Suicide awareness: an open letter

The day that I got the news that my friend died is frozen in my memory. I’ll never forget a second of it. The gut-wrenching pain, the disbelief, the confusion. Even now, it’s still hard to believe that someone so happy and carefree had taken his own life. I wish I would’ve let him know how much I loved him before it was too late.

When we attended high school, he dressed up for Saint Patrick’s Day because it was his favorite holiday. He would dress like a leprechaun and go around the school, making terrible puns to make others laugh. He was the most joyful person that I knew.

Suicide wasn’t a word that would’ve ever come up when someone thought about him. I don’t remember very many days that didn’t involve him laughing or smiling. It breaks my heart that no one saw the signs. No one knew that he was fighting these demons on his own. I don’t think any of us were prepared for his death.

Generally, suicide is a taboo topic. No one wants to think about it and they definitely don’t want to talk about it. We need to talk about it, though. We can’t continue pretending that people aren’t killing themselves or continue pushing it under the rug.

People shouldn’t feel ashamed that they’re struggling to get up every day and live their lives. Counseling and therapy shouldn’t be deemed as bad things. Depression shouldn’t be treated like a plague or like it isn’t real. No one should hear the words, “get over it” or “it’s just in your head.”

Until people are willing to step up and confront suicide head on, people will continue to suffer in silence. We need to stand alongside those struggling and help them fight. No one should ever have to deal with this alone.

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