Remember in September – Daily Post #21 for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Every 18 minutes someone dies from suicide.

Every 43 seconds someone attempts suicide.

Live Through This is a very important, mighty, awesome, valuable and beneficial project for many people in many positive ways. It is a wonderful and creative idea. I love it. Thanks for creating this project Des.

Besides giving people the opportunity to share their struggles that brought them to the point of having suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide, it also focuses on their strength, courage, perseverance, coping strategies and their continued survival. There is also a portion where Des interviews them for part of their stories.

This post is very important to me and dear to my heart, as I have attempted suicide numerous times throughout my life and have been ashamed of it for many years. From reading other’s stories about their suicide attempts and their own struggles, I learned a lot and learned I am not alone… and neither are any of you.


4 Suicide-Attempt Survivors Tell Their Stories

Years after her suicide attempt, Dese’Rae L. Stage Googled “suicide survivor.” “What I found,” she shares on her website, “was people who had lost someone they loved, not people like me, who had tried to die and lived instead — people who were confused about what happened next, who felt so much shame that they couldn’t talk about what had happened to them, people who felt misunderstood and alone.”

Stage knew that isolation could be deadly. “I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder in 2004,” she writes. “I’m also a survivor of nine years of self-injury and a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.” Stage was compelled to action not only by her own struggle with mental illness and self-harm, she says, but also by the loss of friends to suicide and the egregious lack of resources available to suicide-attempt survivors in this country. So, as a self-taught photographer, Stage created the multimedia storytelling project Live Through This, which draws suicide-attempt survivors out from under our culture’s shroud of anonymity and encourages them to share their experiences — with faces and names attached. The project also aims to raise awareness of the “basic tenet of suicide prevention,” which is: “If you’re afraid a loved one might be suicidal, ASK.”

As Stage points out, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. What’s more, it’s the only one of the top 10 causes of death that increased from 2011 to 2012. Today, life expectancy is higher than it’s ever been, but the suicide rate is on the rise — perhaps indicating that our country’s mental-health management is lagging behind the rest of medicine. Dismantling the stigma around suicide is a literal matter of life and death for tens of thousands of people: Some 40,000 Americans die by suicide every year. With Live Through This, Stage provides a platform for the people behind these numbers and amplifies the stories — the devastating, diverse, uplifting, uncertain, hopeful, despairing, healing stories — of those who have survived attempted suicide.

This post was originally published on February 20, 2015

I Survived a Suicide Attempt

Emily Lancaster 

Emily Lancaster is a lab technician.
She was 33 years old when I interviewed her in Eugene, OR, on July 31, 2014.

CONTENT WARNING: If you’re uncomfortable with discussion of specific suicide methods, please read with care.

I tried to kill myself for the first time when I was seven years old. I was a very precocious child, living with my mother. She left my father a few years before, and we had recently moved to Colorado. My mom was 26, and doing that early mid-life freak out where you realize 30 is approaching. With one failed marriage under the belt, she was very depressed, and very lonely. She was going out bar-hopping all the time, leaving me with neighbors. I didn’t see an awful lot of my mom at that particular period. I got really, really sad.

When I think back on it, I’m always really shocked at how clear my feelings were to me. When you’re a child of that age, it’s all gut reaction to things. I remember sitting there one night… my mom had come home and picked me up from the neighbors’ at 10 PM, and basically went and passed out. I was just sitting there awake, crying a lot, thinking about how I didn’t feel like there was ever going to be any warmth or human connection. I didn’t really have any friends. I had one friend, a boy who lived in my same apartment complex. He was very similarly emotionally precocious, and very similarly depressed with his situation. I remember that heavy feeling of not wanting to live anymore.

I tried to hang myself in the hall closet with a jump rope. I didn’t know how it worked except… rope around the neck. It hurt. The strangling feeling mirrored my feeling of being trapped and helpless. Eventually, I was able to undo the knot and drop down into the bottom of the closet. I stayed there for a couple of hours and just cried. Then I hid my jump rope and went to bed. The next morning I didn’t say anything to my mom. I don’t think she ever noticed.

I’ve always had this creeping doom, this constant thing in the back of my head. Now that I’m older, I realize that there’s a difference between not wanting to live anymore and actually wanting to die. Because of that, I have not made any actual suicide attempts in many, many years.

There were a few times.

When I was 10, I had a psychotic break and moved out of my mother’s house because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I moved in with my father. His relationship had crumbled and my stepmom moved up here, but I’d stayed with him in California for a while. He went on a business trip to Los Angeles and left me by myself for a week. While he was gone, I ate every pill in the house and tried to slash my wrists. I was very serious about wanting to die then. Luckily, we didn’t have anything [strong] in the house. I went through the night having an anti-cholinergic reaction to the overdose. I puked up what must have been a half pound of powder from just the filler in the pills. I lost my hearing temporarily.

I called a suicide hotline that morning before going to school, and I didn’t really listen to anything they told me. I just had to tell somebody what happened. It was like opening up a pressure cooker; all the pressure had gone away. It was traumatic enough that it kind of reset something, and then I was okay. I wasn’t happy that I woke up, I wasn’t happy that I felt so bad, but the compulsion to die had passed.

When I was a teenager, I made a couple of serious attempts. When I was 12, I was raped at gunpoint by one of my classmates—a guy that went to my middle school and lived down the street from me. It wasn’t directly related to that. It came later, when I went back to school that week and had to face him and his friends. He had obviously told them. All of a sudden, I was being treated like it was my thing, like I was a whore.

A couple of years later, I moved up here to live with my stepmother. She and my dad weren’t together, but they weren’t apart. I was living with her and he was living down the street in an apartment. He would come over, they would fight, and she would take it out on me. She and I always had problems when I was a teenager. We’re good now, but it got to the point where I got that trapped animal feeling again. My older sister had a bunch of pills and I ate them, not realizing that it was essentially another Benadryl overdose. I waited for everybody to leave the house because I was always the last one to go. I had the latest classes, so I left after everyone anyway.

I waited for my stepmom to go to her part-time job, ate all the pills, and passed out in my bed. My stepmom had forgotten something and came home. Something had tipped her off that I hadn’t left, so she came upstairs and into my room. I was on my bed, and she started to yell at me [for not going] to school. I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t talk. I was having problems with my muscles, and I couldn’t tell her what was wrong. She grabbed me and tried to bring me down the stairs. I ended up falling down the stairs because I couldn’t walk. That was when she realized that there was actually something physically wrong with me. She took me to the emergency department and I had to drink charcoal. Eventually, after sitting there for some hours, I was able to actually speak, and tell her that I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Then, of course, it triggered an entire series of events that made me feel more isolated. Like, “Oh, now we can’t trust you to be by yourself.”

My stepmom called my older sister from the hospital while she was at school, and she had a huge histrionic breakdown in class. We went to the same school, so… of course, I get back to school and everybody knew what had happened.

The nice thing, when you’re 15 years old, is that a lot of people actually do understand, even though they won’t say it to your face. They’ll call you crazy behind your back, but one-on-one, you catch their eyes and you can feel that there’s some sort of compassion, some sort of understanding there.

In my adult life, now that I realize that not wanting to live anymore doesn’t equate to wanting to die, I can feel that compulsive feeling coming on. It was triggered circumstantially when I was a teenager, and I was not equipped to differentiate. It all automatically was, “I can’t do this anymore. I need to die.” I don’t get that anymore. I still get the, “I can’t do this anymore, and I don’t want to live anymore,” feeling. I still get the suicidal ideation periodically, but I recognize it as a stress response. I recognize it as something broken in my fight-or-flight.

So, while I still periodically get that feeling, it’s not dangerous. It’s like, “Okay, this is how we’re feeling.” Luckily, I’ve gotten comfortable enough to be able to tell the people who are close to me when that’s happening, and ask for a little more emotional support. [I am] able to say, “I’m not coping right, right now.” It’s helped me in my own personal life to remove some of that stigma from myself and the way that I deal with myself. It allows me to treat myself gently and actually ask for help, which I’m really grateful for. I’m really grateful for the people around me, the people who love me, and being able to recognize that I can deal with it rationally, so they can as well. Then it passes.

Honestly, when you work in the psych ward, the worst thing you can think of is having to actually use those services. It’s one of those things that’s like, if I were to be on the other end of this, would I ever be able to come back? Would I lose all of my credibility? I don’t like the way that, as Americans, we deal with the stigma surrounding self-injury and suicidal ideation. There is the emergency response, which is to isolate, restrain, and that sort of thing, but we haven’t figured out a compassionate way to go from that to helping people become more functional.

Working in healthcare, and specifically dealing with patients who are in the process of getting the help that’s available for those sort of feelings, there are minimal resources. But, when I think about how it feels to be suicidal, how it feels to actually want to die… I realize that, yes, it is an acute issue, but it’s oftentimes chronic. As far as I’m concerned, it’s terminal. I wish that, as a society, it was treated with that same sort of seriousness as any other terminal illness.

If it was my show, if it was my world, I would say, “Okay, we’re going to acknowledge that it’s your life and you’re done with it.” Then you treat it like a terminal illness. People with terminal illnesses have help putting their affairs in order. They have help with transitioning with their family. A lot of times, if it is a situational thing, getting that sort of help can alleviate some of that and maybe give somebody the tools to change their mind.

But the immediate response to somebody who wants to die is to tie them down and drug them up. They still have that life, you know? They still have to someday step out of the hospital. It becomes really hard, when you’re depressed, to follow through with the things that would eventually make your life better.

Des: Talk to me more about death with dignity, or assisted dying.

Emily: Death with dignity would be a very simple integration if you actually treated suicidal ideation as a terminal illness, as opposed to an acute breakdown. Right now, you can get assistance with ending your life if you have a terminal illness. You can do it on your own terms, you can call the shots, and get help putting your affairs together. Make it a hospice situation. Sometimes people make that decision and they get better. Sometimes they make that decision, sit on their meds for a while, and change their mind. You don’t get treated like a criminal for it. You don’t get treated like a failed human being. It seems like it would be really easy to extend that level of amnesty.

Des: What’s the difference between when your body is sabotaging you versus when your mind is sabotaging you?

Emily: That’s a very good question. I don’t know. My body’s been trying to mutiny for years. I’ve had leukemia for ten years now, and I’ve had melanoma. I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m afraid to go to the doctor to see how my body is failing me. God forbid it would be my mind that turns against me. I honestly don’t understand why we, as a society, treat that [differently]. I mean, if somebody breaks their leg, you don’t go, “Ah! Now you’re a worthless piece of shit.” You say, “Oh, maybe you should stay off of it for a little bit, and can I grab the door for you?”

I’m especially sensitive to people’s mental health issues. Not only because of my job, and because of my own personal issues, but where I live, there are so many marginalized people. It’s a chicken or egg thing. Was their mental state the reason that they ended up on the street, or was being on the street what made them crazy?

We’re really gentrified. The economic disparity just becomes more and more acute. It’s shocking. [My friend] is homeless. I’ll sit with him and his friends sometimes and listen to what people say as they go by. I remember a guy walking by, and he said, “Ah, it must be nice not to have anything to do, or to not have any responsibilities.” Are you freaking kidding? Get to the point where you spend your entire day working on your next meal.

I go to work for eight hours every day, and don’t really think about it. Money dumps into my bank account, I pay my rent for the roof over my head, and go grocery shopping when I feel like it.

[My friend] will bring his accordion out and play for hours. At the end of the day, he might get three bucks, he might get thirty bucks. Then, it’s like, “Okay, we can fill the belly.” Then we have to deal with tackling, “Where am I going to sleep and not get arrested?” Then we have to tackle, “Maybe I’d like to shave so I don’t look like a scumbag. I gotta figure out a way to make that happen.”

Every little task becomes a huge undertaking, so people check out. They’re like, “Well, I’ve got three bucks. I could spend it on a sandwich at the gas station. Or, I could spend it on a forty of Olde English, and then I’ve got a painkiller. I’ve got something in my belly, and the ground becomes a lot softer.” What kind of existence is that, once you get to that point?

I see it all as just very, very connected. I see it all as leaving people trapped in something unsustainable. If we can’t be compassionate enough to lift somebody up off the street, can we be compassionate enough to let them decide that they’re tired of fighting for it?

Des: Talk more about the resources here in Eugene, and why there’s such a large transient population.

Emily: Being right on the I-5 corridor, we get a lot of travelers moving between the various hotspots in California—Los Angeles, San Francisco—Portland and Seattle. This funny little hippie town was pretty full of idealists, and at one point, a fairly large anarchist community. Strangely enough, they’re some of the more compassionate towards people who are in need. Food Not Bombs is a huge example. I think a lot of the resources that we do have come from those groups of people, and their realization that they were losing their friends and family.

This is a weird little town with not an awful lot to do. It’s a very wet town. People either drink heavily or are recovering from drinking heavily. We’ve got a lot of church organizations. We’ve got the Egan Warming Center. We had a gentleman freeze to death some winters ago because he had nowhere to go on a cold night. His body was found in a snow bank. We don’t get an awful lot of really cold nights, but when we do, people aren’t equipped. We’ve got resources to keep people just on the living side of the brink. If you’re in dire straits, Eugene’s a great place.

We have a diner down here, over by the WOW Hall, that is run by FOOD for Lane County. They provide free hot meals. It’s like going to a restaurant. They don’t operate on Sundays, so I have this group of friends who started this thing called Burrito Brigade. They get together and make vegan burritos. I think they’re making something like 200 burritos now. I think the first time they went out, they did 80. They’ve since gotten more volunteers and it’s all just personal donations, donations from food banks, and community garden stuff. They wrap it all up and they come out here. The first Sunday they went out, [my friend] was sleeping over there across the street and woke up to a burrito on his accordion case. Made his day, man. The diner wasn’t open, and he got to eat that day.

You can treat the symptoms of that sort of existence. You can ease a little bit of the pain, but a lot of the people who you see are actively drinking themselves to death on the street. They’re self-medicating existential pain. A lot of them are suicidal. But when it comes down to it, going and laying on the train tracks is, in that moment, just as big of an undertaking as finding somewhere to sleep it off, or just getting another beer. It’s all just a huge undertaking, and sometimes people do make that decision.

Des: Talk more about work. You made that comment earlier about losing your credibility.

Emily: In the past year, I’ve had probably two specific points where I felt like I just couldn’t handle it myself. But because I work at the hospital, I don’t feel like I can go into the emergency department and say that I’m having a crisis.

I was actually talking to one of the nurses I work with yesterday about it. How, if I felt like I really needed to crack, I would have to go somewhere else. I’d have to go visit my mom in Colorado or something and have my breakdown there. I don’t feel like I could go sit in the psych ward and do arts and crafts next to somebody, and then the next week come through and take their blood. Would they even let me if I was sitting there with an armband on the week before?

I don’t feel like there’s a way to “go back to normal,” specifically for those of us that work there. I had a co-worker a few years ago who tried to overdose and ended up in the hospital for a few days. She ended up having to take a long time off of work just to be able to come back and be around us. It’s automatic; if you fall to the pressure of not wanting to live your life anymore, people are like, “Oh, you’re unstable! You’re crazy!”

If someone is wheelchair-bound, you offer help. If somebody is having emotional problems, it’s said with derision: “You need help.” Period, not question mark. It’s awful. It’s kicking somebody when they’re down. It’s passive-aggressive.

Des: If you could talk to someone reading your story, what would you want to say to them?

Emily: If anything I say makes you want to treat me gently, remember that when you are having those feelings, and treat yourself gently as well. It’s really easy to beat yourself up and kick yourself when you’re down. It’s funny how it’s so much harder to be compassionate toward yourself than it is to be compassionate towards other people.

I think I specifically came out today wanting to address that I feel like we need to treat suicidal ideation like a terminal thing, and not an acute crisis. That’s where I personally feel like the resources fail. Interventions are supposed to change lives. I feel like there’s so much rush to put this sort of thing behind you that you sweep the broken pieces under a rug and go, “Okay, that’s dealt with.”

That’s not real. The wound is still under the bandage.

In Oregon, we’re a little more progressive about it, but we’re very slowly changing the way we deal with end-of-life care in general. As a society, death has become so taboo and sterilized. We’re so far removed from it all. We want to stop talking about it as soon as we can, because it’s uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable, but we shouldn’t be in denial of its existence. There are so many different ways that we try to pretend like it doesn’t exist, or that it’s appalling for somebody to throw it in your face. I think that’s wrong.

Having [conversations about death] be a part of your day-to-day existence really makes it easier to talk about, of course. It makes it easier to understand other people’s feelings about it. I used to split my time between our two hospitals. At the bigger hospital, I worked in the emergency department and I would see people, sometimes multiple people, die in a day. Like, actually in the room when the doctor calls time of death. It affects you deeply, but I’ve never felt like it affected me in a bad way. There were some that were traumatizing and I definitely needed to process a little bit, but I don’t consider myself any worse off for having seen what I’ve seen. When we’re all elbow deep in it, we can talk about how it affects us.

I feel like more communication about what makes us uncomfortable is a good thing. I feel like being able to make that human connection about death helps us make a human connection about life.

Emily’s story is sponsored by a grant from the hope & grace fund, a project of New Venture Fund in partnership with global women’s skincare brand, philosophy, inc. Thanks also to Sarah Fleming for providing the transcription to Emily’s interview, and to Sara Wilcox for editing.

I Survived a Suicide Attempt

Eris Discordia

erisdiscordia_for_ltt.jpg

Eris Discordia is a 37-year-old web developer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was raised in an adoptive family and, at 24, met her biological mother, Deni. They built a close relationship over the years. On October 2, 2012, at age 61, Deni died by suicide. Below, we talk about the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide and the grief, even for a suicide attempt survivor.

What happened with my mother is a perspective on the other end of the spectrum where you’re like, “I will never do that to somebody. I will never put anybody through that, what she has put me through. I am so fucking angry.”

I mean, I’ve never been this angry. I don’t know how to deal with the anger. I don’t know how to deal with the mood swings. After you’ve been on that side of it—on both sides of it—you’re like, “I will fucking never do this to anybody.”

And I want to tell people, “You have no idea what I’m going through.”

I’m a really pretty stable person despite this. I’m very even keeled. I’m very social. I’m happy generally… I am so fucked up now. This has fucked me completely up. I have these panic attacks where I get about a 20-minute window where I feel it coming on and my heart starts to beat faster and I start to feel nauseated, and now it’s happened so much I recognize it. Then, all of a sudden, it’s on the floor, crying fit, dry heaving, screaming and it’s all like an epileptic seizure that I cannot control and I cannot get out of it. I’ve never experienced anything like this…

This kind of came out of the blue. She wrote me letters and they said, “I always knew this was gonna happen and I’m a failure and I destroy everything around me.”

And I had no idea. Nobody had any idea. Her best friend who worked with her daily had no idea.

She had a book called “Final Exit,” and shit was underlined in there and all that stuff. And, you know, we didn’t find it right away but then it was where we would find it…

I believe in assisted suicide. I believe that we live–some of us who don’t want to live this long live too long. There are people who just would rather just go to sleep, and that’s okay. I think that that’s okay. I think it’s all about how you take care of those people and how you love them and you talk to them and you make sure that that’s really what they want to do.

That book is for assisted suicide. It’s for the terminally ill, so it’s a dangerous book to be out, I think. At the same time, for the purpose that it’s intended, it’s very lovingly written and very–for its target audience, is wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s… I get where you are and, here, let me help you through this. Don’t be alone. Here’s how you can get through this.

At the same time, the book has one paragraph in the entire [thing], in the back of it, devoted to, ‘This book is for assisted suicide for the terminally ill. If you are just depressed, you need to talk to somebody or you need to consider the ramifications of what’s going to happen to your family when you do this.’

There’s nothing in there that addresses you and me, [who] are not terminally ill. That’s my problem with the book. There should have been a big chapter. And I told the dude. I said, “I’ll write that fucking chapter for you for the next version, but it needs to be in there.”

Des: Yeah, I didn’t know that it was written for the terminally ill. My understanding of it has always been it’s got methodology for killing yourself. So, obviously, people have said that it’s a very dangerous thing… but should that information be out there? For people who are not terminally ill? Where are the boundaries? …How should this work? Is this something that we could ever really legislate on? I mean, we can barely do that with 32-ounce sodas in New York. 

Eris: Oh god, good point. But that is the case.

It’s your life, you know. Let it be wholly yours, but also recognize that your life, in some ways, belongs to other people who have invested in you and love you and are sewn into you, and those people deserve to know if you’re not gonna be around anymore.

But it’s all that stigma… Can we just talk about it and let it be an okay thing to talk about?

Des: It’s weird being on both sides, [having attempted suicide and having lost someone to suicide]. So, you have the guilt and the anger. Did you ever think that it was selfish?

Eris: Oh yeah. Absolutely. But I struggle with that too because I feel like, who am I to dictate that you need to stay here? It’s selfish on both points. Who’s more selfish, me or you? There’s no way to reconcile those things. Any kind of closure has to be done on my own, by myself. I can’t talk to you anymore. You’re gone. And not only that, but just the added stresses that your family has to deal with when you do something like this to them is… it’s been a disaster.

And then, I wanted everything. I wanted all the suicide letters. I wanted the photos that they took at the morgue, everything. I had to have everything. I said I want all the photos from the scene. I just had to have it…

I just voraciously read everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to read all of her Facebook messages… I know she had been flirting with a couple of girls and I wanted to read all of those. And go back through everything she ever commented on and just try to… ‘cause I got a different picture of her from her friends. I made dates to interview her friends. I’m like, “Tell me who this woman was when she was growing up, when she was my age.”

I just missed out on so much. So, having that Facebook memorial is cool, ‘cause when I need to yell at her, I go there and I just say whatever I feel like I need to say to her, and that’s cool. It’s comforting, and for some reason, that just works. She doesn’t have all that many friends, so it’s not that a lot of people see it, and I don’t think she’s connected to many of my friends, so I just say whatever I want to say.

Des: So, my question is taking you back to your own attempt– did you think about that?

Eris: Not at all. I wrote loving letters. I thought they might cry a little bit, but I never would have thought they would be devastated, completely fucking destroyed. And I just…I thought mostly about myself. ‘I’m getting the fuck out of here.’

Des: And I feel like that’s…it’s almost impossible to actually really think about other people when you’re there.

Eris: Yeah, yeah… I would have never have thought. Never. I never had an idea that I would have put people through this…

[I want to make people aware] that it’s okay to talk about. I want it to be okay to talk about suicidal thoughts and for it to not be a stigma and,  automatically, ‘Oh, you’re mentally ill. Oh, she’s crazy.’ It can be part of casual conversation, like anything else that you want to talk about.

As I get through this, I want to be able to share with people how fucking traumatic it is to go through a suicide. People need to know. It feels like something that I have not heard much about… You need to know what it’s gonna do to your family—really need to know. Let me tell you graphic information. Let me tell you about the dry heaving and the screaming, the screaming that just comes out that I can’t stop, and I’m an okay person. I’ve never had this shit before. It has fucked my life up. And that’s what you’re gonna do to somebody if you do this. If you want to know, come sit. I’ll tell you all about it. I will show you fucking pictures.

I don’t know if that’s the right approach. That’s an angry approach, but I’m figuring it out. I feel like there needs to be also an awareness of the aftermath of what happens. You’re gone, you’re free, you got out of jail, and look at the fucking city blocks of waste that you left behind.

I Survived a Suicide Attempt

Nathan Pointer

Nathan Pointer, originally from Oregon, is an undergraduate at Harvard University, concentrating in social anthropology and studies of women, gender, and sexuality.

He was 21 when I interviewed him in Boston, MA on April 7, 2014.

Lord. My story as I see fit to tell it. That’s a dark one, or a deep one, or an old one.

I struggle with—and that’s one thing—I always say struggle with, instead of suffer from, severe early onset dysthymia, which is chronic depression. Generally understood to mean that, on a normal day, I am a little bit lower than most people, and it’s punctuated by lengthy periods of between six months and eighteen months of severe depression, or what people think of when they think of depression.

The first time that this happened to me, I guess, I was about 8 years old was when it started. We didn’t know it at the time. It was also early 2000s, and it’s shocking how much things have changed when it comes to mental health issues or talking about depression in just that period of time, ‘cause that was something we didn’t talk about at all. I remember that was when they were just starting to put out some of those ads for antidepressants, like the very first, sort of, not terrible ones.

I can remember, as a little kid, saying, “Mom, I think that I might have this, or I think that this might be good for me.”

She would say, “Oh, no, that’s silly. That’s not a real thing. Those aren’t for people, you know, like us.”

That was interesting. When I was about eight, nine, ten, eleven-ish, I was going through what I would probably now say was pretty much just a period of severe depression for like four years, which I didn’t know at the time. That’s one thing about being so young when you start to have mental health issues is that you don’t even know how to process your own emotions, much less how to articulate them in a way that makes sense to somebody else.

I knew when I was and wasn’t supposed to act and feel, so I was really good about covering things up and I learned a lot of tricks. Like, if I needed to cry in the middle of the day, I would go to the bathroom and then I would do it, and then I would dilate my eyes so they wouldn’t look red afterward. All of these different things. I found the best places to go where people weren’t going to be looking at you all the time, and learned the right things to say and all this stuff, which is pretty resourceful for a 10-year-old.

The first time that I tried to kill myself was when I was—it was just a little bit before I turned twelve, actually. Looking back, it feels a little bit like a half-hearted attempt, just ‘cause I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing… My parents didn’t know, so we didn’t seek any medical treatment. They were going somewhere and I stayed home sick, and then when they came back, I really was sick. They didn’t know for several years after that. I damaged the lining of my stomach pretty severely, we’ve discovered in later years. I have some difficulty now eating certain things where, every once in a while, my stomach just goes, “Hell no, something’s wrong here.” That’s a pretty constant reminder, every once in a while, of that.

Psychologists, depending on who you talk to, will define a suicide attempt a little bit more broadly than we would, in that it’s when you’re taking real steps with the intention of ending your own life… Under that expanded definition, I have tried to kill myself [many] times.The first time was the only time that I didn’t stop myself. That’s the difference.

It’s easiest when I’m talking with people who aren’t necessarily sensitive to mental health issues just to say “the one time” when, in reality, this has been an ongoing thing that keeps cropping up over and over again in my life. That first time was the worst. After that, I got a little bit better. Going into thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old, I was higher energy at that point, so that’s what my mother will say was the worst period of time because I was still definitely distinctly depressed and messing with some of these issues, but I wasn’t as mopey or as off by myself; I was stirring up trouble…

Then when I was, I think, fourteen, I kind of told my parents about what had happened. I mean, it’s amazing the difference a few years could make, because I think that they had kind of accepted at that point that depression was a real thing, which was a major step from four or five years before, and they sought help with me that time.

When I was 15, they put me in a little bit of counseling. They were more aware of it. When I was 15, they noticed that I was starting to slide backwards again. That’s when we first went on medication for depression with some interesting antidepressants. It was pretty simple stuff the first time. I think it was Prozac, and we’ve done a lot of experimenting since then trying to find the right cocktail that works out for me. Haven’t quite gotten it all the time, but you know.

When I was fifteen, sixteen, I had my second… “episode” is what I think of it as, I guess. After I came to college, I had another episode beginning… Let’s see. It was a little bit before I turned 20, so probably [from the] end of 2012, and it’s lasted through pretty much this last year. Probably because I’m an adult, this one has had, I would say, the most tangible impact in that I’m best able to process it. It’s also been accompanied by probably some of the more questionable life choices.

That’s where we are.

As far as suicide, specifically, goes, there’s a lot there. I’ve been in a lot more intense counseling, especially this last time, which I think is really helpful. Since I came to school, in general, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the way that I process and think about death because, for the most part, that’s all I’ve been able to expect since I was about 9 years old. That’s a little bit of exaggeration—10 was probably more when I really started having suicidal ideation.

It is interesting to live your life, especially that part of your life, not expecting anything else. I never thought I would get a driver’s license. I never thought I would kiss anybody, much less do anything else. I never thought I would graduate from high school, never thought I would move away from home. Not for those reasons that I think a lot of people are like, “You can’t see that far in your future,” but more because I didn’t expect to be around for those milestones.

In a lot of ways, I know that I’ve already moved past a lot, but at the same time this isn’t necessarily something that, for me, I can expect to be over. With the advent of this last episode, the doctor put forth a theory, and she only said it one time and she didn’t say it as if it were super serious, but [she said] that maybe my brain runs on a biological cycle where about every four years it says, “Fuck you. We’re going to go through this again.” And if that’s the case, then we’ll deal with that in another few years. But, I mean, that’s possibly a reality that I have to live with, so it’s not like I can sit here and say, “I’m on the other side of this,” like I think some other people can.

At the same time, it was important to me, when I saw your project, to say, “Well, you know, I deal with a lot and, at the end of the day, I’ve never imagined dying any other way than by my own admission, I guess. But I can still do things and live life—and [live it] well—and in spite of this thing that is so prevalent in my life.” That’s that.

My last attempt was a little over a year ago, actually. This is probably—I hadn’t thought about this—the first year I’ve probably gone since I was 10 without an actual suicide attempt, so that’s a plus.

Des: What is it like being at Harvard and dealing with this?

Nathan: In a lot of respects, going to an Ivy League school did not help with my mental issues.

It is a super high stress environment. Depending on who you talk to, they say that the hard part is getting in. I would disagree. It’s an incredibly high stress, high pressure environment. Everybody is so driven, and at the same time everybody is so self-centered. I don’t necessarily mean that in a demeaning way—although sometimes I do—but they’re very self-focused.

It makes it hard to build communities of any kind, much less around being queer or struggling with mental health challenges or being a minority or anything. It’s difficult to build communities, I think, here more so than it is at other schools. It’s a very poisonous environment.

I’ll definitely say that, especially as somebody who has mental health issues, there’s always this pressure to prove and re-prove yourself and to be perfect, and an A minus is a failure, and you don’t want to be in the mean range on this curved test. All of these things that come out of having a group of people who are used to being the best put all together in one spot.

The stress is palpable a lot of times, and that’s why I hate being on campus during finals because, as you’re walking around, you can feel how miserable everyone is around you. Of course, you can’t leave because you have finals too. You know, it’s bad.

That said, I feel like I have been very well served by Harvard in my time here.

There are a lot of issues with mental health. There’s been a lot of articles criticizing the mental health services.

Des: At Harvard, specifically?

Nathan: At Harvard, specifically. Although at college, in general, I think it’s something that isn’t paid nearly enough attention to.

I came in to the school with this diagnosis and with this set of expectations and with a need for medication, and they got right on it. They put me in with a doctor to manage my medication and they got me into counseling—which I had never really been in before—right away, with a great counselor who I love to death. They have done an excellent job of serving me personally.

I also know lots of people who they haven’t. I can’t sit here and say they have a great system. I think it depends.

Also, at the same time, specifically when you’re dealing with mental health stuff, this is not the best way to think about it, but if you’re willing to advocate for yourself, a lot of times, as a patient, you can get better treatment, I think. Which doesn’t always work if people don’t know what they’re experiencing or haven’t gone through that sort of thing before or don’t know what to be looking for, but I think that you can get better results if you do. So, it’s a mixed bag, I guess.

There are definitely aspects of treatment that I probably would not have explored had I not been with this particular set of physicians. There are one hundred percent definitely things I never would have discovered about myself had I not been in this particular environment in this particular situation experiencing an episode, but it is tough.

It is definitely, without question, an environment that is not conducive to good mental health.

Des: Yet you take care of yourself.

Nathan: I try. I do my best. I’m still here, so that’s a victory.

Des: Exactly. What do you think about the news coverage of the “gay suicides” and the “bullying suicides”?

Nathan: The way that suicide is covered, in general, is very condescending, I feel like.

And one of the things is that they always look for a specific cause. Or they have, I think, in the past, looked a lot more for a specific cause, [like] he lost his job or his wife was leaving him or something, certainly, in the TV shows. That’s what they’re looking for. In some ways, that’s changed a little bit because they’re saying, “He struggled with severe depression and had a history of being bullied by all these people,” but at the same time they’re putting the onus onto a specific event or somebody else. They couldn’t find something specific in his life, so they found something that somebody else was doing that was specific that they could attribute whatever to.

I mean, suicide doesn’t work like that, in my opinion. Ironically, it’s more of a culmination of life events that leads to an end of life event. It’s very, very, very rarely in response to a single high stress incident. One of the things that people don’t necessarily think about is that the act of suicide is, in its own way, I think, a form of adaptive resilience or a coping with your circumstances.

There’s no denying that, a lot of times, people use it as an escape, because that’s definitely what I always did, but it’s not so much, “I’m too weak to handle this” as it is, “I’ve exhausted every other option. I’ve tried everything else and I can’t find anything that works, so this is my last resort.” That’s just not how people think of it.

I guess, in answer to the question, I appreciate the move in the right direction by more mainstream media sources in covering suicides, and I suppose it is a step forward that they’re covering them in that way, like with the onus on the bully or whatever, but I also just don’t think it’s the same as covering it correctly.

Des: I’ve been getting the feeling that they’re covering it, but they’re covering it from the perspective of looking at these specific groups as “other,” and what I’m trying to do is show that this could be anybody. It’s not just the gay kids or the bullied kids or the goth kids. That’s where my frustration lies. You know, they’re doing it, but are they doing it? They’re misrepresenting a lot of this.

Nathan: Yeah, it’s true.

Des: What do you think about the mental health system, the diagnoses? How important are they? How do you feel about meds?

Nathan: Oh, all the mixed feelings.

Des: All of them.

Nathan: It’s interesting. I did a paper on this topic last semester, on the concept of [diagnoses and] meds. I have a whole thing about meds. Diagnosis is incredibly powerful. It’s incredibly empowering and it’s incredibly dis-empowering. I did a project where I talked with three people who I knew that struggled with health problems that had been diagnosed and were undergoing formal treatment. I interviewed one person anonymously, who I’m very close friends with, who struggles with mental health problems and refused to be diagnosed for sort of different reasons. What I ultimately concluded over the course of this research project was that there are certain benefits that you can take away, but I wasn’t ready to make a judgment call on whether or not those were worth the negative aspects that you get.

There is a lot of pressure still, I think, to keep a diagnosis under wraps or to not talk about it because it’s something that’s wrong with you in a way that’s different from any other kind of sickness. It feels a lot more like it’s something that’s fundamentally wrong with you, which is upsetting—even if it’s true it’s still upsetting. That’s how it’s looked at.

One of the things that came up over and over again, and that I’ve definitely felt personally, is that you get a certain amount of pity if you are open about it. That can be used in positive ways. I’m able to work with some of Harvard’s accessibility options because mental health disorders are actually covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which I didn’t know until just a couple of years ago. If I end up in the hospital for a couple of days and miss classes, I’m not penalized for that. But it can work the other way, if you’re really open about it, in that people are a lot less willing to give you responsibilities or to delegate things to you, or they’re really concerned with giving you too much or how stressed out you are. Which are nice things if they aren’t condescending. But they end up not being [that way]. You end up being treated like an invalid.

The act of diagnosis is incredibly powerful, and it goes both ways. My own experience with being diagnosed was largely positive because it gave me a sense of credibility. It’s maybe not the best way to put it, but it said, “This is a real thing. Here is a set of words you can use to easily describe your situation to somebody.”

Des: Validation.

Nathan: Validation. Exactly.

“Hey, baby Nathan’s parents, this is a thing that your child is actually going through, and he could use your support, and these are the things you need to be aware of if he starts acting like this and this and this…”

Like I said, it’s been helpful for me in college, too. So, for me, yeah, the act of diagnosis and the concept of diagnosis has been helpful, but I don’t think it’s like that for everybody. I think I was very lucky in that regard. Particularly with other mental health disorders. Manic depressive or schizophrenia, I think it can be very much the opposite, because there’s so much more of, almost like, a fear factor with those sorts of disorders, those sorts of conditions. I don’t like the word “disorder.” I’m very [sensitive] to the right words.

Des: Semantics are important.

Nathan: They are. There’s a big difference. There’s so much of a stigma associated with those conditions that’s so different from depression. To a certain extent, I guess within the mental health world, I have a form of privilege in that I have a condition that’s recognized as valid: “This is a real thing that people actually go through and you’re not crazy or loopy or just sick, and that’s how we’re going to treat you.” I know not everybody gets that, so to that extent, I’m very grateful for that, I suppose.

On the topic of medications… The best thing I can say about medications is that we can’t get anything better if we don’t start out with stuff that kind of sucks. My understanding of the way that medications work is that, basically, the vast majority of these drugs weren’t even necessarily developed for anything to do with mental health. They noticed the side effects after the fact.

It’s kind of going, “We don’t really know what this chemical does. We think that it might inhibit this or encourage the production of that, but it seems to make these rats not upset, so we’re just going to bathe your brain in chemicals. We don’t really know what they do, but we hope that it works out for you,” which is shitty. That’s a shitty way of going about treatment.

I kind of try to take solace in the fact that, now, I think they are paying a little bit more attention to mental health disorders, specifically. I know that you probably know better than I do, but I have friends that work in cognitive neuroscience stuff, and they are putting more resources and more academic attention toward some of those questions about emotions and mental disorders and things that they weren’t paying attention to five or ten years ago. So, I guess I can appreciate that. Look forward to the future.

My own personal experience with medication has been all over the place. I’ve been on six to eight-ish different things over the last six years or so. Also took different dosages and combinations. Particularly, in the last year, we’ve been experimenting with lots of different things. One of them made me vomit any time I took a drink of water. That only lasted about three days. One made me, and it was the one that we ended up being on the longest, because it really was helpful in managing the worst of my symptoms, but every once in a while I would have hallucinations. I called them breaks in cognition. One time, we were walking across the street and I saw a walk sign change to a don’t walk sign, and there was a second where I knew what it would feel like to be a computer because I was on this huge dose of this psychotropic drug.

I was on a set a few years ago that made me not want to eat. I could eat a bagel in the morning and be fine for the whole day. I dropped about eighty pounds over the course of a year, and then it stopped working, so we switched to a different one. Over the next year, I gained 80 to 100 pounds.

I mean, all over the place. Drugs suck. Medications are bad. There’s not really anything out there that works well for severe mental health disorder, but I think that they’re getting there, and I think that they’re trying harder than they used to be. At least I hope so, and that gives me some comfort and hope, if nothing else. For the moment, I’m just kind of trying to figure out what works for me in a way that doesn’t make me think I’m a computer or lose 100 pounds and still allows me to be able to function.

Des: How many times were you hospitalized? What were your overall experiences with hospitalization?

Nathan: I’ve only been hospitalized once on suicide watch. It was during this last time, actually. In response to a very specific trigger, I started taking pills. The fact that I had started taking pills upset me, so I went to—actually, it’s Harvard’s version of a hospital—and I didn’t take enough pills for them to have to pump my stomach or anything, but they did put me in a room on anti-anxiety medication for the three or four days I was there. Closely monitored. Someone was checking in with me every half hour. A doctor, an actual doctor, in there every day, sometimes twice a day making sure I wasn’t going to do anything. There’s nothing sharp in the room, you know, all of these things.

I would have to say that felt like a negative experience, but I’m not entirely certain how they could have gone about doing it better. The thing that bugs me the most is that, the minute I got in there, before they even evaluated the amount of medication I had already taken, they pumped me full of this anti-anxiety med. They asked me what I had taken to make sure it wouldn’t react, but that was the first thing they did to calm me down. I’m not a big fan of medications anyways, much less that being your first resort. I know that when you have a large, six-foot one, two-hundred something pound man coming in at two in the morning or whenever it was, incredibly upset, bawling loudly—like bible style Lamentations shit—torn up, tears streaming down his face… I understand that, as a five foot nurse, your first reaction is probably not going to be to wrestle me to the floor to make sure I don’t hurt myself. So, from their perspective I don’t know what they could have done differently, but that’s the piece that annoys me the most: the first thing they did was zombify me.

And I was. I had friends who came to visit me who were like, “I didn’t even know it was you who I was talking to.” I could barely hold a conversation because I was so [out of it], like, nothing.

Other than that, I mean, it was very sterile, but they let people in to see me, which I think helps. I think that’s the biggest thing is not just shutting you out from everybody else. Unless you’re really in danger of hurting someone, I think that’s a terrible idea. They let people in to see me.

I did have contact with my doctors. My doctors, so that was good. The food was okay for hospital food. I got to shower. The day before they actually released me, they let me go for a couple of hours into the lobby downstairs to do this thing with an interview that I had signed up for somebody’s thesis or whatever and then come right back up and stay there one more night kind of thing.

They did an okay job, I think. It just was a really negative experience for a lot of different reasons, and I am a little annoyed about the drugs, but like I said, I don’t know what else they could have done. Facing the same circumstances, I don’t know what I would have done. Probably, basically, the same thing.

Des: Do you feel like you lost your autonomy, or were you given any input on your care?

Nathan: No. That’s one thing, but that was also sort of empowering in that moment for me. In that specific situation, I didn’t have to make any decisions for a little bit.

Now, you’re right. Me as a completely—well, mostly—put together person sitting here right now can look back on that experience and say, “Well, we could have done these things…”

And I didn’t have a choice in them. I didn’t choose what I was taking. They provided my medications for me and told me when to take them.

They said the doctors were coming in at this time, not, “Would you like to see a doctor?”

It was, especially for the first day, two days, it was very structured. It was very much, “You’re doing this.”

Now I can look at that and say, “That wasn’t good. I should have had more input.”

At the time that was probably what I needed. I didn’t need to be making life decisions for myself because they wouldn’t have been great ones. Again, that’s just a subjective situation.

Des: All these things are, yeah.

Nathan: That’s the only experience I’ve had being hospitalized… [I’ve] called someone to talk me off the ledge kind of thing, that’s definitely happened before, but that’s very, very different. The way I would like to think that it functions is that I either reached out, or somebody reached out to me, and that social aspect was able to kind of fix the immediate problem that was living there, but that doesn’t happen every time either.

Des: Do you feel like that peer support, as it were, is more helpful or less helpful than the medical support?

Nathan: I think that the peer support piece makes a difference. Makes more of a difference than the medical support piece, personally.

It’s a matter of finding the right support structures and ingraining yourself in them. That was one of my problems this last episode, actually. I had invested a lot of emotional resources in building a specific social network as I came to college, trying to replace the one that I had lost from leaving home and moving across the country, that had kind of collapsed under me without any warning. It was right around the same time that I was already kind of sliding backward, and it was just a really ill-timed thing to have happen to me.

That’s really illustrative of the fact that, at least for me, the social support piece is even more important than the medical piece. At the end of the day, I really love my counselor, I have largely positive feelings from my doctor, but those aren’t the people I’m going to be calling if I’m sitting in front of a train.

Des: Do you know any other people who have attempted suicide?

Nathan: I know a couple. It’s the kind of thing that, for me, tends to come up in different, almost random, contexts.

I try to be very, very open about my experiences with mental health because I think it has been so stigmatized and it’s so misunderstood that if somebody like me—who is, in general, pretty gregarious and fun, I like to think—can say, “Yeah, I actually have a serious depression. I’m actually really messed up! Me too, guys,” then the people who aren’t maybe as open about it can feel like they’re not alone or they’re not going through something that’s unique to them. That’s really important to me, and one of the reasons I really wanted to be involved is because I’m so open about it.

Its’s the kind of thing that, for me, comes up over dinner. Not everybody has that luxury. By that, or by way of that outlook, a lot of people will almost confess to me sometimes that they’ve attempted suicide or that they’ve thought about suicide seriously. Like, suicidal ideations, or that they’ve been dealing with depression, or that they’ve been dealing with this and this and this, which is sometimes a lot to deal with when I find out.

I hadn’t necessarily thought about it like this before until just now, but it’s probably much like it is on the other side of listening to me talk [right now], where somebody that you kind of like and maybe care about a little bit suddenly says that they have these serious issues, where you’re like, “Wow. Okay.”

Takes a second to process that, but then you work past it and you’re like, “Okay, well, I’ll help you if you need it.” That’s kind of what it’s like on my end.

When somebody that I’ve known for a year, suddenly, one night says to me, “I tried to kill myself two years ago,” that’s a lot, but I’m also glad that I can be there and know that and help them if they need it further.

I do know several people who have attempted suicide and then several others with other sort of mental health problems.

Des: What do you think about having a community of attempt survivors?

Nathan: I think that communities, in general, are good. I’m an anthropology concentrator, right? In particular, in communities of people with shared experiences—that’s the whole thought behind queer groups and minority groups—even though we’re different people who might have nothing else in common, there’s this particular trait about us that makes our life experiences similar enough that we can relate to each other and learn to like, or even love, each other without actual familial ties.

I think that one of the struggles that is very similar to the one that the LGBTQ community faced a long time ago is that it’s hard to tell for a lot of people. You don’t go around wearing a sign usually that says, “I attempted suicide,” or, “I am bipolar,” for multiple reasons, not the least of which being that those are still kind of hush hush things that we don’t talk about. It is this thing where you feel invisible as a member of a group of people that is not insignificant at all, but you don’t know that other people are facing the same things. It’s incredibly isolating to think that you’re the only one who has ever tried to kill themselves.

That’s one thing I know from experience. I remember thinking when I was a little kid, “No one else ever wants this. People want to live. People just objectively want to be alive, except for me. I’m the only one who feels like this,” which, that’s not right. That’s not true, but it’s because—it’s exactly because we don’t talk about it or aren’t open about it that that is true. Or that that feeling of isolation is so prevalent.

The question becomes very similar to how it used to be for, I think, queer people: how do we form a community? Hopefully, it won’t take the AIDS epidemic or something similar as a catalyst to create some cohesion there, but I wish that there was a little bit stronger of one.

It’s interesting, when I was a little bit younger, I used to spend some time on different websites looking for people, like suicide support websites and chat rooms and stuff, looking for people who were talking about these issues. What I largely found is that there are suicide attempt survivors who really feel they’re past their situation, and a lot of advocates who are counseling people struggling with suicidal ideation telling you, “It’s going to be okay. It’s going to get better, and you’re going to be awesome,” and all this stuff, which is a mix of not true and true.

One of the things that I’ve come to realize, or started to process, is that, realistically, am I ever going to be okay? I don’t know. Am I ever going to be okay in the way that we think about people being okay? I can’t say that for sure, but the problems and the challenges that I’m facing in those moments are not going to be there forever. I think [we need to be] more sensitive to that—that we can’t tell happily ever after stories because that’s not realistic.

Des: It’s not real, yeah.

Nathan: I think it’s important, and I think that people don’t think about that, even within those communities. But by that same token, I think if you can create or find a way to bring [people] together—because [we don’t necessarily need to] create, people are already out there—communities of people who understand each other or who are going through the same thing, that’s another thing. I feel like, if I had been able to talk to somebody who was going through depression at that time, that would have been more helpful too. Those types of communities who can relate to each other a little bit more, I think you have a lot better chance of not only creating real cohesion in the community, but of helping people in real, tangible ways, and of actually making somebody, maybe, feel a little bit better.

Des: Is suicide still an option for you?

Nathan: Oh, yeah. Partially because I’ve lived so long with suicide hanging over my head, and partially because I don’t know that I’ll ever be completely over my mental health issues. Suicide is something that I always see as being on the table. I’ve always, always, as long as I can remember being able to comprehend exactly what death means, imagined that I would die of my own will or my own force. I don’t think that precludes a life of good experiences for me. That’s not maybe necessarily true for everybody but, in some ways, having the option of death always available is, to some degree, empowering, because it gives me the freedom to live my life.

Des: Is there anything else you’d want to say to someone who might read your story?

Nathan: I think my biggest thing is—and this is cheesy and cliche, but—you’re not alone. That’s the one thing that I wish, I really wish, that I could tell anybody whose ever considered suicide. Just come talk to me! I don’t know you, but I would love to sit down and talk through this. One of the natures of the disease is that you feel so isolated, and it’s just not true. There are so many other people who share that experience who care. Not even necessarily just about making you live another day, but about trying to make that day the best it could be. God, that’s cheesy.

Thanks to Matthew Parr for providing the transcription for Nathan’s interview.


If you’re feeling suicidal, please talk to somebody. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. Please stay. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved—even when you can’t feel it—and you are worth your life.

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada), or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state.

If you don’t like talking on the phone, check out Lifeline Crisis Chat or you can reach Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741741.

If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.


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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor. Praise God, I am still alive today.

I am a Mental illness advocate and it is my passion to educate about mental illness, increase awareness about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and the stigma associated with suicide and I want to and must reduce the alarmingly increasing rate of suicides around the world today.

I continue to make a daily post about suicide everyday throughout the month of September for Suicide Prevention month. This is post #21 and if you have missed my previous ones, please check them out on my blog. Also, continue looking on my blog for more daily posts about suicide for the rest of September.

We all need to do our part and do MORE. The first steps are accepting and understanding others with kindness, compassion and love. We all need to educate and learn more about mental illness and suicide and suicide prevention. Start the dialog and be a voice.

We must all make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is priceless. We must prevent suicides and save lives.

Remember you are all loved greatly and…

you all matter and you all make a positive difference and impact in this world.

Love and hugs, Sue

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mighty/

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