In case you didn't know, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
I'm sure it's an awareness months for other issues and causes, but this one is close to my heart.
September is a difficult month for me. It holds the anniversaries of many things that made me think suicide was the answer. My first suicide attempt many years ago was in September. My first hospitalization which took me away from my 8 month old daughter for over a month was two years ago this month. So many pinnacle moments of pain cluster in this month. September makes me remember how bad it can be.
Though I still struggle with mental illness, I can now recognize that suicide is not the answer. It merely relocates the pain and suffering to the family and friends who don't understand and are often blindsided. Suicide and mental illness are wrapped up in a web of taboo and stigma. People try to dance around it. Those suffering from depression or another mental illness who may be contemplating suicide are silent because they believe no one cares or no one will even listen. Depression lies to them and reinforces their fears that they are not worth it, that no one would miss them. I know I fell prey to those lies while I battled with my own mind for way too many years. Sometimes, on bad days, it can still be a battle.
We can't leave these people, loved ones and friends or even strangers, to continue to marinate in their agony until the only solution they can see is to end it all. Suicide is PREVENTABLE. We just need to open up the conversation. If we brush away the stigma and the taboo and open our hearts and say, "I'm here. I will listen.". Whether or not suicide has touched your life, there may be someone you know who has a history of mental illness and suicidal ideations that need to hear those words. "I will listen".
I am lucky to have survived two suicide attempts. I am lucky to have the people in my life who said, "I will listen". I am so glad to be here today because it DOES get better. Now I want to help spread the word, open up the conversation, get people talking! I hope to help create a world where people with mental illness do not have to be afraid to tell people about their illness. Where they are not shunned and where stereotypes are not forced on them. Where they are not afraid to reach out for help.
Although September is a difficult month for me, this year I have cause to celebrate. On September 18th I will be 1 year free of all self-harm. It hasn't been easy, but I'm almost to 1 year! Thanks to everyone who was there for me and listen to me the last year, and even longer, you are my heros. This month, my goal is to write something related to suicide and suicide prevention everyday.
I would like to suggest that you make a facebook status sometime this month about Suicide Prevention and let your friends and family know that you will listen.
I Will Listen