Photo courtesy of Stanford athletics
There is no easy way to start an article like this. There is the difficulty to find the appropriate words and the unsettling fear of getting it wrong.
So, instead I will just say it:
In the spring of 2014, I tried to kill myself…
Earlier that day, I was suspended from school in the wake of an incident I partook in. In an act of disrespect and poor judgement, I and other classmates caused significant damage to school property. Along with my suspension, my invitation to return for the next school year was revoked.
You see, prior to my time at the previously aforementioned school, I was the victim of vigorous bullying. Broken and bruised one day, the abuse had met my breaking point.
An onslaught of verbal abuse that encapsulated an entire bus, it was myself vs. over 30 of my “teammates”. On the bus ride back from a football game, I was verbally attacked by a chant that everyone participated in. Following that bus ride, not one coach asked me how I was doing; even if one had asked, I could provide no answer.
I was completely disassociated. I was a body with no soul. Once I returned home however, it was an episode that no TV drama could replicate. In tears and a body shutdown that had me on the floor for hours, I was begging my parents for salvation — a salvation that was a local private school.
Almost two years since that episode, I had found myself in the very same rut. Through my very own actions, I had pushed that ‘salvation’ out of my life. I was destined to return to a public school district that had no care for me.
In fear and anger, I took my father’s hunting rifle and put it to my head. Loaded with a single round, I was ready to seek my next salvation. In an act that can truly be considered a miracle, a family member, who was downstairs, felt the need to walk into my room.
You can hear as the door swings open. You see in my compromised state, I had forgotten to unlock the safety of the rifle. In the moment, I and my relative looked each other in the eyes. In the moment, it had dawned on me that someone I loved nearly saw something they would never forget.
Since that day, I have grown to be the person I am today. Surrounded by the ones I love, I can truly say I am happy. However, it pains me that there are thousands of people who are not as lucky as me.
The Signs/Lack Thereof
In the time prior to my episode, the signs were there. Many knew I was recovering from a broken past and one had realized I had met a new low.
It was luck that I had someone who could see it, who felt something was off. He felt something was wrong and he acted on that feeling — something many people fail to realize and feel. Something, I myself, had failed at.
Suicide is a bitch. She is cold; she is mean, and she finds the worst time to strike. Giving no signs or dots to connect sometimes, she makes it impossible to see or prevent.
It is all too often we hear the stories of someone who took their own life. The stories tell how they were ‘the life of a party’ or ‘ they carried an infectious smile’.
I was lucky; I displayed the signs and showed the dots. However, the very same person who saw me and saw my pain did not show his.
The person who had saved my life went on to take his. In a time of his life when everyone knew he was facing hardship, he never wavered. His smile still shined and his laugh still rang; the only difference was the truth behind those smiles and laughs.
Behind that face, there sat a broken man — a man who felt lost, forsaken, and alone. He was a man who felt the very same way I did years before. However, unlike for me, luck was not on his side.
Looking back at him and his life, I, to this day, still beat myself up at the fact that I had failed to see the signs. However, that is the bitch suicide is. She will disguise herself to stay hidden in the moment, but still be in plain sight to see after the fact.
The Latest Victim
On Friday, March 4, it was learned that Stanford women’s soccer team captain Katie Meyer passed away via her own hand. Meyer had aspirations of playing professional soccer after her time at Stanford.
Along with a promising soccer career, Meyer had also started an online show “Be the Mentality”. The project will forever stay at one episode as Meyer hosted her father in the show’s lone outing.
Meyer is sadly the next name in the LONG list of promising people who have seen their lives cut short to the bitch that is suicide. Personal accounts and testimonials are still being posted as Meyer was a well-loved individual.
Many state their shock and disbelief in the actions taken in her final moments. Seen as a leader and hero, her memory will live on through those she had spent time and crossed paths with.
Mental health is a conversation everyone should have. No matter how many times we say it, many still feel the conversation is too much.
It is on us to open the door to free-flowing dialogue on mental health in our everyday lives. We must educate ourselves on the many signs of struggle and hardship — no matter how small they may be.
Katie Meyer, Junior Seau, Robin Williams, and Jonathon Kim will forever be remembered for the love, laughs and memories they provided. Unfortunately, it will also be how they passed on that too is remembered.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. please seek help. You are not alone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is active 24 hours per day, seven days per week and is accepting calls.
Please call at 800-273-8255.