What Can We Do To Help Sedalia Kids Through This?
I'm sure you've heard about the unfortunate news surrounding the young girl who committed suicide recently. So here's a warning up front if you don't want to think about or read about suicide, scroll forward. I know a lot of people are still reeling from the tragic suicide of Riley Garrigus. I myself didn't know her, and I'm not sure that I know any of her family, so it was a little strange at first for me, trying to figure out my own reaction.
I heard about the protest/demonstration about it at Smith Cotton, and how the kids were trying to make a point about bullying and in particular cyber-bullying. I was reading about it, looking at some photos, and I was just trying to even understand any of it. At first I thought, "I can never understand what they're going through. It would be silly of me to say anything, how can I even presume to have an inkling of what it's like..."
But then I had a moment of reflection. I knew I was fooling myself. Of course I know. I've known people that committed suicide. I know how helpless and lost and guilty the people feel in the aftermath. But also, in a way, I had to be really honest with myself - I don't just know how the kids feel.
I know how Riley felt.
Please, don't misunderstand. I don't know about her personal situation. I don't know what factors were influencing her. I don't know what the straw was that broke the camel's back. But I know what it feels like to not have any hope. I know what it feels like to be broken and feeling like there is no other solution other than removing myself from this world. I know how it feels to be in a constant state of numb, feeling like it will never, ever change.
I'm sorry if this is disturbing to anyone. But it's the truth. And sometimes, the truth just isn't easy to say or easy to hear. I myself have only talked about this in depth with a very few people. It's scary to admit because in a way, it's embarrassing. It makes me feel weak. I know that's not how I should feel about it, but... again, that's the truth.
There have been a few times where I felt that way, actually. It started young but reared its ugly head a few times. The worst time was in college. I was definitely self medicating. I would drink rum like it was water and actually showed up to class drunk a few times. It was a calculated thing. My junior year of college, I deliberately chose to live alone in a one bedroom apartment that had a very heavy door. I made sure it was tiny, and that it was far away from anyone I knew. I did that because.......... if I killed myself, I didn't want any of my friends to find me and have that memory burned into their brains. If someone had to find me, it had to be days later, and it had to be someone who would have access to that door - namely, my landlord. I didn't want a friend or family member to be the one to find me. I didn't want them to have any memory of something like that to remind them. I wanted people to remember good things about me, happy times. I figured if someone I barely knew was the one to find me, at least it wouldn't be AS bad as it would be for my mother or my best friend.
I don't know what got me through that period, really. I guess it was just friends who didn't give up on me. But I think my Mom knew.
Please understand, it wasn't that I necessarily wanted to die. I just.... didn't want to feel that way anymore. I thought it was all my fault, that I didn't deserve happiness anyway, and that while people would be sad, they would be better off not having to worry about me. And I thought, "I've tried everything. There is no other way to stop feeling like this.... other than to stop feeling altogether." It just felt like there was no way out, like I had no other option. That was some of the worst of it, feeling like there was nothing that could be done to change things or make it any better.
Thinking back to that time is very dark. But it's important. It's important to see and understand the dark so that we can help put people and keep people in the light. But it can be hard to even see when people are in the dark - I know I hid it VERY well from anyone I knew. At the time, I only mentioned it to one person, and immediately backpedaled from it. So it can be hard to help someone... if you don't know they need help.
I'm one of the lucky ones. A doctor saw I needed help, and got me the medication that has really steered me in the best direction. I'm lucky to have a wonderful family, a loving husband who would go to hell and back for me, and two step daughters that are an endless supply of joy. I'm lucky. I know that. But shouldn't it not be a matter of chance that someone gets the help they need?
So what can we do? How can we help? Is there something we can do to try and stop these things from happening? Is there something in the way Sedalians talk to each other or interact with each other to try to connect more, to let each other know we're all vital and important and needed and loved?
What can we do? We need to do something, don't we?
Thanks for reading this.