Image Credit: Cameron Hart Photography

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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If You Want To Die Tonight, Please Read This

I want you to live. More importantly, I want you to want to live.

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

Drowning.

Drowning.

Drowning.

Drowning.

The thoughts are deafening, screaming at you that the world would be better off without you and that no one would care if you were gone.

So, you find yourself on the Internet, searching for ways to die in a relatively painless way that will leave the least amount of mess for others. You find yourself thinking about the bridge a half mile from your house or the assortment of pills lining the walls of your medicine cabinet. You remember that your roommates will not be home from class for a few hours; that you are totally alone.

And then, in your Internet search for ways to finally escape the pain, you happen upon this article.

Yes, this one right here.

This one telling you to stay.

And, well, you find yourself still reading along because a piece of you, even if it is the smallest piece of your existence, wants a reason to live.

* * *

I am not sure what is causing you pain, and maybe you honestly are not sure either. All you know is that you have this pain — this never-ending pain — and it's become enough.

Society tells us that we need to tattoo a smile onto our faces and pretend that everything is OK even when we are aching on the inside. If you take one thing away from this article, I want you to remember this — it is OK not to be OK. It is OK if you are not OK today or tomorrow or next week or a year from now. However, one day, it will be a little better and there will be a little bit of sunshine peeking out through the clouds.

I want you to live. More importantly, I want you to want to live.

And, sometimes, wanting to live is about just noticing the little things that make you happy and remembering them.

Like the way the sun looks glistening off of the lake by your house at 5:47 p.m. on a Thursday evening.

Or the way the scent of your coffee creeps up your nostrils while it cools to a drinkable temperature.

Or the fact that a new episode of your family's favorite show is coming on this Thursday.

Or the way your Lush bath bomb colors your water into beautiful shades of blue and green and yellow and pink.

Or the dinner your Mom cooked for tonight to share with you, your Dad, and your sister.

* * *

Life may not turn out how you plan, but perhaps that is not a bad thing.

God has a plan for you.

Why the plan involves you feeling this way, I do not know, but I do know that God did not bring you into this world to suffer.

You deserve help.

You deserve love.

You deserve to be supported.

Even if you feel alone, I promise you are never alone.

You can text "Hello" to 741-741 at any hour of the day and someone will be there to support you.

* * *

So, tonight while you want to die, please just think about the last time you smiled so hard that your face physically hurt or laughed until you almost peed. Just think about a time that you felt something besides what you are feeling now and hold onto it.

Hold onto it, lie down, and go to sleep.

And wake up tomorrow knowing that you are a survivor.

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