I was 16 when I first decided that I no longer wanted to live. I felt alone, angry, and like things weren’t getting any better. I can’t tell you what specific things, but that’s how depression works. It consumes your mind and fills it up with thoughts of hopelessness and desolation. On the surface, I was like any other “normal” teenager. I had cool ass friends, participated in several after school activities, and wore a permanent smile.

But deep down inside, I had never felt so empty and alone in my life.

One day, I woke up and decided that it was time to go. I got dressed and went to school, attended basketball practice, ate dinner, and watched reruns of Boy Meets World when I got home. My dad was there at the time, but suddenly got an emergency call from my mom, so he left. She had got into some kind of accident, and for whatever reason, it further motivated me to take my own life. When you’re unstable, any little thing can trigger a depressive episode. My actions throughout the day were very calm, but internally I was distraught. For years I had been unhappy, but I didn’t know how to express myself, and like most uninformed people, I honestly felt that therapy was for the “crazy.”

I knew where my folks kept the gun. After about 30 minutes of crying, I went to look for it in the third drawer under my mom’s sweaters. I searched and searched and searched, but could not find it. As soon as I headed to the bathroom to take a bunch of my dad’s blood pressure pills like they did in the movies, my folks walked in and proceeded to tell me what was going on. I didn’t want to do it while they were there, so I planned it for another day.

Thankfully, that day never came.

Two days later, my mother asked me to go in that same drawer to grab a sweater for her. As I was looking, I felt something. It was the gun. I asked her if it had been moved, and she said that it had always been where it’s always been. I took that as a sign that maybe I was meant to be here after all.

It took for me to just about have a nervous breakdown my senior year of college to seek professional help. The intrusive thoughts of taking my own life had crept up again, but this time (thanks to meeting other suicide survivors) I was aware enough to understand that therapy isn’t just for depressed, dramatic white people. I spoke with my close friends who reassured me that I could get through what I was dealing with. I was able to get the help that I needed, and move forward in life to the point where I myself am now able to help people who feel like life is too much to handle.

Until this piece, I have never disclosed to the public that I am a suicide survivor. I felt pressure to keep my struggles to myself for fear of judgment, especially as a life coach. But that is the issue. Too many people are concerned with what others will think as opposed to improving themselves and slaying their demons. If you are a suicide survivor or am having thoughts of taking your own life, realize that you are not alone, and may this piece inspire you to seek the help that you need.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

2 Comments

  1. I’m truly grateful that you shared your story. I’m also grateful that you’re alive and can tell it. Shan, you’ve always been such a positive person, and I would have never guessed that you struggled with depression. Please continue to be an inspiration. Thank you!

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