Eight years ago this month, one of my closest friends committed suicide. It was a violent, heart-wrenching act that has affected my life ever since, and is the reason I have spent time volunteering with and acting as a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Background information aside, here’s the topic at hand: I’ve been working with a student who has been struggling with depression and suicidal tendencies. The kicker? She’s not even 10 years old. And that breaks my heart.
I guarantee that more than half of the people reading this right now are struggling with deep depression or suicidal thoughts, and for that reason I want to establish something right away. I have personally struggled with mental illness, which is not something that I like to spread around; in our society, we’ve been trained to think that people with any dark, sad thoughts are broken or crazy. Who would want to identify as such? I’m not going to go into detail, because those details are part of my own personal history and are chapters of my life that are not meant to be public knowledge; however, given the nature of this post, I want you to know that I understand. I’ve been there, and I’ll probably be there again. I understand.
I know you’ve all heard this a million times but, to be completely honest, I don’t care. I’m going to tell you again. You are not alone. If a child in our society – someone who should be carefree, nurtured and loved beyond belief – can feel alone, then anyone can. As we grow up, life just gets scarier. It gets harder and lonelier (if you missed it, this post explains it all). But no one should ever feel like they don’t have anyone – even if it’s just a stranger on the internet posting on a silly blog, you have someone.
So, here are some of my favorite quotes to read when I’m feeling like shit. Because there’s always someone out there who feels the way you do, and we’re all stronger than we think.