September 10, 2018 — World Suicide Prevention Day
The first time I ever heard about World Suicide Prevention Day was back in 2016. To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit that I’ve been following since I was in high school, posted this blog: “World Suicide Prevention Day: And So I Kept Living” (Visit their blog post here) which led me to learn more about what this day is really about.
Suicide is the cause of over 800,000 deaths worldwide every year, which equals to one suicide every 40 seconds. Seeing those numbers really put into perspective how many people live with depression. But what it really made me think about is that I could have been part of that number.
What I once kept as one of my deepest and darkest secrets is now something I share with the hope of helping someone who may be battling what I once faced. My depression and anxiety were things I wanted to deal with only behind closed doors; I never wanted anyone, especially those closest to me, to know about my struggle. But dealing with my darkness in the dark only lead to more pain. What I needed was light. I needed to bring light to my darkness — It’s only with light that I could begin to see what was in the dark, what I needed to work through.
Light, in this sense, could look different for everyone. Maybe it’s your parents, siblings, or pet. Maybe it’s your friends, significant other, or children. Maybe it’s a new promotion at work. Maybe it’s a text from a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Maybe it’s the person who smiled at you in the grocery store. Maybe it’s a letter from a relative who lives across the world. Maybe it’s the person who held the door for you as you left your office. Maybe it’s a little spark in your heart that came after a long, heartbreaking season of your life. Whatever your light is, nourish it, don’t put it out.
For me, my light came one night while I sat outside of a Starbucks with my mentor. The days leading up to that night were far from my best. I was worn down, spread thin, tired of trying, and I was completely ready to throw in the towel and call it quits for the last time. I told myself that nothing and no one would change my mind, that my decision to put an end to everything was final… Yet, I’m still here today.
I had built up walls so high that even I had a hard time to break them down, yet my mentor was able to take them down notch by notch in a few hours. My light came when I shut out the voice in my head that said I reached the end of my story, and started to really listen to what my mentor was telling me.
I am not my past. I am not my mistakes. I am not my shortcomings. I am not who others tell me I need to be. I am loved. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a child of God. I am enough. I am stronger than I think I am. I have the power to keep fighting.
After sitting with my mentor and letting her bring light into my darkness, I left Starbucks with a renewed mind. I left knowing that I needed to wake up the next day and continue to tell my story. I left knowing that I was more than I gave myself credit for. I left knowing that tomorrow needed me.
Tomorrow needed me, and tomorrow needs you, too.
Tomorrow needs you to be stronger than you were today.
Tomorrow needs you to keep fighting and remember why you held on for so long.
Tomorrow needs you to help someone else in need.
Tomorrow needs you to love others the way you want to be loved.
Tomorrow needs you to enjoy all the little things.
Tomorrow needs YOU.
Learn more about TWLOHA here.