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Suicide Awareness Month: A Reflection


September is Suicide Awareness month and let’s be honest, no one wants to talk about it.

When I was twelve, I had my first anxiety attack. I told my mother about it and she became upset because she knew what it was like. She’s been dealing with depression since she was my age, and she knew this was just the beginning.

I have had an incredible life. In high school, I was a part of our award winning marching band and senior year I had the privilege of being the drum major. We travelled all over to compete and I loved being with the band. It felt good to be a part of something great.

I had wonderful friends in high school who were always there for me no matter what.

As for my family life, it was great too. My parents divorced when I was young, but I grew up with a wonderful mother and step father who supported me through everything. I also have a loving sister who is my best friend and two step sisters who are wonderful mothers to my niece and nephews.

I have always been very outgoing and I very much enjoy being in front of the crowd.

So now, you’re probably wondering, what do you know about depression and anxiety?

Let me tell you about the things people don’t see.

When I was eleven, I started harming myself. When I was twelve, I tried to commit suicide.

When people found out, they were shocked. People said, “But you have it so good.” and “You don’t act like you’re depressed.”

It’s funny that there is a label for the word depression. Everyone assumes that you have to be sad all the time or that you should be an introvert.

Last year, I got a call that one of my best friends had tried to take her own life. Hearing her mother sobbing on the other end of the phone was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever witnessed and realizing that I was in my friend’s shoes at one point was a big wake up call.

The thing about depression that people don’t seem to understand is that it is a disease. To this day, I do not take medication for my depression or anxiety and I have found it becoming hard to control how I feel. 

The reality is, this disease is a chemical imbalance and it isn’t something I can control. Believe me, I don’t want to think the way that I do. With support from my friends and family, I am seeking help from professionals to help me control and regulate my disease. 

As September comes to a close, I encourage anyone who thinks they need help to reach out and not be afraid to do so. Mental health is SO important and it is often brushed off. It doesn’t matter whether you’re quiet and shy or loud and outgoing. Depression doesn’t have a face and neither does anxiety. In the next 24-hours, approximately 1,429 teens will attempt suicide. It’s time to show that no one is alone in their fight. 

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