Written by Cameron Simek, @skabomb, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Melissa Henrie
We see these words written and hear them spoken on a pretty regular basis. No one ever thinks about what they really mean. It’s just something to say when you’re upset at someone.
The only thought that passed through my brain as I sat in my room struggling with the decision of ending my life.
I’ve always struggled with depression. In high school I made an attempt to take my life, and when it failed I decided it was time to tell my then-girlfriend that I had been cutting myself. I began seeing a therapist and got put on medication. The therapist helped, but the medication just didn’t, so I stopped taking it. I wanted to get better on my own. I wanted to be strong enough to live my life my way.
In 2009 I was told I was on academic suspension at Oklahoma State University. I wasn’t going to my classes. I was lying in bed all day, not wanting to leave. I made an appointment with a therapist, and it got cancelled, so I didn’t do anything else to help myself. It hurt to watch everything fade around me, but it hurt even more to drag myself out of the comfort and stability of my warm bed to do something about it.
After some time I ended up here. I found a place that I felt like I belonged, and I felt good for the first time in a while. I was still depressed, but I managed to push it out of the forefront, to get it out of the way while I tried to finish college. It worked, for a while. Eventually it all caught up with me.
I withdrew from my classes last semester because I wasn’t going to pass them. I started seeing a therapist, and I wanted to get better. I was feeling better, and I decided that once again I could do it on my own.
This semester I spent eight hours on a Wednesday thinking about the best way to kill myself. I sat at a table with my options laid out in front of me. I made a couple of texts. One to the girlfriend to remind her of how much I love her, and one to my editor to tell him my story would be late, though I honestly didn’t even plan on writing it.
I wanted to die. I wanted to end myself more than anything else at the time. It’s hard to imagine how that feels. Even now, it’s hard to imagine the state I was in. But it hurt, that’s what I remember. It hurt to be alive. Every action meant more pain now, and more inevitable pain in the future that could be avoided. Every choice I make will eventually come back and hurt me in some unforeseen way. That’s why I had to end it.
But I didn’t. I don’t know if it was because I was strong enough not to, or if it was because I was too weak to go through with it. I’m here, and that’s what counts.
I’m not sharing my story to be brave. I don’t consider myself to be a brave person. Hell, I have my girlfriend kill all the spiders in our bedroom. I just want someone reading this to know you’re not alone.
You’re not alone. Please remember those words. Hold them close to your heart, and when you feel yourself begin to fall, and think about how black that path is, and you wonder if it gets better, just remember, you’re not alone.
This happens to other people. It doesn’t make you a freak, it makes you a little different, but you are still a person who deserves life.
Getting help and telling people I was suicidal hurt like hell. It hurt like no pain I could ever have imagined. I let go of my pride, and I approached the topic a broken man. But I need to get help. I can’t do this on my own, no matter how bad I want it, or how hard I try. I simply don’t have to ability to fight this without medicine. Though I convince myself otherwise, there is no shame in that.
It’s a step I have to take to become a functional member of society.
It’s not going to be easy; I’ll still have to struggle to be happy. You can help though. If I have helped you in any way, whether it is yourself, a friend, family, anything. Please leave a comment on our website or send me an e-mail. Knowing that my story helped someone will help me continue my fight to get better, and learn to ask for help more.
I am not alone, and neither are you. We are brothers in arms, shouldering a burden that no one should have to.
As long as we know there is someone else like us out there and that we aren’t fighting this thing blind and alone we can win.
We are not alone.