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.