It is officially September and I always look forward to this time of year. This is a time for change. The weather is changing. Things begin to slow down a bit. The leaves on the trees begin to change colors and cover the streets with a colorful blanket. The sunlight even hangs around less and less and we get to spend more time with the moon.
September is also the month set aside to observe suicide awareness and prevention, among other things. This month has historically been very near and dear to my heart for this particular reason.
Suicide, suicidal thoughts and ideations and grieving after losing a friend or family member to suicide in’t something that people usually discuss openly. This month gives us a chance to normalize these kinds of discussions.
Suicidal thoughts and ideations never just spring from one particular event and feeling this way isn’t easy nor is it easy to abandon. Committing suicide has a painful trickling effect that isn’t seen very clearlu from the vantage point of the one who is merely struggling to stay alive. If you are lucky, you can make it to other side, but for some of us, life ended far too quickly.
I write this article/post with a heavy heart, as a survivor. I am not only a survivior of a dark period of self-loathing and suicidal thoughts, I also survived self-harm. I struggled for years trying to find my place in life, my purpose. I struggled with not loving myself and not knowing myself well enough to see all of the tens of thousands of amazing reasons I had to love myself.
I wanted to die.
On my left wrist, I have a tattoo of a semi-colon. This tattoo symbolizes a rebirth for me. It symbolizes the moment that I decided to live. When I could have ended my life, I didn’t. I got this idea from a video I saw on Faceboook one day. A girl got a semicolon tattoo in honor of her father who was suicidal, but decided against taking his life. Basically, you are the author and the story is your life.
Why would you write a bad story about yourself?
I purposely got the tattoo in its place because on the opposite side of my arm are scars from self-harm. Some days I look at these scars and the sight reminds me of that dark place that I was in. I can remember exactly how it felt. I can remember the thought process throughout and each and every emotion I encountered. Sometimes, I look at them and they fill me with overwhelming shame and guilt. Most of the time, I want to hide them, but I know that I can’t run from it.
I decided to heal through it. This tattoo was the first step for me. It was more than just a mere marking on my body (that some people firmly frown upon). For me it was an outward expression of a conscious decision that I made. I chose to live.
I am still here and I celebrate that every single day.
I began to confront my internal issues head on. With the help of a therapist – who iis awesome an amazing in every way – I was able to really dig deep on the experiences and encounters that had caused me so much pain. I was able to be begin healing.
Now, I freely and openly telll my story. I want to hellp in erasing the stigma around depression, anxiety and mental health. I want people to know that they should treat their minds the way that they treat their bodies. We shouldn’t be abusing our minds and shoving all of these overwhelming thoughts and feelings into it without having an constructive way to get them out. Trust me, they will find a way to release themselves – and it’s not always the most healthy way.
This month will be an amazing month for She Lifts – The Brand and She Lifts Podcast and we journey through and uncover suicide prevention.