My first suicide attempt occurred five years ago, when I was 15-years-old. Between a fight with my new girlfriend, parents who did not approve of my life and feeling like I had no one to confide in, I truly felt like I was less than human. I vividly remember wrapping a cord around my neck and tying the other end to my door. If my brother had not come to check on me at that moment, I’d probably not be here right now.
The Huffington Post recently reported that suicide takes more lives than any other form of injury in the U.S. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 3.4 percent of Californians experience suicidal thoughts. And a study from the University of Texas at Austin showed that 15 percent of students across 70 colleges had considered suicide, with more than five percent seriously attempting suicide at least once.
I’m not a mathematician, but given those numbers, I would hazard a guess that someone you know has experienced suicidal thoughts.
Despite how common of a problem it is, there still seems to be a stigma against people who have or have had suicidal thoughts. The stereotype against those who experience these kinds of thoughts as “crazy” is one that exists to this day. However, suicidal thoughts can stem from a variety of issues including personal relationships, academic difficulties and economic stress. For myself, my battle with suicidal thoughts began at a young age.
While I attempted suicide two more times in the years since my first attempt, things have gotten better overall. I made friends that I love and care very deeply for and I learned that my suicidal thoughts stemmed from an anxiety disorder, which I have learned to keep under control.
It’s hard to explain what suicidal thoughts are like to a person who has never had them, especially considering that there is no set course for an individual’s experience. Some deal with it once, others battle it for the rest of their lives. Some never attempt to take their lives, while others may sadly not be here because they were successful. The important thing to realize, for those who have dealt with this and those who haven’t, is that battling suicidal thoughts is unfortunately, incredibly common.
My only wish for those that don’t realize what it is like, who may hold onto the stigma of “crazy,” is to somehow understand the minds of people who battle these thoughts and what they go through, even if only for a moment. My wish for those that do know what it’s like is that someday, they can be as fortunate as I was and overcome these thoughts.