November 18 is National Suicide Survivor Day.
I never even knew that. I walked in a Suicide Awareness walk recently and I spent the majority of the time being quite alarmed at how many people just in my area had been directly affected by the loss of a loved one or friend.
This is one of those events that unless you go through it, you can not really explain it well. Everybody says that about everything don’t they? It is true. It’s this strange out-of-body experience that is simply unexplainable.
I was 16. He was my first love. At 16 you are more innocent than you are ever willing to admit. You don’t have a grasp on how long life really can be. You have no ability to realize that things will change. You don’t realize that the pain goes away. You don’t realize how a change in scenery can make everything different.
A mother lost her firstborn. A father lost who he thought would be the leader of the pact. A grandmother lost her grandson. Siblings lost a brother. I lost a best friend. A boyfriend. My first love. And it changes us all. Rocked our world into being unrecognizable.
It has been 15 years and while it has changed, has been ignored and seemingly has been forgotten by everyone around me, I still remember. I still cry for the soul that was lost. I still miss who he could have been. I miss what my life could have been. I have spent more time imagining the what if’s then I was ever able to actually spend with him.
I have no idea who he would be today. I have no idea if our love would have survived. I have no idea if we even would have kept in touch.
I will never have the ability to know.
I have read thousands of people’s stories online. I have volunteered at suicide hotlines. I have answered phone calls at 2 in the morning and run out just to be the shoulder that someone needed at that moment. I have made it known to anybody who has access to my social media that I am ALWAYS available when you think you are alone. My number is always there for you to call.
It isn’t enough I feel. I can’t bring him back.
And so here I was, standing in a crowd of people who all have their own stories. And I was moved to tears to see how COMMON this problem has become. How in the hell has this become SO NORMAL??
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2017.
Each year 44,193 AMERICANS die by suicide.
Suicide costs the United stated $51 Billion annually.
Men die of suicide 3.5 times more than women.
The average age of suicide victims? MIDDLE AGED WHITE MEN
Never Stop trying to help. Keep your eyes and hearts open. Mental illness is not a CHOICE. It should not be a stigma. It should not have to be hidden. It should not be something that they have to be ashamed of.