Our most recent post on our Instagram (@cincyycsp) is about feeling alone. Sometimes that feeling is brought upon by actions of those around you, like losing a friend.
Here's a little background about myself so that this post, and my experience, makes sense: I grew up being a total religion nerd in grade school, well nerd in general, but I was bullied for it. I am still religious and my faith means a lot to me. My senior year of high school I was a leader for a religious retreat and was asked to write a talk about my experiences in relation to my faith. I'm going to share parts of that talk here and I'll try to remove most of the parts about religion, but some parts don't make sense without it, as you'll see when you read.
I didn't have a lot of friends in grade school mostly because I was shy and uncomfortable around people. I ended up being bullied for it and for being a religion nerd as I mentioned above. I pushed through grade school and life went on. It was time to enter high school; something I was scared to death to do. Freshmen year went pretty well for the most part and I actually made friends despite still being shy. I joined band and found where I fit in. I was happy with life. With the bullies behind me, I thought that I finally had my life a little more together. I was proven wrong in so many ways sophomore year.
In the beginning of sophomore year, I lost one of my best friends. Typical cliché movie type crush "girl falls for her guy best friend, guy falls for someone else, and the girl is crushed." I am a very emotional person and a lot of things give me anxiety and this was overwhelming. I felt stupid for trusting someone with my feelings and was devastated. It wasn’t the fact that he fell for someone else that hurt me though, it was the fact that it was someone who was one of the most intense bullies from grade school, and he knew that. Once again, I felt out of control of my life, but this
time I wasn’t alone. I had my faith to fall back on and I knew I would be okay.
The second semester of my sophomore year, I met a new guy. He was a lot different from who I was normally friends with which was a step out of my comfort zone for me. I trusted him and let my walls down. I started spending more time talking and hanging out with him despite disapproval from one of my closest friends. This friend was like a sister to me and I was frustrated because I thought that she would be happy for me. After a few weeks of fighting and being harassed by her other friends, I lost the person I was closest to. I thought I would be okay because I had just made a new group of friends, but I was wrong again. A week my friendship ending, the guy I had grown close to, told me that our relationship shouldn’t go further than being just friends. It was because he was talking to another girl. And once again, I found myself all alone. No one to go to. No one to talk to. I was empty and disappointed. The walls I worked so hard to bring down, went right back up. I was broken; shattered.
When I should have turned to someone or to my faith, I turned to thoughts of disappearing. How many people would notice? Who would care anyway? They’re the ones who left me all alone in the first place, right? I was home alone often and found myself going to the medicine cabinet. “How many pills would it take?” “How many until I disappear?” I felt worthless and unwanted. Always the wrong choice. My thoughts of suicide overwhelmed me. I wanted to be gone from this world, but every time I was about to take the lid off the pills, a voice would pop in my head. “Do you want your siblings to find you?” This voice is why I always stopped myself. It would have to wait another day.
But that day never came. As an outlet for these thoughts, I began to write poetry in an online blog. Anytime I had dark thoughts, I would write about them. After months of writing and having these suicidal thoughts, I decided that I had to tell someone. I turned to my friend from the beginning of sophomore year. I was still hurt, but I knew I could trust him. He encouraged me to rely on my faith and for the first time I heard the words, “I’m praying for you.” These words struck me. I wasn’t alone, and I still had my faith and regained a friend. Knowing that someone cared about me and that someone was looking out for me, meant the world.
I joined the council during my sophomore year to also help cope with these thoughts. Seeing a room full of my peers working to help others helped motivate me to better myself so that I can help others. I share my story because I know that there are most likely people that can relate.
You are not alone. There is always someone who cares about you, even if you don't see it now. Reach out to someone if you're struggling. I know it can be difficult but I promise that it is worth it. And if someone has reached out to you, please don't shy away because you don't know what to do. Let the person know that they are loved and cared about and that YOU care about them. This is an importance I cannot stress enough.
You are loved. You are wanted. You are cared for. You are worth it.
There are warning signs for every emergency that happens around us. Police cars and fire trucks have lights and sirens, a siren goes off for tornadoes and extreme weather, amber alerts are sent to our phones, etc. But what about the warning signs given to us by the people around us? You probably know a few already: changes in behavior, lower grades, and isolation. There are many warning signs that can alert us that someone is feeling suicidal. The list of warning signs from the American Psychiatric Association Foundation includes: physical complaints, sexual acting out, difficult sleeping, thoughts of death, poor appetite, abuse of alcohol/drugs, threats of self-harm or harm to others, self-destructive behavior, threats to run away, aggressiveness, opposition to authority, and unusual behaviors.
You may ask, "If there are so many warning signs, why do most suicides come by surprise?". Even with all of these warning signs, people still struggle with recognizing them. After someone commits suicide, we always hear: "I didn't know they were suffering." Reach out to those around you and let people know that they are cared for. Be aware of changes in those around you. Don't be a bystander to the suffering of those around you. You could very well save a life.
If you or someone you care about is feeling suicidal, please call (513)281-CARE (2273) or visit the Resources tab.