I am two months away from my twenty fifth birthday, and I can honestly say I didn’t think I would live to see this. I tried more than once to end my time on this earth. At those times I lost all hope . I lost myself in memories that harmed my mind and body . I lived in a state of constant fear and pain , there was no escape. I did try to pray it away, I begged God to remove the thoughts from my head that I was better off dead- yet they persisted. I tried to lose myself in pleasure that had been weaponized against me, and found myself even more empty.

The night of my first attempt was on a Sunday, my sister and father were sitting on the living room floor in front of the couch I was laying on laughing at whatever movie we were watching. I got up dazed, walked to the kitchen, opened my medicine bottle for my chronic migraines and took fistfuls until the bottle was empty. When I went back to join my family I laid down relieved that this would be my last memory and completely okay with it. I woke up to an ambulance moving my body and my sister and mother in tears. I was angry that even at dying I failed. Even when trying to bring peace to my mind I brought on more chaos and destruction. I never forgot that feeling . Or the ones that followed . The doctors telling me that I should be thankful that I had parents and a family that loved me. The children that I met while admitted in the mental health facility that had similar stories to mine and the ones who struggled with different illness of the mind . I was sixteen. I rarely cried during that stay or the one after . I did have an awakening- literally when I woke up on the third day of being admitted. That if something inside me continued to fight this hard so that I might still wake up and live to see another day then maybe I am not worthless , maybe I do actually have a purpose. Life carried on and did bring me to that . Still now I struggle with cycles of depression and anxiety. Still now do I have to remind myself of who I was when I tried to end who I am: a con man . I had built a persona of myself that my parents , Family, and community saw that was actively healing through my trauma and following through with treatment plans , I was going to graduate and go off to college and I was building myself up as a spiritual person. My inner reality was different, I punished myself for not living up to the image I made for the people around me to the point where suicide was indeed the only way out. In my mind then I rationalize that if I die now they wouldn’t have to see me for who I really was : broken and scared, dirty and worthless, sad and hopeless. Post suicidal attempt, my life had shifted from my family and people around me pushing that I follow through with my treatment to being treated like a fragile infant. I felt the pressure of living, differently and for many years after I lived in that. I didn’t know how to switch out of survivor mode to living whole .

Even after successfully processing some of my most traumatic sexual abuse, I struggled with seeing worth in myself beyond what I was capable of creating or adding to life . I felt indebted for each breathe I took, each joy I felt, each life that came into mine that dared to love me. Somewhere in repaying those “debts” for enjoying life I lost myself again to causes and people (mostly men) that were just as harmful as my suicidal bouts . I had redesigned the image of myself and was wilting away in the body of it . So when I say I appreciate and love the community I made for myself it’s because they have saved my life. They saw me for me : That I was struggling and weak And strong And Resilient. That I am worthy and dignified and still imperfect. That I am love.

When we as a country and community talk about suicide know the battle is different for each person and know that it is important to view it as such . See people that are struggling, really SEE THEM and LOVE THEM. See past their social media persona or work persona, or what have you to who they are underneath it.

I’m telling y’all from experience It’s hard when going through it to ask for help , to pick up a phone and call a loved one or anyone when your own mind has convinced you that there isn’t a person that cares or loves you. Don’t wait to hear from folx that you already know have a history or struggle with depression or mental illness. Be the love they need and see them . Offer them help with caring for themselves (grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, etc.) or take them out to do something or just sit quietly with them. Be creative about how you show up and see them in their entirety. I’m telling you that alone can save a life.

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