Trigger warning: depression, suicide
I physically felt my chest crack as I heard the news. He was gone, and he wasn’t coming back. I had always known he had his demons, but they played well with mine, and that was likely what attracted me to him in the first place. That and his ridiculous sense of humor. He was accepting of everyone and was so authentically himself that it was infectious. People appreciated being around him because he knew how to make you feel like a somebody. He was one of the most precious people I’ve ever called a friend, and I want nothing more than to give him one last hug and tell him one last time how much I care about him. I want him to know that it didn’t have to end this way.
When I close my eyes, the memories I have of him flood my mind. All the evenings I spent visiting him at work while he would bartend. I purposely would meet dates there just so he could give me his opinion of them after. He despised my taste in men but was always there to remind me when I deserved better. He gave the best hugs on the days you needed it most, and thanks to a long ago drunken birthday party, he still holds the award for the best kisser I have ever kissed. An awkwardly embarrassing story, he never let me live down. He was indeed one of a kind, and I will always cherish him.
However, no matter the amount of light he brought into other people’s lives, it didn’t change the fact that he, himself, had a lost soul. Where the people in his life saw value and perfection, he saw hopelessness and gloom within himself. We, as humans, are always going to be our own worst critic, concentrating more on what we lack rather than all the good we bring to the table. Difficulties tend to consume us, especially when we feel trapped and alone.
Every day, people decide to end their own lives. They feel lost and alone. Some people find themselves in constant pain or struggling with abandonment while others feel as though they are invisible. But that’s far from reality. For those of you who are reading this and struggling with your thoughts, I realize that your mind may be telling you otherwise, but I need you to know that you are good, and there are people out there who understand what you are going through and genuinely care. You are far from invisible.
I see you.
I see your arms are shaking because you don’t know how much longer you can keep everything from crashing down on you. It feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and it is utterly exhausting — this I know. I recognize the effort you keep hidden behind your smile. The smile that you use to protect the truth. I know you are hurting, but I see you.
I have been there.
I have found myself so lost in the darkness before that I couldn’t tell you which way was which. I fought and fought and cried and then fought some more because that is how you survive. There is no doubt about it: Life gets hard, and we don’t always know how to handle the complicated stuff. Without the strength to ask for help and a little direction, you will let the darkness consume you. Things will start to move a little slower, and you will care a little less, until one day, you can’t remember the last time you felt like yourself, and you don’t know how to talk about it without feeling extremely vulnerable, so you don’t. You hide it and move on because you don’t want to bother others with your feelings. But I know from experience that it’s a lonely feeling when you believe you’re drowning in plain sight and nobody knows.
Your struggles do not define you. You need to understand this: you are not broken, and you absolutely do hold value. Sometimes we just need a little guidance on our journey. A map to help get us where we want to be. Just as life can be hard, life can also be beautiful. Some of the most amazing things to happen to me happened after some of my most difficult times. Had I not made a choice to fight, I would have missed out on some unbelievable experiences.
Ending your life is not and will never be the answer. Suicide is a permanent reaction to a temporary situation that you can never take back. If you or somebody you know could be suffering from suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.