Prepare, Prevent, and Protect

What It is Like to Lose Someone to Suicide, Firsthand.

Prepare, Prevent, and Protect

Chelsea Shaner, Junior Writer

The flashing lights were making me dizzy as the rush of cops pulled up in front of my house. Everything just got so much more real; it felt like I was not even there; but it became my new reality. After going through a traumatic experience the brain has two natural responses; one is to block out the memories until they are foggy; the other is to make sure every detail from those moments is carefully remembered. In my case, I can remember every detail from what is most literally the worst day of my life, and it is crazy how one event can change the entire world you knew in a matter of seconds.

         People always say that there are signs, small things that are noticeable…sadly that is not always the case. My family and I had no idea until it was too late and that could have been prevented. As people we are never really taught what to look out for when diagnosing people with mental health issues. It was never seen in my brother’s case; he never acted depressed or said anything that was out of the ordinary and that is what is most scary.

         On the day we lost him, I was the last person to see or talk to him, and that type of guilt follows people around; every day I suffer thinking of all the things I wanted to say to him. This weighs on a person’s conscience and it can cause mental health issues in them as well.

Every day I am still haunted by the death of my brother, questioning if I did anything wrong. I still have terrible night terrors and I can still picture the events of that day. I am still in shock months after because my brain can’t make the connection that he is actually dead. Sometimes I cry for days at a time.

After his death came all of the therapy and sleepless nights full of regrets. I had good and bad days, often more bad than good, but eventually things started looking up. Instead of letting my life continue on pause, I slowly started again. I became the Cross Country team captain and became friends with the people around me. I gained support and got back on my feet. Of course there were other obstacles along the way, but I am slowly conquering them one day at a time.

Losing someone to suicide is  scary and confusing, but not impossible to live through. Then you can be the person strong enough to carry on the memories and lessons you have learned along the way from them. If someone is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, it can be hard but you need to tell someone. If you find yourself in a situation like my own, know you are not alone and others have been in that position.

While it might not seem common, suicides happen every day, and they seem fake until they become someone’s new reality. In schools people are constantly mocking or making jokes about suicide because they do not understand the real pain it can cause a person or family. Awareness needs to be raised in schools about ways to prevent suicide and help someone in need. Experiences like mine can be used as lessons on what people are really going through when struggling in their life.

While dealing with people who have lost someone to suicide, sometimes staying quiet can be worse;  however, when there are no words to be said, just don’t say them. Adjusting back to a normal life is going to be a challenge, with many bumps along the way, but staying patient is the best thing one cando.  Schools need to figure out how to help make adjustment easier for these people and then let them move at their own pace. They are still processing everything and some days are harder than others. One more thing, be mindful and check in on people, you never know if they are struggling.