Each one has survived intense suicidal thoughts and/or suicide attempts. They all have an illness that’s symptoms often include intrusive thoughts of wanting to die.
And that is so so very scary and sad and frustrating, but no matter what, they continue to fight. So to me that makes them superheroes, even if they don’t feel like they are.
A few days ago, I invited people via my social networks to be a part of the graphic you see above. The response was overwhelming, and within 2 days time I had over 40 names to include. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to present these names (which by the way includes mine) for this post on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day.
I initially thought to create a heart, much like the graphic I have used for for my suicide prevention walks that honor loved ones lost to suicide. But as I began creating the survivors image, another form took shape . I laid it out before showing it to anyone, and when I did share it with one person, the first response was “I don’t know. Strong? Its kind of a mixed message.”
And to me that’s the point.
So many people who do not understand mental illness or suicidal ideation (and even some who do), may not realize how difficult it is to fight. How strong those who fight suicidal thoughts must be to overcome them. Suicidal thoughts can be kryptonite. As we know one person every 14 minutes dies to suicide, but I also know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Mental illness doesn’t have to take us down. If we can let go of the shame and guilt, fight past the stigma, and truly believe in our hearts that we are not alone we CAN beat suicide.
If you are struggling today, please take inspiration from these superheroes who have used their strength and endurance to live to fight another day. For their families. For their friends. For themselves.
We did not do it alone, I assure you. We needed help. But finding the strength within to ask for help took courage. And while many days are good days, continuing to seek medical treatment and focus on self care on a regular basis takes strength.
If we can do it, so can you.
The first step is reaching out. Talk to a friend, a loved one, a doctor. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the SuicidePreventionLifeline.org for online resources. You’ll find other crisis resources within this blog.
You can find your inner superhero too.
You may be sitting there reading this and thinking this is a bunch of crap. It does sound pretty corny. Plus, I bet you don’t feel strong in the least, probably just the opposite.
I want you to know that your illness is lying to you.
Depression is telling you that you are not worth the fight, but you are. Each one of us on the graphic above has felt the same way you do right now. We all discovered our strength in many different ways, and on some days that strength does wane, but we find it again when we need it most.
You can find your strength too.
If you fight suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide and would also like to be honored on this blog, please comment on this post with your first name. Thank you.