The other day I was talking to my friend about how suicide used to be represented in media. On television and in movies, if someone attempted suicide, they were often labeled as crazy. Imagine suffering so much inside that you would rather stop being alive than suffer … and people call you crazy for it.

I’m not writing this for those who haven’t had suicidal thoughts. If you haven’t been through it, then you just wouldn’t understand. To those who haven’t had those thoughts, and are around someone who is having them, don’t force yourself to understand. Just be supportive.

To those who are having suicidal thoughts: You’re not alone. I’m sure you hear that a lot, and I’m sure you don’t believe it. How could you? No one knows how you feel. Your feelings are your own. When you’re in that spot where it feels like the world has turned its back on you, sometimes the best thing to do is turn around and face it. Isolation will be one of your worst enemies.

Another enemy you’ll face is guilt. When you have suicidal thoughts, your brain loves to add to the flames. It’ll make you feel guilty about everything and anything. It’ll eat you up inside. Don’t fuel that temptation. Reach out. No matter who you are, someone cares. It won’t feel like it until you reach out. Reaching out saved my life many times. It took me a long time to reach out. I almost lost my life to myself a handful of times. I didn’t care, because I thought no one else did. Then I finally sought community and support, and found the comfort I was looking for.

Everyone will say it’ll get better with time. Time has nothing to do with it. Finding motivation, reaching out, making goals for yourself — that’s what will save your life. When you’re contemplating suicide, you should come up with a short-term goal. A goal that’s simple but so important to you that you can’t let your life go until you achieve it. Once you reach that goal, set another one. A bigger one. That’s what I did. I haven’t had a suicidal thought in months, because now I have big goals that I can’t leave this Earth without achieving.

If someone you love comes to you because they are having suicidal thoughts, don’t make them feel guilty. Don’t pester them with questions. Just be there for them. Do whatever they need, within reason. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, reach out. No one can grab your hand if you keep pulling it away. You’re loved. You’re appreciated. Even when it feels like you’re not, you are. So love and appreciate yourself.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Isaiah Delgado-Flores is a senior at Pojoaque Valley High School. You can contact him at bubbadukes2002@gmail.com

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