Last week was National Suicide Prevention Week, and it hit me hard, especially when I was reminded that suicide is the third leading cause of death among children and young adults from ages 10 to 24. I thought about all the people I knew who died by suicide, and even though I didn’t know all of them personally, my heart ached for them and their loved ones. Last week alone, I had four individuals tell me they no longer wanted to live. The belief that courage is unwavering is a lie. Courage is wavering; it requires maintenance and hard work. I often hear others say that individuals who die by suicide are cowards, and I used to get annoyed by such comments; now, I take pride in helping such individuals to examine their perspective about suicide.
So many of us stay silent because we know we would be judged and stigmatized by some of the very people who claim to love us if we shared that our daily existence was a fight to stay alive. Yes, life can get hopeless, overwhelming, and traumatic. I too have been in that place where memories of past trauma and life felt overwhelming. The pain was unbearable, and hope seemed like an unlikely miracle. The best, most rational option at that time was to end the suffering by suicide. I commend those who have never considered suicide as an option, and I beg you, please do not judge, for so many fight day by day, minute by minute to stay afloat.
So many do not have the strength, resources or support needed to help them through the pain. Even with the support, it is still difficult to cope. To those who are strong and have never harbored the thought of death by suicide, treat the rest of us how we want to be treated, without judgment, with respect, without stigma, and with kindness.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please, get help! See a therapist, call now, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline-1-800-273-8255!