Written by Jennifer Biyinzika
Content Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide
‘Maybe I should just stop talking…’ I mused as I read a book about someone who clammed up for months, “I wonder what would happen if…”
Curiosity killed the cat, it’s said. Not a truer phrase could be said when one is in a low spot mentally. Several times in my life I nearly quit on myself.
Depression breeds a fertile imagination. Some people begin to wonder what it feels like to slit your wrist and watch the blood drip into the bathtub as your worries fade away. Thankfully for me, the next scene to play out in my head was my mom finding the aftermath. Horrified, I shut off the inner television.
During one rough patch for me that lasted from 15 to 18, a line from “Knee Deep” by the Zac Brown Band struck a deep chord: “Bought a boat and I sailed off in it. Don’t think anybody’s gonna miss me anyway.” Unfortunately, a trip to the beach was an ineffective cure in my case. I tried.
But I’m not the only one.
Even before the pandemic, suicide was among the 10 leading causes of death in America for all ages but ranked second place for ages 10 to 34.¹
A pandemic of isolation has only exacerbated the situation.
In a country of 332.4 million people, Mental Health America reports that 4.58% of adults have seriously considered suicide and 15.08% of youth had a serious bout of depression in just this last year alone.²
Attempting to make a difference in the stats, 988 will designated on July 16th as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline’s phone number – easy to remember as 911.
As a kid, I didn’t dare voice the fear I held about my depressing thoughts. In the scenarios I played out in my head, someone would either shame me for having the thoughts, completely freak out, or tell me to cut the crap. Why make it reality?
So I kept up the charade: Don’t frown in public. Don’t say depression. Don’t say “die.”
Oh, but I got lucky. Through a series of encounters with kind preachers, random things people said, and countless nights wondering whether facing God in death was more frightening than the prospect of playing pretend, I eventually saw a little bit of light. Ever so gradually, I started to desire the light of enjoying life.
It terrifies me to this day that if things didn’t line up exactly the way they did, I may very well have joined the ranks of those in the second-leading cause of death for my age group.
If I had spoken up, would about four to five years of my life be entirely different? At this point, all I can do is wonder.
Don’t take the same route I did. Say the honest truth to a real person you believe in. Say it. Say die.
If you have no one you trust, check out the counseling services at FRCC. The front desk at Mount Antero will hook you right up.