By Tabitha Barr / Editor in Chief
Writing this article is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. This topic, in general, requires so much vulnerability, especially since I’m sharing my personal story with suicide and mental illness.
As a society, we like to avoid this topic like the plague. As a human race, we push suicide out of our minds until, sadly, it happens and we have to acknowledge it. It’s not healthy for us to do so. It only hurts us and makes us have a harder time understanding it.
I went to go see the documentary screening of “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” that Hutchinson Community College showed earlier this month. Horizons Mental Health Center had gotten the rights to show the film to students and staff to help raise awareness. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, until I sat down in front of the screen and began to ride a rollercoaster of emotions.
The film had interviews from so many people that have been affected by suicide, whether it was their journey, or someone they loved, it still affected their life completely.
While watching this, I had millions of thoughts racing through my mind of how my life has been changed by suicide and mental ilness.
I’ve hesitated writing this next part because it’s a hard thing to admit. A lot of my family and friends read my articles, and I don’t really know how this is going to go over. But if watching this documentary has taught me anything, it’s that we shouldn’t hide our experiences, but put them out into the world to let others know they’re not alone.
I am diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I have been going to therapy for over two years now and have recently started taking medication.
It has not been an easy journey, to say the least. My anxiety and depression seem to love to visit me as a pair. Over the years, I’ve struggled with each of them, but in ways that I’ve been hiding.
There were several moments in my life where everything seemed pointless. I was in so much pain and none of it was physical. That’s something I’ve struggled with most, is that this hurt isn’t something I can fix with an ice pack. It’s deep in my heart, gut and brain. And it eats away at anything that gives me hope. I often feel like I don’t want to be alive, but I’m too scared to die. Sometimes it’s not that simple.
There was one night where I was alone and the pain was too much. I made my way to the bathroom, sobbing and feeling numb. I honestly don’t know what I was going to exactly do, but I figured the bathroom would require less cleanup for after I was gone. I thought about reaching out to someone for help, but I made myself think that it’s not bad enough. My self-harming thoughts were too wimpy for someone to listen to.
All at once, everything enveloped me and made me fall to my knees. That’s when one thought made its way through the darkness. The only thing I could hear in my head was “I’m living for my little brother.” It repeated itself over and over again, chanting and echoing inside my brain. I sobbed into the floor, muttering that sentence for who knows how long. I don’t know how I got to my bed, and I don’t know how I turned off the lights and laid down, but I did. I survived that night and kept living.
There’s a lot of people I am living for in this lifetime. But there’s one person that has kept me alive more than he realizes. My little brother has truly saved my life. More than once. More than twice. He’s my hope.
Through the hope he gives me and from those who love me, I was finally able to seek the help I needed.
In October, 2019, I decided to see a medication doctor at Horizons. I had gotten to the point where nothing else was working and I was having a hard time finding a reason to stay alive. Medication is something that people have a hard time wrapping their heads around. They fear it. I feared it. But if it was an option that could keep me from leaving this world, then I had no other choice.
I’ve been going to the doctor since then and I think I’m getting closer to the headspace I need to be.
Taking medication and going to therapy doesn’t mean my symptoms are cured. But in taking those steps, and talking about my thoughts helps me to understand myself and my presence on this Earth.
Talking about suicide and the effects it has is something society needs to do more often. It needs to be seen not for something we shame, but for something we can help with.
There are so many stories like those shared in “The Ripple Effect” and I stand alongside them. It’s not something I want to hide away anymore.
You are not alone in how you feel. You are loved by many in this life. And if you argue that you don’t have anyone who loves you, then take my hand. I love you and I want you to be alive and well. You deserve to live.
Tabitha Barr is a sophomore studying Media Communications. She is The Collegian’s Editor In Chief.
If you are someone you love is thinking about suicide,
please know that there are several outlets that are here to help.
Horizons Crisis Line: 1-800-794-0163
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
National Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255