Depression and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness are issues that plague many of today’s youth. Tragically, too often these feelings extinguish students’ hopes for the future and drive them to end their lives prematurely. Life is a precious thing that can be hard to handle at times, that much is clear, but in the moments when you are at your lowest, you can have hope in the light of the future.
To take your own life is to prevent your life from playing out to its fullest potential. Growing up, my father always told me, “Pressure makes diamonds.” I have always taken these words to heart whenever I’ve felt hopeless. Your feelings are very valid, but there are better ways to handle the situation than simply putting an end to your life. It means that the struggles you go through will only make you better in the future. Hard experiences and circumstances make you stronger as a person. Don’t forget that you have value as a person and that you have made a positive impact on a variety of people. Even if you feel that you are worthless, you aren’t in any way shape or form.
Whether you believe it or not, there are people who care very much for you. That much is evident in the wake of past deaths and the overwhelming support of peers and the community. Large groups of people rally together in grief in the event of a loss. It is something that shakes the foundation of a community and leaves a solemn cloud of sadness and pain over friends and family.
For all those who feel hopeless, lonely or are having thoughts of suicide, just know that there are people who care, people who love you. Don’t solve a temporary issue with a very permanent solution. As the great author Elie Wiesel said in the preface to his piece, “Dawn,” that “Death nullifies all answers. There is nothing sacred, nothing uplifting in hatred or in death.”
This means that in choosing to end your life, you are forgoing all possibilities of remediation.
Think of your family and friends, the people you talk to everyday, the people who you, whether you believe it or not, make an impact on. You are a part of so many lives and have left your mark on so many people just by simply listening and supporting them. You matter to so many people. Never forget that.
Think of the holes left in other’s lives, the parents left without their child, the teachers with one less student, the friends with one less confidant, the siblings who lose their lifelong best friend. The pain that your absence can cause is much more widespread than you think. You mean so much to so many people. And if you are ever feeling down, there are people you can talk to. You can talk to close friends, trusted teachers, your parents and guidance counselors.
If you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, dial 2-1-1 to get in touch with Gryphon Place, a suicide prevention resource where you can talk to a real person who knows how to support you.
Everyone wants their lives to be happy, but the reality is that life has its fair share of bumps in the road. However, it’s important to support and remind those around you that they have the strength to persevere in order to find the light in their darkest times.
If you are concerned for a family member or friend, have an adult call Kalamazoo’s Mobile Crisis Response Center at (269) 373-6000, they can get any help to your location in roughly 15 minutes.
And for young people who are having thoughts of suicide, you could speak to an anonymous person via websites like “7 Cups of Tea.” Sometimes, talking to someone about the way you feel and your problems can be the difference that you need. And remember to take other people’s talk of suicide seriously–even if you are not sure, you never want to be wrong and ignore a cry for help, be sure to let an adult like their parent, a teacher, a counselor or an administrator.
Also read “Messages of Hope“