Thoughts Untold

Last week, a student on the campus of North Carolina Central University was found deceased in his dorm room. It is unclear if the student died by suicide, however in the news article his family and friends stated that he would never harm himself. I did not know this young man, but I understand the dynamics of our community and our ability to hide things we are experiencing. I attempted to die by suicide and prior to me openly discussing my experience, I’m sure there were plenty of people in my life that would have said the same thing about me.

“I never knew that something was wrong” “He didn’t seem like the type to harm himself” “He had so much going for himself”

Below is a note that I wrote a couple years ago. I recently found this and felt like I should share:

Defining hurt can sometimes be tricky. Pain is described as an emotion that is gauge by a person’s perception but what exactly am I feeling right now.

Many people are with their families celebrating being together while I make my way down this highway. At times in the last couple of years my family gatherings haven't been that great due to the feelings that I have towards some of them and I just haven't felt a connection for some odd reason. I'm lost out here. It's hard for me to find a comfort zone. Yes many people may never know the struggles that I deal with internally on a daily basis but they are nowhere near easy.

Today is Christmas and this has been the worst day ever.

Do I want to cry? Do I want to reach between my legs and grab this smith and Wesson from under my seat? Do I want to load the chamber? Do I want to hold it to my head and pull the trigger? Do I want to aim at my leg and pull the trigger? Because if I aim at my head for sure I'll be dead but if I aim at my leg I will feel pain. Do I just want to experience pain to make sure that what I'm going thru right now isn't pain? Is what I'm going thru right now just a sense of my f***ed up perception? If I shoot myself and the endorphins send a signal to my brain telling it that I'm injured and that it hurts....will it clear up the confusion that I am carrying around right now? Will a simple response do the same thing?

Am I that f***ed up as a person and my mistakes can't be forgiven? The process of learning about oneself and others around you happens on a continuous basis but I’m not learning fast enough.

The voice in my head says, “Yes, you are f***ed up person”

I'm far from perfect and I don't believe I will ever be close to it?

But is the person that I want to be worth even trying to be? Would what I have done so far be etched in stone forever if I was gone? Could the legacy of my actions of the past be overcome by the words that I develop today?

The major question is, Do I f***ing believe I am worth it? No one else really matters when I attempt to answer that question. Mom. Dad. Nobody.

Shaun do you believe you are worth it? I don’t know

When that guy nearly ran me off the road about an hour ago, why didn't I let him? Why didn't I let him smash my front tire and send me to the concrete barricade? Why did I slam on brakes to avoid the collision if I feel the way that I feel?

As I reach in my backseat and grab the bottle of Hennessey I don't believe this can serve as my vice anymore. I have been in deep dark places before but this is beyond that. Way beyond that.

I'm not happy. Haven't been for a long time. But what will make me happy. I don't know if anything will.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and as I read this note, I can picture myself writing as if I was sitting in the passenger seat that day. Fortunately, I didn’t act on my thoughts of grabbing the gun (at that time) but some people who have thoughts of dying by suicide may not have that moment of clarity.

Sometimes all it takes is a small intervention to save a life but we also must be comfortable with discussing when something is wrong.

Another Perception on Suicide: First Hand

Recently my cousin decided to take his life.   Although we were not close, family is family. For it to get to the point that he felt suicide was his last option, it hurt to hear the news. I found out that he suffered with severe depression for quite some time, and it is ironic that my initiative to spark conversation about mental health awareness missed someone in my own family.   In my attempts, I have shared my vision with some of my family but unfortunately I was unable to reach a family member that was truly in need.

When I found about the incident I was at a lost for words, especially after listening to some of the commentary from my family.

“He brought it on himself”

“It was his fault that he couldn’t get a job and that’s why he was depressed”

“I was hurt when I thought someone killed him, but when I found out he did it himself, I felt like he took the easy way out. God made men to fight through hard situations. (Eff) it”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN (EFF) IT?

This is your blood. Eff it?  He was depressed for quite some time and decides to kill himself. Eff it?   He was having troubles financially and with his girlfriend. Eff it?

So many things ran through my head as I wondered how someone could be so insensitive to the fact that this man’s life is gone.

Yes, he made mistakes. We all have. But does that make his suicide less of a tragedy?

That could have been anyone of us experiencing depression and it is not as easy to “snap out of” as many often suggest.   And when you say “nothing can ever be that bad,” I beg to differ.

So I guess that if the gun that I held to my head would have went off when I pulled the trigger, I would have been considered weak, too. I would have been viewed as less of a man - as someone who took the “easy way out.”  I would have been talked about and the personal battles I was fighting would've been ignored with head shaking and remarks that "nothing could ever be that bad."

That same suicide that someone describes as “the easy way out,” was probably the hardest decision that they ever made. That same suicide that someone describes as "an act of weakness” could have possibly been prevented if that person felt the support and strength from those close to them to make them stronger.

A person can have all of the riches and fame in the world but still suffer from mental illness.

A person can be poor, homeless, and not know where their next meal will come from and suffer from mental illness.

A person can be a model citizen or a criminal and suffer from mental illness.

A person is a person and we must not forget that it is our duty to act as such. Do not dismiss the fact that mental illness is not limited to race, gender, or social status and it affects us all.

Suicidal Thoughts

 Lyrics from Biggie's song "Suicidal Thoughts"   

Lyrics from Biggie's song "Suicidal Thoughts"

 

“I reach my peak. I can’t speak. Call my [homie] Chic. Tell him that my will is weak. I’m sick of [homies] lyin’, I’m sick of [chicks] hawkin; matter fact of I’m sick talkin (BANG)” - The Notorious B.I.G., Suicidal Thoughts  

Shut up! Just stop! I hear it.

I hear It saying nothing is going right in my life.

I hear It saying I should not be here.

I hear It saying I do not deserve to be here.

I hear It saying that my life is not worth living.

I hear It saying no one will care.

I hear It saying stop playing around and just end it all.

The constant battle going back and forth with It becomes a struggle that is too much to handle at times.

What can I do to make this happen?

Pills?

I’ll try it…

 

I wake up in a hospital bed. They pumped my stomach. NO!

I can’t even kill myself correctly. Something must really be wrong with me!

 

SUICIDE is defined as the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.

One thing that is for certain, suicide is real and there is no coming back from it.  Despite this fact, people proceed with the act and it affects to every race, gender, age and social class.

 

Where does the responsibility fall for this act that is described as voluntary and intentional?

 

Should we blame the individual for not acknowledging their issues and seeking help? Similar to my phase of Denial And Ignorance, a person cannot wrap their mind around what is really going on inside of their head. There could be an underlying reason for their suicidal thoughts and without proper help they proceed with the act.

Should we blame the person’s loved ones for not being more aware of the person’s state? Many times people are so caught up in their own lives (including myself), they forget to pay attention to others while missing signs possible issues.

Should we take a look at how society views mental health? Often times, society does not acknowledge mental health until after something drastic happens; such as the suicide of someone famous or a mass shooting where innocent people are harmed. The perception of suicide is insensitive to those that suffer. With a failed attempt of suicide, I have heard people say, “if you really wanted to do it, you would have done it” or “you are only seeking attention”. This insensitivity places individuals who suffer from any mental illness at a great disadvantage.

 

I was once told that death is ultimate way to close your eyes to the truth.  A lack of truth on all parts contributes to the rise in suicide rates.  In order to reverse the increased rate of suicide, we as a society must raise our mental health awareness, implement preventive measures and understand that it could happen to any one of us.