TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES SUICIDE
Madeline: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults. Every hour and a half a teen or young adult commits suicide. Mental health awareness is raising, however, there is still a stigma associated with talking about mental health and suicide. Those with chronic illness are at an increased risk for suicidal ideation and mental illness. My personal struggle with anxiety, depression, and feeling like my life was not worth living was a major reason I founded Co-Immunity. I let myself believe that I was a "defect of society" and "took up more resources than I was worth". Our generation often makes jokes about our mental health, but do not face reality head-on. I am so proud and honored that Jaiden took on this topic for her blog post. It is not an easy one to take on and I commend her strength. Co-Immunity is so blessed to have Jaiden in our Pilot Program.
INTRODUCING JAIDEN YONASH
Jaiden is 19 and is diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis.
Jaiden: Shortly after becoming sick, I lost my desire to live. As time went on I just assumed it would come back, but it didn’t. I wasn’t someone who was very aware of what to do if you were suicidal and honestly and I was embarrassed. So, I kept it to myself. I didn’t do anything to help myself. The thoughts consumed my mind every waking minute. Some days weren’t that bad and so I convinced myself I was okay. Some days it was my depression and PTSD that consumed my thoughts... and that’s better than wanting to end my life right?
After about 9 months of this pattern, it got bad. BAD! Silly me for thinking it wasn’t bad before. I thought there was nothing I could do. I began to plan it. I never attempted because I was just too scared. Instead, I would sit at work and think of how I could end all of the pain. It took me a long time to stop questioning why I survived. I wanted to know what my purpose is. Sometimes, I still wonder those things. Not because I wish I was dead, but because I just wonder.
I sat my mom down and decided it was time to tell her. I don’t know what pushed me to finally ask for help. Maybe it was the crying myself to sleep every night or dumping all of my sleeping pills into my hand and staring at them, knowing this would do the trick. Maybe it was thinking of my little sisters losing their role model or knowing it would devastate my mom.
Whatever it was, I’m so thankful. My mom took me to the doctor the very next day. She searched HARD to find me a therapist I could connect with and it took a while. I started going every day then made progress and went every other day. Then only a few times a week and now, nine weeks into seeing a therapist weekly, I don’t think about ending my life. That voice that said I couldn’t do keep going began to tell me I could. AND I STARTED TO BELIEVE IT. Finding the motivation to talk to someone about it felt impossible for so long. I felt alone. I felt like no one could understand or help me. After opening up and doing actual research on suicide, I was blown away at how big this issue is. Don’t be a statistic. Don’t increase that number. Don’t increase that percentage. Don’t affect that minimum of six people who will suffer because of it.
To wake up every day and choose to live when everything in you wants to die, says you’re strong. So much stronger than you could ever know. You are not alone. You will never be alone. Please, ask for help. I did, and it was the greatest thing I have ever done. YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON AND YOU ARE WORTHY OF LIVING A LIFE YOU LOVE!
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call:1-800-273-TALK (8255) Chat: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ The hot line and online chat line are free, confidential, and available 24/7.
The Trevor Project: Resources for LGBT Youth Call:Available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 Text: Available on Fridays 4:00–8:00 PM EST. Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. Standard text messaging rates apply. Chat: Available 7 days a week 3:00–9:00 PM EST at http://www.thetrevorproject.org
Looking for a mental health professional for yourself or a friend? Try SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Suicide Prevention Resources for Teens http://www.sprc.org/resources-programs/suicide-prevention-resources-teens
The Jed Foundation: Resources for Students https://www.jedfoundation.org/students/programs
Teen Mental Health https://teenmentalhealth.org/