Alive With Purpose

Yesterday, September 10th was Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day (September is Suicide Prevention Month). So what are your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs about suicide? Do you feel nothing, believing it doesn’t effect you? Unfortunately it affects us all!

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Often people feel like the individual is selfish for leaving their loved ones behind. Some feel people should just stop being depressed, get over it and move on.

I wish it were that simple and easy! I am willing to bet, so do those who have thought about suicide, attempted suicide, and died by suicide, especially those who deal with the aftermath. I see the faces so often who just need to know they can get through and will, with support, with love, and with time. It is not that simple, it is difficult. It’s about pain, wanting the pain to stop. You’re just tired of being tired. Depressed for being depressed. Just done. If the pain would stop, then everything would be better.

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Have you ever injured yourself and if you could just pass out that pain would be gone? Others wouldn’t have to hear you complain about the pain, they would be happier. The problem would no longer exist, because you wouldn’t be aware of it any longer. Now, I would ask you to intensify this by a million, and you only get a fraction of an understanding of what is going on with thoughts of suicide.

So here it is….my story…

In middle school, I felt so lost and confused. I was battling my own internal and external demons. I didn’t feel like I fit in and felt that if I disappeared, no one would even notice, not even my parents. They seemed busy with their own lives and my own friends had their own lives. Everyone seemed happy, and everyone thought I was happy. I felt that if I was gone, I wouldn’t be missed at all. My life seemed meaningless.

I could hide just about anything behind a smile, my pain was my greatest secret. The mask of laughter and smiling was my greatest manipulation of others. But I was in PAIN, an intense, overwhelming hurt that was my constant companion.

It was morning time in the summer and the windows were open. I had a plan, I wrote the letter…I knew the date…no one would be home. I woke up that morning and the phone rang. It was my friend Steven Cadiz, who had so often listened to me, talked to me late into the night to see me through my struggles. That day, hesitant, I answered the phone; he knew immediately something was wrong. I told him I wanted to stop hurting, to stop being sad, and surprising myself, told him I wanted to kill myself. Steven stayed on the phone and talked to me for hours. He doesn’t realize, and I never told him, that his talking to me saved my life.

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I struggled through college with depression, some knew, most didn’t. I had Counselors but it was after having my daughter I committed to my treatment and sought assistance with my Attention Deficit Disorder. I wanted to be me and knowing I was working to be a therapist, I had to work on me first. It was a long and hard road. My therapist was amazing and she is a true blessing to me. I can look at my dark days as inspiration of who I am now, I also recognize my blessings because five minutes prior to Steven calling, I had everything ready to end my pain. That call allows me to be completely in appreciation of where I am now, and the many blessings I would have missed on that summer day.

I’ve known many people directly or indirectly that have died by suicide. As a therapist, I have worked with teens who were suicidal. I’ve also worked with the children whose parents died by suicide. None knew that I knew their story as more than an observer, I was their mom, dad, or sibling at one point.

A simple act of being present can make such a difference. We all have a part to play so suicide is not an option. Encouraging others to seek help and letting people know we are there.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares, ” We can get more people to seek help, though. Especially now that parity law requires insurance plans to cover mental health services. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025. We can and will save lives, and improve the lives of countless others.”

If you or someone you know feels hopeless or like they have no reason to live, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help and support.

Thank you,

Mercia Cummings

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