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How a 16-year-old went from suicidal to hopeful

This is a conversation from a series of comments on this site that took place June 1-June 7 from the page, How to Write a Suicide Note. This “how-to” page is not a template for writing suicide letters but a page people land on from a google search that includes resources.

This is part of my work to use search and digital content marketing strategies to help people save their own lives. I have dozens of these pages that rank well on Google and other search engines and I have been doing this work since 2016, answering comments from people who are in their darkest moments who simply landed here from a frightening google search.

Anonymous landed here late one night struggling with thoughts of suicide and a desire to leave notes for her loved ones. This conversation will show you how one teacher listened to a student, allowed her to feel heard, and how that one act of kindness allowed her to understand that she had more value as a living person. She did the work. But the teacher took the time to listen more and lecture less.

It’s just a lovely story of hope that I had to share. And I do have permission to share it, anonymously of course. I didn’t edit her comments or make corrections. Let me know your thoughts.

anonymous says:
June 1, 2022 at 3:57 am 

Hey, im a 16 year old girl, im done living it’s too hard, and I don’t just want the pain to end i wanna die im so tired of being here. im planning on doing it this week. before you tell something ive already heard like ” it will get better ” “your strong just keep fighting” “you have a family who loves you” or ” you have so much to look forward too”. One i do believe it will get better, but it will also get much worse and for me it’s not worth it, two im not strong and fighting is hard and I don’t wanna do it anymore, three i know i have people who love me, but i need to live for me not for other people.
four there is a lot in my future that i will be missing out on, i have never driven a car, haven’t graduated high school, fallen in love or started a family but that almost makes it easier at least for me because it’s just the begining of my life im not ruining too many other peoples lives cause i don’t have a husband or kids or many connections outside of my friend group and family so now would be the most selfless time.

Anne Moss Rogers says:
June 1, 2022 at 6:34 am
 

Funny you would list the exact phrases I tell people NOT to say in my presentations. I should use your comment exactly to illustrate that point. But back to you and what brought you here.

While suicide has multiple underlying factors that converge all at once, usually there is a trigger that drives a person toward it. What has that trigger been for you? That last straw? I am listening and I will respond. I will not “talk you out of it.” That’s impossible. Only you can talk you out of it.

anonymous says:
June 3, 2022 at 12:15 pm 

today, is the day, and I’m really scared, there is still so much I have to do today to make it possible, but I feel like I have to now.
I’ve been grounded since February so for 5 months and I’ve been stuck at home in my emotionally abusive household, and physically abusive the whole time, the only thing making me happy right now is my friends and I never get to see them, only at school but I can’t hang out with them at school cuz I’m failing all my classes, and until I am doing good in my classes I can hang out with my friends but I can’t do my classes because I am too unmotivated like it’s crushing just getting out of bed in the morning I can’t handle anything else right now.

I’m always being reminded how much of a failure I am, by my family, but also myself cuz I’m aware like I wanted to get straight a’s I have goals and a lot planned for my life, and I’ve already ruined it all so I’m not leaving that much of myself, I feel like I’m already gone, I feel like I’m just going through the motions now, and the only time I feel alive is with my friends, but it’s just not enough

Anne Moss Rogers says:
June 3, 2022 at 1:10 pm

This makes me want to hug you and sit with you and let you know I hear you. I do hear you and feel your pain. I’m am listening. I’m so grateful you have your friends although your exposure to them is limited. Since you mentioned them, tell me something special about one of your friends.

anonymous says:
June 6, 2022 at 12:33 pm 

I’m still alive, part of me is disappointed but the other part thinks maybe I had to hit rock bottom before I could get better.
my socials teacher saved my life, and as happy and grateful as I am to him, all he did was showed me he cared for probably less than an hour, and that is what saved my life. how can my life be so disposable that if it went the other way I probably would have been dead, all I needed was one person to make me feel like they actually care and there is hope for me, but it wasn’t my friends, my family, it was my high school socials teacher, that I’ve talked to one before, how did he have so much power over my life,

Anne Moss Rogers says: 
June 6, 2022 at 3:06 pm

Really all it takes is one person willing to listen. Really listen. I can’t tell you how relieved I am. It’s so thoughtful of you to come back and share this story. I’m really honored. Can you share what transpired? Did you say something that concerned him? Did he notice you weren’t yourself? I’d love to know more. You’ve been super helpful and thoughtful. Thank you.

anonymous says:
June 6, 2022 at 7:31 pm 

he has noticed I have been off for a while, he told a story in class about 2 weeks ago (went it started getting REALLY bad) a rape story, of how he intervened. I started crying in class because it was really triggering for me and I left, I came and apologized and he asked if I had a story I said yes, and we talked and he has been supporting me since with councillors and making sure I pass his class by helping me.

so on Friday, I decided I was going to do it, I swore something of each person I loved, my ex-boyfriend’s ring, the necklaces my bio dad gave me, my brother’s dog tag in my pocket, my mom’s anklet, my old best friends shirt, and then I went to the councillors to write my suicide notes, there was a lot and not that much time so that had already discouraged me, I thought it was unfair I was leaving so the least I could do was write some letters, then by lunch, I had gotten some of them done, but then I reached into my pocket and pulled out my little brother’s dog tag, I fiddled around with it, and was beside myself that my brother would have to grow up without and older sister and the trauma of losing a loved one so tragically, but I had been feeling so bad lately I tried to push through it.

I think by this point I was also just really scared of so many things, like what if it didn’t work? I had planned how to do it and found out that if it didn’t work, and I woke up in the hospital then I would never be able to eat solid foods again my stomach and throat would be burned, and for whatever reason, I woke up and appreciated not dying then I would have to live like that for like 80 years and that sounds terrible.

anyways so then i decide I needed to hand in my socials work before I did it, and if he wasn’t there I was going to, or if he didn’t say anything to me, but he was there and he did.

I talked to him about my family and everything else I had been through without telling him my plans for the day, and he told me to come up with three nice things to say to myself, I froze and didn’t know what to say, he filled in for me, gave me three things, he helped me pass his class and is helping in my other classes, he said I can stay in his class after school even just to watch movies or something so I don’t have to be at home, and then before i knew it it was 3 school was over and i had to go. But i felt much better, i figured i at least had to make the weekend and then we would see how i felt on Monday, but things were looking better, then as soon as i stepped in my parent’s car, i felt trapped, anxious, depressed all in one wave and right after surviving my attempt, it all just came back and at first i felt like nothing changed, and i thought nothing was going to change but the whole weekend i felt stronger, and happier, everything for sure isn’t easy yet or anything but I’m glad i didn’t go just yet.

Anne Moss Rogers says:
June 6, 2022 at 8:04 pm

This made me cry. Thank you for typing out all that detail and sharing all of this with me and with those who might come after and wonder what transpired. So what you’ve written here could serve as someone else’s survival guide. Do keep in touch. I love this teacher and I’ve never met him. Let him know he has a big fan. 

anonymous says:
June 7, 2022 at 12:12 pm

ever since, I know it hasn’t been very long since Friday, but all these things have been happening that have shown me that I had a reason to stay alive, and I think it was God, or whatever I believe, some sort of a higher power, I told him I couldn’t live anymore and now he is showing me reasons why I have too.
on the weekend my family and I went to a hotel for my brother’s lacrosse tournament, so that night at the hotel, all the parents were drinking, and all the kids were playing, one of the dads was an alcoholic and came up to his son, I stayed with him cuz I didn’t know what he was going to do. he started swearing at him and threatened to hit him, so I took the son somewhere away from the dad and talked to him I asked him if it was a regualr thing, and if he was in danger, and he said there had been some past incidences, but he lives with his mom now and everything is okay. I said okay well you can always come to me and talk to me about anything, he is only 10 years old, and I felt so bad for him. then later in the night, I went up to his dad and asked him to apologize to his son, and so he did, and he seemed to feel bad, the son said thank you and seemed shocked but appreciative, and I think I made a difference in his life with that.
then yesterday, my dad threatened to hit my 10-year-old brother, there isn’t much detail on that but basically, I can’t let my brother face that alone, and then my mom, my brother, and I went for a walk, and I found a stray cat who was skinny and beat up, so I told my mom we had to take him home and take care of him so we did, and now we are making sure he gets better and has a good home.
all that happened between Friday and now, I think they were signs telling me, that maybe I’m not happy right now, and maybe that will come, but there are still things i need to do. i can’t leave yet.

Anne Moss Rogers says:
June 7, 2022 at 12:59 pm

You have me in tears again and I feel so privileged to be on the sidelines for your healing journey. Being a teen is very hard. But already you have managed to find ways to give back.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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