At only 19, I have been through a lot in my life and have dealt with so many issues. Even though I’m not perfect now, I have found ways to help me deal and have overcome everything that I have been through. When I was younger, I was never really accepted by anyone, school, family, anything. I just have always felt as though I didn’t belong.
To add to the sense of not belonging, my parents split up. For about a year after that, my cousin was sexually abusing/raping me. I never felt connected enough to my parents or family to tell anyone, fearing that they wouldn’t believe me. Therefore, I kept all of this pain inside making me feel as though I was messed up, dealing with depression, anger, bitterness and hurt. I was always looking for happiness and a way out of the dark hole I was in. I started hurting myself because I just felt a sadness that would never go away. I was never liked by anyone, so I tried changing my physical appearance, by becoming prettier and “acceptable.”
Hindsight is a mean creature. Imagine the lives that could be saved, if we knew today what we will find out tomorrow. Suicide stole a friend of mine. As cliché as it sounds...suicide really did steal a piece of everyone who knew him that day.
I'm 20, and I'm sitting at a friend's funeral. I didn't think this was coming for another 50 years. Ten days earlier, we'd been chatting away, making plans to catch up. The next day, he took his life. He didn't seem himself the weekend before he did it. I knew he wasn't happy and we were worried. I asked him if he was going to "do something silly" but he said he "was fine," so I assumed he was. I spoke to him the next day and he said he was great, and we organized to go to a football game the next week.
Feeling hopeless or suicidal is a common experience. You are not alone. It is estimated that one in six people feel seriously suicidal at some point in their lives.
If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it’s not that solutions don’t exist, only that you are currently unable to see them.
Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. If you can’t talk to your parents, find someone else, if not a friend, then a trusted adult: a relative, program leader, teacher, school nurse or guidance counselor. (For other possibilities, go to Resources in Your Community.) Asking for help does not mean that you are helpless or can’t do things on your own. Asking for help is an act of courage, not a sign of weakness.
Thoughts of ending your own life don’t necessarily mean that you want to die, only that you have more pain than you feel you can cope with right now. The crisis you are experiencing is real. Although it may seem to you that there are no solutions, why not give somebody else a chance to come up with something? Others may be thinking more clearly than you are at this time. Let someone in your life help you.
Do not keep suicidal thoughts to yourself. Tell someone you trust.
Avoid using alcohol or drugs when you are feeling desperate or in crisis. Yes, they can numb your feelings but they can also affect your judgment. Try this instead. Make a promise to yourself. Say, “I will not hurt myself for at least 24 hours." Then think of three people you know that you might want to talk to. Reach out to one of them and ask if you could talk to them if you are feeling really badly. Ask for help.
Suicidal crises are almost always temporary and once over, might never come again. Feelings change, perspectives change, life can be surprising and time can make all the difference. Although you may be feeling terrible right now, remember that you are important, that there are people who care about you, need you and would miss you if you were gone. You have a unique place in the big picture.
You can get help.
While just talking can make a big difference, the best way to help your friend in crisis is to talk to a responsible adult about your concerns. This could be a teacher, guidance counselor or other member of the school staff. It might also be your parents, a member of the clergy or someone who works at the local youth center. If the adult you have approached doesn’t take you seriously, talk to someone else. If you need help finding that “someone else”, call 800.273.TALK.
After consulting with a responsible adult, take the following steps to help a suicidal person:
Show You Care
Let your friend know that you really care. Ask about how they are feeling. Listen carefully and calmly with your full attention to what he or she has to say. Speak slowly and softly, while taking your time and showing patience and understanding. Never ignore or dismiss their pain or feelings. Begin the conversation:
“I’m worried about you and about how you are feeling.”
“You mean a lot to me and I want to help.”
“I’m here if you need someone to talk to.”
Ask the question:
Are you thinking about suicide?
Talking with a friend about suicide will not put the idea into their head. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Ask the question:
“Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
“Are you feeling like you want to die?”
"Have you been thinking about suicide?"
Offer hope that there is a better future and its worth fighting for - that things will get better. Keep the conversation positive, while still being careful to be understanding. Reassure them that their life has purpose and meaning and they belong. Suggest:
“There are people in your life who would be really hurt if you weren't there.”
"You really matter to me and to others, like ____.” (name someone they care about) "You are not alone."
“It's hard to see it right now, but this will pass with time. Things will get better.”
Read stories about how some kids found ways to hope for the future
Help Them Get Help
If a friend tells you they are thinking of suicide, never keep it a secret, even if they ask you to. Even when you're not sure. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by taking your friend to someone with professional skills to provide the help that he or she needs. You can continue to help by offering support and staying with them. Reassuringly suggest:
"Let’s talk to someone who really knows how to help. Let’s call the crisis line now.”
“How about we go talk to _______ (name a person) right now. I know you like them and they have helped others.” (Be specific, if you can, about how they could help)
"I'd like to go with you. I want to be there for you.”
Remember: even when you're not sure, never promise to keep information about suicide a secret.
when you have to act now
- If you are in Vermont, call 2-1-1.
- You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
For TTY, call 1.800.799.4889.
- If you are a US military veteran, call 1.800.273.8255 and press 1.
- Call the Mental Health Service nearest you.
- Tell someone who is in a position to help you.
- If you feel the danger is imminent, call 9-1-1 or get yourself or the person in crisis to the nearest emergency room.
Stay with them, and make sure they have no access to firearms, medications, alcohol and other substances or implements which they might use to kill themselves or which might lower their resistance to hurting themselves.
- Leave them alone
- Dismiss, ignore or minimize the problem
- Argue about whether suicide is right or wrong
- Try to forcefully remove a weapon
- Offer harmful advice, such as drinking or drugging to make the problem go away
- Be critical or say anything that might cause shame or guilty feelings
- Say you know how they feel
- Promise to keep suicidal plans a secret
- Challenge, bargain or dare the person.
- Bear the burden alone. Make sure to tell some and get help.
“I wish I were dead.”
“You will be better off without me.”
"There is no reason for my life."
“I'm going to end it all.”
“If (XYZ) doesn't happen, I'll kill myself.”
“I'm so tired of it all.”
“What's the point of living?”
"Life is just not worth living."
“I believe in suicide.”
“I won't be needing this any more.”
“We all have to say good-bye sometime."
“How do you become an organ donor?”
“Who cares if I'm dead, anyway?”
"Is it true that God would forgive any sin?"
"Death is better than life."
Warning signs are the earliest observable clues that a person may be considering suicide in the near-term (within minutes, hours or days).
Cause for Immediate Concern:
Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
Seeking access to lethal means--guns, medications, poisons
Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
If it's you...
If you find yourself acting or feeling in one or more of these ways, get help immediately. Dial 2-1-1 in Vermont, a mental health professional , Call 9-1-1 for police or emergency services or Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach a real person who can help, even if you only want to talk.
Or someone else...
If someone you know is behaving in any of these ways, get help right away. Stay with the person until professional help is available. Keep the person away from firearms, medications, alcohol and other substances which they might use to kill themselves or which might lower their resistance to causing themselves harm. Dial 2-1-1 in Vermont to reach a mental health professional, Call 9-1-1 for police or emergency services or Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach a real person who can help. Never leave a suicidal person alone.