I won’t go into the gory details, but I’ve drafted suicide notes and taken apart razors to save the blades for you-know-what and literally made a playlist called “Songs to Play at my Funeral.”
And it’s been like this for a very long time. But the thing about all of this is, I don’t actually want to die, because when they tell you “it gets better,” they’re not lying.
It does get better. But the push to get there is hard when you’re going through something that encompasses your entire being with such strong intensity.
This isn’t supposed to make you feel bad for me, or get upset. It’s supposed to help you to understand the journey that so many other people are going through.
Right now, you feel hopeless, I know. You can’t get out of bed, you have constant headaches, and you feel like you’re stuck in another world, watching everyone else from behind some strange glass wall.
School is hard, work is hard, friendships are hard. Everything is just hard.
But you can’t tell anyone. You can’t interrupt your best friend when she’s excitedly telling you about how she made out with her coworker in his car after her shift, or your family when they’re arguing about where to order pizza from for dinner.
So you don’t. You put on that smile and tell your friend you’re happy for her and cast the deciding vote for Domino’s so you don’t have to eat Donatos for the third week in a row. And you’re okay for little awhile.
But night time comes around and soon, you’ve finished your homework and you’re all caught up on American Horror Story so you’re sitting in bed and you’re numb. Music is playing in the background, your dad knocks on the door and tells you to turn it down so you put your headphones in. It all seems so mundane, looking at it from the outside, but it’s not.
Seconds, minutes, hours. Time is lost, you’re crying, or hurting yourself, or both, and you fall asleep, and you wake up in the morning and do everything all over again.
And believe me when I tell you that that was my life for years. No one knew, and I was completely alone, and a lot of people are finding all of this out about me right now, reading this article that I just poured my soul into.
I thought that girl I was was who I would always be. I thought that for the rest of my existence, I would be stuck, motionless, in this expanding universe, imploding on myself to the point of death.
But now, here I am. I’m 20-years-old and I’m following my dreams. I’ve interned at two magazines, gotten media passes to concerts and festivals, interviewed real-life bands, and somehow landed the managing editor position on my college newspaper despite everything that I’ve been through. I have a best friend who lives 350 miles away but loves me regardless and a wonderful staff that I’m lucky enough to manage and help grow.
It really did get better.
Yeah, I’m still depressed. I still have really bad days when I feel as though I’m never going to bounce back. I still have crazed episodes of tears and hopelessness and utter panic about if I’m really going to make it through this.
I still feel self-conscious about the scars that I inflicted upon myself in high school. My arm is plastered with tattoos to hide them, I don’t wear shorts so no one can see the plethora of pale white lines that are never going to leave my thighs. I’ve accepted these parts of me, but I’m not okay with them.
But I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to feel like that. It’s okay to have bad days, or weeks, or months. My feelings, and yours, are valid — you don’t have to feel bad about feeling bad.
I’m writing this now because September is Suicide Awareness Month, and at least one person reading this needed to hear it. I’m not going to plug the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or tell you to go get help from a stranger because I know how scary and unpractical that thought is. Talk to your friends, or your parents, or hell, email me if you want to. Reach out to your friends, because they might need it, too.
But don’t you dare keep these feelings bottled in, because if you do that, you might never have a chance to get better. And trust me, it’s worth it.