Everyone’s Life is Worth Saving.
- Posted on: 1 May 2013
- By: Emily Van Etten
I didn’t plan to see my 18th birthday. I was a senior in high school, and I felt like I was in a sinkhole, grasping at the sides but only slipping down deeper. I was struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-injury. It was the scariest time of my life.
For me, depression altered the way I saw things. So while I was seeking treatment and there was hope for me, I couldn’t see it yet. I just wanted some relief, some kind of solace, because everything hurt. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I was hurting, and I couldn’t make it stop. I’d been in therapy, gotten medication, been in a psychiatric hospital multiple times, and nothing felt like it was working. I didn’t think there was anything else for me. I thought I was a lost cause. I didn’t see a way out—except for suicide.
So I attempted to take my own life.
The term “suicide survivor” has always been attributed to people who have lost someone to suicide. So I never really thought of myself as a survivor, too, but I guess that’s what I am. It’s been three and a half years since my suicide attempt, and while I don’t feel this way every day, I know I’m incredibly blessed to still be here today. I can now say, there are no lost causes when it comes to suicide prevention.
One of the hardest things in the wake of a suicidal act is dealing with all the questions it leaves behind.
“What does this mean?”
“Why did he do something so selfish?”
“Wasn’t she thinking of all the people she’d hurt?”
“What do we do now?”
“How can I live with myself?”
I wish I had answers to all these questions. Everyone’s experience is different, and I can only speak for myself. But I honestly didn’t think I would hurt anyone. It wasn’t a selfish decision; I thought of myself as a burden to others, and I figured taking myself out of the equation would really be best for everyone. But this is not true of anyone; it never has been, and it never will be.
Sometimes it’s still hard for me to remember that I’m important, my life means something, and my story matters. What we do here at TWLOHA helps remind me of that, and I hope it reminds you, too.
I want to be a voice for suicide attempt survivors because I am one—and there are more of us out there than we realize. It’s not a badge I wear proudly, but I will wear it with strength, because it’s part of my story and who I am now.
Life still sucks sometimes, and healing doesn’t come quickly or easily—but it does come. Everyone’s life is worth saving.
—Emily, TWLOHA Spring 2013 intern
If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please reach out. Call 1-800-SUICIDE or contact a mental health professional or your local authorities. If you are looking for other mental health resources, browse our Find Help page.