City: Box Elder, S.D.
What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
Around seventh grade, a wave of depression hit me in an unmanageable way. I went from being a happy kid who was involved in everyday activities to sleeping all day listening to music. School was in full swing, and I lost all my effort for anything. I was flunking classes, and getting into substances. After a while I found an unhealthy outlet in cutting. After a few weeks of this negative coping mechanism, suicidal thoughts seemed to increase and become much sounder and more reasonable.
Now that I look back on it, I realize that’s when I should’ve sought help. But help was a foreign thing to me. I believe we pressure younger males to be “men,” and asking for help is really not a specialty of that stereotype. So I found it weak or selfish to ask for help from others.
My first suicide attempt was in seventh grade. I remember waking up the next morning sick and hurting but still alive and feeling the immeasurable disappointment I was brought from that. There were two more suicide attempts over the years, and each resulted in failure and hospitalization.
When I started on the path to healing, it wasn’t even me hoping to help myself—it was me looking at another person in my life and seeing how taxing it is on another person. Not just taxing on myself. At first, I sought that out as a reason to stay alive. But it only provided a reason to live for other people, and I needed to be able to live for myself. Over the past year and a half, I have healed in my own ways. It was a process of eliminating negative thoughts and replacing the immediate thought of killing myself whenever anything bad happens.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
Friends and family are big resources, but other outlets for me were gaming and sports. I needed to find ways to release those feel-good chemicals. A lot of outside activity. I went through therapy and treatment for years but when you’re not accepting of help, those kinds of treatment aren’t gonna be as effective. You need to be able to accept help first and foremost before those methods can help you.
Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges?
We need to make asking for help a lot more acceptable. I’ve run into a multitude of people that aren’t as accepting of mental health. And we need to be ready to help and accept it.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
(Suicide) is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Call or text 988.
The Lost&Found Association came to life in 2010 thanks to a team of soon-to-be college students committed to making a difference in the lives of peers struggling with depression and suicide.
Today, Lost&Found is a growing education and advocacy nonprofit that serves students on 15 college campuses, offering resilience-building programming and connecting students in need with support communities.