Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

“I Matter.”: A Suicide Prevention Story.

It’s not that I want to die, it’s just that I wish that the pain I feel would go away permanently.

The last time I cut myself was three weeks ago. 

For once, the physical pain of my scars was masking the mental pain I was feeling in that moment. It felt good for a brief moment, up until I recollected my thoughts and asked myself why did I resort to self-harm in the first place? Am I going down the rabbit hole again? Will the next time be more intense? What got me to finally relapse after years of being free of self-harming?

You see, the last time I cut myself was 6 years ago, in 2013. No therapist, no medication, not even fully aware that the things I was feeling and going through were major signs of depression. For 6 years, through the hard times and the rough patches, I was strong enough to not pick up a sharp object and cut my skin to mask the mental pain with physical pain.

But, that doesn’t mean I never had suicidal thoughts.

The suicidal thoughts were intense when I was eighteen. I was going through a major dark time in my life, and back then I actually wanted to die. I don’t know how I honestly got through it and out of that place, but my very limited memories of that time in my life are just me being intensely depressed, cutting myself on the bathroom floor, writing poems that were disguised as suicide notes.

Maybe it’s because I’m older that I now have a better understanding of life. My brain isn’t aware of that I feel the same type of pain I did back then, but I now have more value and respect for my life. I know I want to live. 

I want to live because I am only 25, and I still have an entire world to explore. I want to live to see my friends get married and start families of their own, I want to live to see myself get engaged and married in the future, I want to live to see who I am by the time I’m 30, 40, 50 years old. I want to live because I know my life is not over yet, and I know that I will get through this.

But to even get to that specific headspace takes so much willpower. Sometimes, there will be people that take more than one pill at a time just so that they get some well-needed sleep, and unfortunately, commit suicide in the process. Sometimes, there will be people who cut their wrists too deep and unfortunately commit suicide in the process.

As an active fighter against my own demons and survivor of defeating past ones, I stand here today to let you know that things will always get better, and your life matters.

You matter because people do love you. They will miss you. They will mourn you, and regret that they couldn’t help you when you’re alive. You matter because your unique talents and passions can make a difference not only to your life but also in the world. You matter because there is no one else like you; sure, other people may have similar qualities, but no one is going to be exactly like you in this world. Losing you means we lose your sense of humor, your style, your spunk, your passions, and the imperfections that make up the beauty in you. You matter.

I matter.

So while I’m getting the help needed in order to keep on living on this planet, I hope you are too. Ask for help, go and talk to a professional, you can even go online and talk to someone on NYC Well if you live in the NYC area (of course, there are other hotlines you can reach out to if you are not in NYC). Most importantly, create a safety plan for yourself in order to become aware of your behavior and thoughts when it goes through this crisis mode:

  • What are some of the things that trigger you into this crisis mode?
  • What are some of the behaviors you portray when they happen?
  • What are some things you can do to help cope when you are by yourself?
  • Who are some of the people in your life you can text or call when you are having a crisis mode?
  • What are some of the professional resources I can use if I can’t reach anyone personal in my life?
  • How can I prevent myself from self-harming in the future?
  • What are some of the reasons you want to live?

Simply creating a safety plan to live by and remember whenever you feel a lack of control in your life and going through crisis mode can honestly save your life. I created my own safety plan with my therapist a couple of weeks ago after admitting to her that I had recently cut myself after weeks of my depression becoming more intense. I now have a better idea of the moments and feelings that drive me to a negative headspace, and I now know what to do if I ever come confronted with those moments and feelings, and have other outlets to depend on instead of taking it out on my body. I now know what to avoid when I’m in that negative headspace, and I now know the unique objects and places that can help me through the negative thoughts and intense emotions.

It’s the little things that may actually save your life in the long run.

I’m an advocate for mental health, especially suicide awareness and prevention because I’ve been a victim and I’ve been a witness to it. It’s such a terrible thing to have to experience and hear about on the news, especially those who are in my age range and even as young as pre-teens. While we are having more conversations about mental health to prevent suicide, it is still one of the highest death rates within younger age groups, and I hope that at least sharing my story to one of you guys will help you understand that you aren’t alone, the thoughts and emotions you feel aren’t just yours alone, and that you can come out stronger and happier in the long-run.

Also, don’t feel bad if you relapsed in any way. I might have relapsed after 6 years of being self-harm free, but it doesn’t mean that the way I handled things in the past was right for my mental health. It also doesn’t mean all the process I’ve made since then is now gone. We all have our moments, and sometimes we don’t even have control over ourselves, but please – make sure you have some sort of safety plan so that your relapse isn’t an accidental suicide.

We don’t want to lose you because you matter.

And let those around you who are struggling to find reasons to live that they matter too.

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