The first time I brought up suicide to anyone, I felt scared. I was confused and concerned about what they would think. I had never even thought about reaching out to someone to tell them what I was thinking until that point, and instead I questioned everything that went through my mind. “Does it even matter?” “What will people think?” “Who do I even tell?” “What do I say?” I avoided anything that brought up the subject of me talking about how I was feeling.
The first person I eventually told that I was thinking about hurting myself was my school counselor. I’d been feeling really alone and I didn’t have anyone else that I trusted enough to tell at the time. All I knew was that I was tired of feeling so isolated. I walked into her office un-announced, sat down and told her, “I don’t know how else I can do this.”
We started from there. I didn’t know how to tell her exactly, but she was smart enough to catch on to the things that I said. Since she was a mandated reporter, talking to her also resulted in me getting help outside of her office. This happened a few times, and each time it got a little bit easier to talk about. I quickly learned that it was okay to tell someone how I was feeling and that it was okay to ask for help. I found that the longer I kept things to myself, the harder it became. I noticed that even if I didn’t want to talk about how I was feeling or what I was thinking, it definitely made me feel less alone once I did. Letting someone inside my mind and allowing them to feel my emotions, too, made each thought and emotion a little easier to bare.
When we are happy, sad, angry, or any other emotion, we need someone to share that with. The way I see it is like this: I look at all of the things that we experience on a daily basis as an empty bowl of water. We can picture this empty bowl sitting on a table, the floor, the grass, etc. With each emotion we feel, we pour that into our bowl. The water will stay in the bowl until we can talk about it, whether that’s with a close friend, therapist, or family member. Maybe you want to discuss it through journaling. But if we continue pouring water into the bowl and keeping it to ourselves, we overflow. We become overwhelmed with these thoughts. We may struggle and feel like we’re drowning.
Talking about suicide with someone can be looked at in the same way. The more that we hold these thoughts and feelings in, the more we start to overflow. Slowly at first, then quicker and quicker until our water has no where to go but over. When we talk, the bowl empties. When we don’t, it rises. You might not feel comfortable at first discussing these feelings with someone else, but reaching out to someone is the best thing you can do. The first step is to say something, and if saying something is hard, try writing. You just have to empty that bowl.
Since reaching out, I’ve learned many coping skills and ways to care for my physical and mental health. Now, I’m talking about it and helping other people struggling with similar issues.
If you ever feel alone and like you have no one to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. Both are free and available 24/7. There is always someone ready to help you. You are never alone.