Stay Awhile, A Goal Towards Countering Suicide

Suicide affects us all, but it is often a battle that is fought alone. I would like to fight tooth and nail to help change that. I don’t write this message to you as ‘Therdune’, I write to you as myself, Jessie, person to person. I come to you with a message, and a question.

It’s nice to meet you. Let’s talk.
When every day is an uphill battle. Every day a near-death experience. A self-imposed fight or flight response, where can you run to? This was my experience for most of my life. I shouldn't go in to details here about my past. But when I thought I hit rock bottom, and realized it can get deeper, I thought I'd never escape. It took a lot of hard work, and active determination to dig out of it. But I learned a ton and find solace in that history. I know I'm not going back to that place again, and I find comfort in that. Life is fucking tough. It is goddamn tough as nails. But life is also full of potential and possibilities. It is so easy to move over and become the passenger in your existence. I hope we can all find the strength to get back into the driver’s seat and correct the course. Growing up I was always depressed, bitter, feeling as if I was the victim. I started to wear depression like an adjective. As if it defined me, because without it, what would I become? It was a cornerstone. Depression was part of my foundation. I first started thinking about taking my own life around the age of 8 or 9. I couldn't shake the concept for many years. I never thought I'd see the age of 18. I'm almost 30 now, how surprised do you think I am?
Depression was part of my foundation.
Depression is a chapter of my life. Many chapters, in fact. It is something I think of often. These days, on the surface, no one would ever know. But overcoming depression doesn't change the past. It doesn't pull you away from how close you were to the edge. The only reason I'm here now is because I chose to stick around. I chose to stay awhile. Because of that, every single day I live now is a direct consequence of that decision. It's intertwined into my existence now, always. Like a shadow you catch out the corner of your eye, depression is a fact of my existence. But it no longer defines me. No longer affects, binds, or controls me. But it has shaped who I am today, and the wisdom it gave guides me through life now. Therdune exists because I chose to stay. Overcoming depression is a curious thing though. It begins to tint and paint everything you do going forward. Sometimes it feels like I’m living on borrowed time given how close I was, to not exist here today. It’s terrifying.
I chose to stay awhile.
Here are some statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health. In 2018, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Claiming 48,000 people. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. At the time of writing this, we are about to finish 2020. I shutter to think about how this year’s numbers look due to Covid and lockdowns. Here’s the kicker though, that’s suicides for one year, right? But suicide is not something that you simply wake up and do, there is usually a long road behind leading to it. A storied book of experiences and events, and that path is usually paved by depression. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance states that in 2017, approximately 17.3 million American adults suffered from depression. That is about 7.1% of the US population age 18 or older. That is 17.3 million people who could find themselves committing suicide. And these are just the known, diagnosed and documented cases of depression. It took me fifteen years before I stepped foot in a therapist’s office to get a diagnosis and seek help. It took fifteen years to even admit the possibility that something was wrong. And I, like countless others, fought this crap alone. That’s why this stuff is so fucked up. This is also why I’m passionate about it, and I’ll be the one to start this conversation.
My inbox is open, my ears are ready. I get that you’re reading this on some website that sells shirts and talks about music. But as I said in the beginning, I’m not coming to you as ‘Therdune’, I’m writing to you as a person. All that other stuff can be set aside, I’m just doing things I enjoy, and hoping to bring some good to the world. But this moment exists between you and me. I beg you, if you need to talk, message me. Reach out. I know I get it. I'm a stranger you met while scrolling through some shirts or reading about a new band. But I’m here, I’m available, I will respond, and I will listen. Although, if it is truly an emergency, please reach out to a professional. I’m just a normal dude who’s been there, but by no means am I medical professional or anything of the sort. If you're like me, you hate the phrase "don't worry, it gets better" like I did. Because yeah, it's easy to say that, but... When? When is my relief? What do I need to do to make it "get better"? What do you know about how I feel? It felt like an empty hope, something people say when they've run out of words. I won't do that to you because it always felt meaningless to me. I will, however, leave you with a question:
Will you stay awhile? Just to see, you know. Just to see what happens. No one knows what’s around the corner coming up, but there’s potential. Suicide is the ultimate finality. There are no more possibilities once that line is crossed. But, in that same sense, death does await us all, right? So why rush it? Can you just hang out for a while longer? I don’t want to lose you

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  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    Call 988
    The 988 Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States. 
  • Crisis Text Line

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  • Trevor Project Lifeline

    Call 1-866-488-7368
    Text ‘START’ to 678-678
    Or chat online

    Trained counselors that understand the challenges LGBTQ people face.