By: Christine Saenz
I am three-time suicide attempt survivor; I know first hand what it is like to be in that dark place of feeling hopeless. Battling a mental illness can be an exhausting and lonely place. Mental illness can bully your mind into believing that you are a burden and your family and friends will be better off without you, when it simply isn’t true. The illness will cause you to isolate yourself when in reality this is the time you truly need your loved ones around you.
After my third suicide attempt I decided enough was enough. I vowed to fight every single day, to not let my illness win, and to let people like me, the ones fighting the same battles, know they matter and they are not alone. I still have bouts of feeling that deep ache in my heart but there is a difference now, now I can talk freely about how I feel and get the support I need. I have a safe place to say “I am not ok” and in times of distress my support system helps to remind me I do matter. And this is why it is so important to reach out to others.
Every day I meet more and more people whose lives have been touched by suicide and while I have attempted suicide I never lost anyone to suicide until last month. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. Feeling confused and hurt I set out to find out as much as I could about what happened. How did I miss all the signs? I knew my friend was struggling but how did I not pick up on his pain. I don’t think he understood how loved he was and how much we all needed him. He left a gaping hole in a lot of people’s hearts. If I could go back to the last few moments I would make sure he knew how much he mattered and how much we loved him. Now we are left to grieve and pick up the pieces. In order for me to cope with this loss I decided to celebrate the beauty of life as much as I can.
Even in the darkest time there is light and there is good. My hope is that we can come together as a society and help those who are struggling. To say to them it’s ok to not be ok, but reach out. We are here for you and we want to help, you matter in the world.
If you or anyone you know has suicidal thoughts please reach out and remember the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US):1-800-273-8255 (International Suicide Hotlines HERE).
For facts on suicide broken down by state, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website at https://afsp.org/about-suicide/
*To get involved and spread awareness join Christine's Suicide Prevention Week Campaign by sending her a photo captioned with why life is beautiful to you! How to participate HERE.*