September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and before you click away thinking it’s one of those posts let me assure it’s not. This isn’t just an obligatory “suicide can touch every life” post. I’m here to tell you a different kind of story.
I’ll be the first to admit that I never imagined suicide would touch my life. I’ve never known anyone who committed suicide. I know I’m lucky in this, and I’ve taken that for granted. But something recently happened that surprisingly rattled my sheltered world.
But before I tell you that story, I have to tell you this one –
I first noticed the girl we nicknamed “High School” a few years ago, around our apartment complex. We watched her go through all the high school phases that we all shudder to think about: sneaking out to meet with her bad-boy boyfriend, crying in the parking lot when she and that boy-boy decided to part ways, and wearing questionable ensembles that you just knew she’d look back on with disdain. We saw her off to high school football games, to prom, graduation…
It was kind of fun to watch from a distance. It was our own version of a real life reality show. She had a birthday at the beginning of the year. A used SUV with a balloon on the antenna sat in the parking lot. “Happy 18th Birthday” was written in window chalk.
Soon summer came, and we watched as she loaded all of her belongings into the back of that SUV, and drove away with a girl sporting purple hair. John and I assumed she was headed for college somewhere, and honestly, I was secretly rooting for her. I could see a lot of my bratty teenage self in her, and I thought that she’d get to wherever she was headed and she’d figure it out, like most of us do.
Summer passed and all of a sudden, High School was back.
Hmm. We thought.
I guess college just didn’t work out.
Recently, I got a text from John.
“Tons of cops and fire dept at our building. Think they’re dealing with High School.”
Then I got a call…
“Hey, so… someone committed suicide.”
My breath stopped. A suicide? No. Not this close to home.
I cannot imagine what High School’s loved ones went through on that day. I was shaken to my core, and I hadn’t even formally met High School. I don’t even know her real name. I cannot imagine what her final thoughts were. The bleakness of it makes me nauseous. I wish someone would have known and could have told her, “I know life sucks right now, but it won’t always”.
I hope her friends and family can feel the love that we’re emitting their way. The gravity of the situation isn’t lost on us as “strangers”, and at the very least, I hope this message has reached someone who needs to hear it. Please don’t wait to get help.
If you’re reading this and you feel like life just won’t get any better, please know that it can and it will. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1 (800) 273-8255) and seek help immediately.