At the moment I’m writing a novel based on four teenagers who are going through a rough time – a range of things that I’m sure most of us can relate to. Then a couple weeks ago I watched ’13 Reasons Why’ and watching the story of these teenagers and what they’re going through (not only Hannah) pushed me even further to keep writing. And then yesterday I was confronted with some heartbreaking news that has changed my feelings toward suicide and mental health even more.
A few years ago I went through a stage where I couldn’t see the light in my life anymore. I never told anyone about it; I just wrote it all out in a diary, and eventually things started to get better again. It wasn’t easy, and I sure as hell still have my days, but I got through it and it’s something that I will always be proud of. I didn’t give in to the dark thoughts that were eating me away.
This was probably what one of the largest factors that led me to study psychology at university last year. I didn’t want anyone to go through what I was going through. I wanted to help. I wanted to make a difference. But throughout my year of studies, I realised that it probably wasn’t the best path for me (not only do other peoples stories and emotions have a large affect on me and my mood, but I also realised that I had other passions that I wanted to pursue).
Suicide and depression is something that I’ve always been aware of; I read books, watch fictional and non fictional movies and documentaries, I learnt a lot in my studies, and I’ve felt it within myself. But I’ve never known anyone who has committed suicide, or anyone that was a part of people that were close to me.
But last night I found out that a boy from the year below me at my high school committed suicide. I didn’t know him, but a lot of people from my year level were close to him, and this is the closest I’ve ever been to knowing someone who has ended their lives. It really hit home how much of a tragedy this is; when you hear about it on media it’s one thing, but when it’s someone that you know or is a part of your community, it makes things so much more raw and real. It really opened my eyes.
I was scrolling through Facebook last night at 1am because I couldn’t sleep, and I was reading the comments that his friends and loved ones were writing on his wall. Everyone was writing such sweet things about what an amazing person and friend he was and how much he made them laugh, or sharing suicide help lines and information. I couldn’t help but wonder if these people said things like this to him before he died, or if he knew the impact that he had on those around him. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind in those last few moments, if he was home alone, how he did it, who found him, or if he left a note or some sort of explanation. I keep wondering how his parents or brother and sister are feeling right now, and how they will have this on their shoulders for the rest of their lives.
Life gets shitty sometimes. And the world can be a terrible place. And I hate that some people find it so hard that they can’t live in it anymore. But I would hate to think that people believe there’s no way to get through it. No one’s saying that it’s going to be easy, but I know first hand that it gets better.
I’ve left the novel that I’m working on alone for a few days because it’s been a bit difficult to write, but I can’t wait to get back into it. It’s a story really close to home for me, and I’m sure that a lot of people will be able to relate to at least one trait or feelings of one character. I think it’s a story that needs to be told, and I am going to work my ass off to make sure that it is told.
If anyone ever needs anyone to talk to, there are help lines to call or message online (I’ve used online ones and found the people you talk to really helpful). My DM’s on Twitter (@RBRgabby) are always open or you can chuck me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll be the ears you need to listen. But you are not alone!
I know this isn’t really a book blog post, but I needed to vent on some things that I’ve been feeling over the last few days. To stick to my bookish feed, I’m going to list a few books below which I believe represent mental health and suicide well and the characters stories may help you;
Whisper to Me – Nick Lake (a teenager experiencing grief and schizophrenia and her story of getting through it)
Girl in Pieces – Kathleen Gasglow (a girl who has had it touch and cuts herself to relieve the pain. What I love about this book though is that there’s no real romance that “saves” her in the end)
The Pause – John Larkin (a boy committs suicide, but before he dies, the life that he would have lived is shown to him. Also #LoveOzYA)
Breathing Under Water – Sophie Hardcastle (a teenage girl experiencing grief and pushes her friends and family away and turns to alcohol/drugs. Also #LoveOzYA)
Running Like China – Sophie Hardcastle (this is her incredible memoir about her experience with mental illness from a young age to today)
This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales (teenage girl who has never fit in tries to end her life, but she turns to DJing and the friends she meets through it who turn her life around)
Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira (a teenage girl grieving over the death of her sister tries to pretend that she’s okay and ignores the facts behind everything that happened. Also a story where the boy doesn’t “save” her)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (I’m sure you know the story)
I hope everyone is doing well, and if you’re not, you know where to find me 🙂