Open Letter on Suicide & Depression

*Content Warning: This piece contains references to suicide and depression, which may be triggering to some.*

If you have never experienced depression, reading my words should at least give you an idea on how much pain and hurt someone that is dealing with it might be going through. Even then it’s hard to truly understand. When I see stories about another child, mother, or father that has committed suicide, my heart hurts for the family and for the person that felt this was the only way. I see posts where family members wish they would have known, or wished their loved one would have talked to them about it.

This is where suicide gets really complicated, and this is where I might upset some of you. In my experience with my own depression, NO ONE could have changed my mind except me. Depression runs deeper than that. If you look at many suicide cases, you will see that a lot of these people had amazing support from love ones. Some even had great jobs, had money, had kids that they loved and adored. It doesn’t matter what someone has in life; if someone is truly depressed and thinking about suicide, there is absolutely nothing you could have done differently to create a different outcome for your loved one.

I say this because your loved one was hurting within their self. Some days are easier than others. Some days are amazing and for a second things seem like they are going to be okay. But with the good comes the bad, right? Exactly so with depression: you hide and you try to ignore your pain instead of fixing it, you find things to cover it up or to temporally make you feel better. Then it rains, and that one bad day brings it all back like a storm.

Looking back in my past I can’t even tell you how many times I thought about killing myself and even made attempts. From cutting my wrist at the age of 14 to debating on just opening the door to the vehicle my parents were driving while they were on the highway, to taking a lot of pills, to sitting at a stop sign in my car waiting for a semi-truck to drive by at the right time. Even driving fast on an icy road hoping for the worst outcome.

When I was seventeen, I tried to overdose from pills. I messaged my best friend at the time telling her what I had done. She and her boyfriend rushed me to the hospital; the police were then involved, my parents were called and I was sent to a rehab. Rehab was a good experience, but it didn’t fix what was broken in me, causing me to feel this way. Rehab for me was just like a temporary fix until the rain came again.

You see, I had loving friends and I had a loving family that cared about me deeply. When I returned to school after going to rehab, I had strangers coming up to me offering to hang out, trying to be my friend and be there for me. So why did I still feel alone? Because in my head I wasn’t good enough for anyone around me. I felt like I was a burden when I wasn’t. Many people enjoyed my company, but I didn’t enjoy my own.

When I think back to attempting to kill myself, I had a bigger fear than just dying, I was scared that what if after I’m gone, I would still feel the same way. My last attempt to kill myself was when I was 19 years old. I told myself for a while that once the first hard snow fall happened, I would drive fast when exiting the highway and instead of following the road when it curves, I would keep going straight. The first hard snow fall happened, I waited till after dark so I wouldn’t put anyone else in harms way. I got in my car, saw the exit and pushed the gas petal to the floor. I remember losing control of my car and screaming and then everything was still and quiet. I wasn’t harmed, and neither was my car. A tow truck driver stopped to see if I was okay, helped me out of my car and asked what happened. I just looked at him. He told me he saw what happened and there is no reasonable explanation as to how my car was able to stop where it did.

My outcome should have been way worse. My attempt to kill myself failed, but opened a light in me. I never realized before when planning my way to die, that at the bottom of that steep hill was a church. I took that as a sign that there is more to life than I am making it to be. I made it my mission to figure out what I truly wanted. I am the only one in charge of my happiness, and as a kid I didn’t feel like I had many options so my happiness seemed like a thing in the past, but as a young adult I was able to make more choices on my own and find where I belong in this world.

I am now 25 years old with two beautiful children and a loving husband. I thank God everyday that my attempts to killing myself failed.

I wish my outcome happened to more people that felt the way I did. I wish they were able to see the light before it was too late, and I hope that those people have found happiness. For those of you that blame yourself for the loss of your loved one, I know it’s hard, but it wasn’t your fault. For those of you struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, it does get better, it WILL get better!

My life isn’t perfect and if anything, I have more stressful problems than I did when I felt depressed and suicidal. The difference is that I feel like I found my place in life, I feel like I belong. This wasn’t a very easy journey and it did take a lot of time to get where I am with myself and happiness. My feelings were real when I was younger, and even though I was surrounded by so many loved ones, I felt alone.

I don’t have an explanation as to why something that may not seem that bad to others felt like the end of my life. But how I felt was real and if things didn’t happen the way they did I wouldn’t be here right now to write this. I wouldn’t be able to wake up every morning to hear that little voice saying mommy.

There are a lot of reasons out there as to why a person feels depressed and suicidal. For some it’s bigger problems than mine when I was younger, but when it comes down to the bottom line we all felt the same. We felt like the world would be better without us, mostly because we didn’t feel like we had a place in it anymore. I promise you, no matter how big or how small your problems may be, you do matter and you do belong in this world.

To those of you reading this I hope my words gave you chills, I hope that it made you question why someone would feel the way I did. Because then it will open eyes to see that depression is real, and it is serious, even if its hard to wrap your mind around it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.

Also, if you are reading this and you do struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, I do encourage that you call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

Harness was built on the premise of supporting women, including those that may be struggling in ways that others can’t see. Here are some resources in case you need them, today or in the future.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Suicide Prevention Online Resources: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/

Better Help Online Counseling & Therapy: https://www.betterhelp.com/ 

Anxiety and Depression Association of America — Find Help: https://adaa.org/finding-help 

by Jessica Swanson

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