Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. As a scene, we have always been more inclined to be open about mental health, and more understanding towards those who are depressed, anxious, or suffer from any and all mental health issues. It is important that we take the opportunity today to share this outlook with the rest of the world. As much as we can be the pioneers of this–and as much as we like being in our bubble–today is a day about reaching out to the rest of the world, and spreading the awareness that we all can relate to in some way.
I’ve attempted suicide more than once in my life. Each one different, each one just as terrifying, and each one just as (obviously) unsuccessful. On February 19th, 2016, I will be seven years clean of self-hate. This has been the toughest battle of my life, and something that as a kid, high school student, and college student, I didn’t understand. It was a struggle that I had to come to terms with. It was the feeling that–although I was lucky enough to never wake up in a hospital–knowing there was a point in my life where I didn’t value myself enough to wake up the next day, was not easy to overcome. At the time of my final attempt, my family and I agreed that being admitted would be the best option for me. It was the most terrifying few days of my life in that hospital. I wasn’t allowed contact, I had to sleep on a bed in a room with a random person, and really come to terms with a lot of myself. There was so much about that time of my life that to this day, I’m still unclear on and unsure of. I do know a major contributing factor to my own depression was feeling like I was never good enough in my own skin. I was made fun of a lot growing up for who I was, how I was, the things, I liked, and it hurt.
As a child, I was very positive, even in those times. Each day was going to be better, and as I got older, that mindset started changing. Waking up became a struggle, and each day was more about surviving whatever was thrown at me. It wasn’t until I took myself off depression and ADHD medications, and started embracing myself–every weird, perverted, and obsessive tendency–that I was able to move past identifying as “depressed” or “different”, and start identifying as “Shelby.”
Once I was okay with myself, it mattered a lot less what everyone thought–although to this day I still struggle with that–and I started the journey of self-love and self-acceptance. Music was one of the biggest contributing factors to this cause. Whether it was screaming Bring Me the Horizon in car rides on bad days, allowing myself to cry to whatever Simple Plan song seemed to fit me at that moment, and jamming out to my All Time Low pick-me-ups on some really tough days, music was the one thing that fit. It brought me my best friends, it brought me closer to family that I just didn’t know how to talk to after everything, and I was able to truly find myself again.
One of the biggest influences on my life and getting through being admitted into an institution after my final failed attempt was this music scene. There weren’t many things that felt like they were helping at the time, but the community of this scene specifically was able to take me from “terrified teenager” to “fighter”. As I look back on those times of deep depression, and even my bad days I have now, I am reminded that there is so much more to live for. Between the fans, friends, and even musicians themselves who helped me through these times, I was able to move forward in life. I was able to see that there is so much more to live for. As luck would have it, you are a part of this scene, and are able to start the trend to make a change in people’s lives. We are lucky enough to have foundations like To Write Love On Her Arms to inspire change in the way we handle mental illness.
Plain and simple, if you’re a living, breathing human being, you are enough. You are beautiful, you are loved, if not by anyone else, by me. I know how hard it is to feel alone, but know that you never actually are.
The biggest point I want to stress is to treat people WITH RESPECT. Respect, kindness, and love are such a huge part of the depression that can set in at a young age. I unfortunately went through some of my own issues with bullies, friends, and just never quite fitting in. As I found myself as a person, and stopped taking harmful medications, I learned that the “normal” people expect you to adhere to at such a young age is so harmful to your growth as a human being. The world is already filled with so many challenges and hard times without the added “you don’t fit in” or “you’re not enough” factor. Plain and simple, if you’re a living, breathing human being, you are enough. You are beautiful, you are loved, if not by anyone else, by me. I know how hard it is to feel alone, but know that you never actually are.
World Suicide Prevention Day is a day filled with opportunities to take our own struggles, the struggles of our friends and loved ones, and remind people that they are not alone. There is a huge misconception that mental illness is not the norm when 18.2%, or 42.5 million, of adults suffer from mental illness in America alone. We have a responsibility to ourselves and others to not allow them to feel alone. Whether they want to talk, or just sit in silence, your presence, love, and patience could save a life.
Today, I ask that you take a moment to look deep into your life and yourself and ask if you are treating all those in your life with the respect and love they deserve. To make sure that your family and friends know they are not alone. And I ask you to take care of yourself. If you are feeling down, or off, or have been suffering from any form of depression, anxiety, or self-harm, please reach out to someone you trust. It’s not worth it to feel a bother and feel as though you have to go through it alone. You are 1000% worth everything you aspire to be.
Love yourself, love others, and most importantly, love those who have hurt you, because they probably need it more than you know.
I am proud to say on this World Suicide Prevention day that not everyday is a good day, but everyday I get better…
I am proud to say on this World Suicide Prevention day that not everyday is a good day, but everyday I get better, and that’s really all I could have asked for the past 7 years. I would also like to thank all the friends, family, and people who have stuck by me through it all. I wouldn’t be here without you. I will see you all tomorrow.
PS: For more information on today check out TWLOHA.com, and watch their super inspiring “We’ll See You Tomorrow” video below!