As I wrote in my last post, life has admittedly come at me tough.
I’ve had my ups and downs, and to be completely transparent, still to this day wrestle with my inner demons. Am I confident today? Will I make it to my goals? Are my goals still my goals? Am I staying true to God’s path for me? Is it okay to give up? Am I a failure?
All perfectly normal questions that we might ask ourselves in times of duress. Let’s face it, when your back is to the wall, you have either two options: fight, or flight, and in either of those options your mind still wants to hypothesize; it still wants to try to guess the end result. There’s something that is worth embracing in these moments though, and it’s often tough to think about when haymakers are being thrown at your face every second:
“Not never, later.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
No, I’m not dead. I’m very much still here, actually.
I’m still dancing, and that’s not going too bad for me.
I’m still studying health science in my spare time for fun, still exercising and dieting, and still dating the same wonderful woman I have been for what will be coming up to two years now. If I count all those things, I should be feeling blessed. I should be feeling like I’m more than content, but happy, and not needing of assistance from people.
But in all reality, I’m actually struggling.
Anxiety is a real obnoxious thing, am I right?
Everything gets worse when your mind is clouded with anxiety. Time starts to slow down—and not in the cool way, like when you’re making that last second three point shot, or kissing your significant other for the first time—it slows down in a way where everything awful goes on forever. Your mood swings immediately from happy-go-lucky to a nervous wreck. You get the shakes, and a tendency to start freaking out a bit.
Yeah, anxiety is a real pain.
But it’s not just a pain mentally—actually, anxiety can hurt a lot physically. That’s right. Anxiety can very literally hurt.
In just about every junior and senior high school across America, kids have the great opportunity to get into a musical program of some sort. Maybe you were a singer and had awesome vocals, so you jumped into choir to be the next “American Idol”. Or maybe you heard some sick beats or a beautiful movie soundtrack and wanted to be the musician yourself, so you joined the band. Hopefully if you’re still in school right now as your read this, you’re doing one of these programs yourself! If so, congratulations!
Whichever program you were (or are) in, you have to admit: music in our lives is a total given. You were raised with music, even if you don’t remember. Your mom sang you lullabies as a baby to drift you to sleep. You probably drummed and hit stuff as a young child to get attention, or naturally played with one of those adorable musical-xylophone toys. And if you’re like me, one of the first songs you learned is the national anthem in elementary school.
Music is a fantastic thing; forever woven into our lives even if we don’t care to admit it.
Turns out it also teaches us some important things about life, too.
I was teaching a couple days ago at a school—a middle school—and everything was going pretty okay. Of course some of the kids would be a bit rambunctious at times, and have a little more kick in their step—they’re kids after all. As I was talking to a couple students and going over their assignments, two girls at the window started calling for everyone’s attention. “Look outside, look outside guys! Holy crap someone is on a stretcher!”
It was a young man, not moving, being taken away on a stretcher.
Come to find out some days later, he tried taking his life in a bathroom.
Obviously, for the sake of respect for the kid and his family, I’m not going to go into any more of the details. That’s not what I want to talk about. What I do want to talk about, and what I have felt urged to write once I got the free time, is the following post. Because in all honesty, not just in my community but in many communities across these United States, suicide has always been an issue. Not just with adults, but with youth—young kids that still have so much to experience in life.
So to those who, right this minute, might be contemplating the “ultimate” escape:
I understand where you’re coming from, really.
You feel ostracized and pressured. You feel like the weight of the world is not only on your shoulders, but on every atom in your body. It’s overwhelming; there’s a constant sense of dread for the next day that comes. Friends don’t understand you. Strangers definitely don’t understand you. And even your own flesh and blood don’t understand exactly what you’re going through.
It’s like the only way to get away from it all is to just not be there. You do feel the most at peace when you’re asleep, after all. Especially when there’s nothing around to push you more. Sleep is the ultimate get away.
So you contemplate the sleep that never ends.
There are things that you need to consider, though. Real important things that you might not realize because, in all honesty, you’re thinking in the present moment; and thinking about your current situation. You’re thinking about all the pain, all the sucky-ness of life. That’s okay, really, it is.
Take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Let the tears slowly roll down your cheeks. You’re hurting, and crying is good.
Now listen, please.
There are a number of people that do notice you in your day-to-day life. There are kids in your class, people in your work place, wherever—that pay attention to what you do and what you say. That time you made that dope joke, people legitimately laughed and smiled out of joy. That time you stood up and said the right thing, whether they acknowledged out loud or not, they noticed you were right.
You might think your friends don’t care about you anymore, but they do. They wonder in the back of their mind, “I wonder how they’re doing?” They know you’re hurting. They just don’t want to push too hard for the sake of being comforting. You know, and they know, that if they confront you too harshly about how you’re feeling…you might get testy. All they want is for you to hug them, and give them a high five and talk it out.
If you’re young and feeling alone…your parents do love you. Take it from me—I’ve been in your shoes when I was young. I thought those things you’re thinking, too. Parents though…they want the best for you and to protect you. They want to see you grow up and have an awesome future! It’s just that your situation is different than their situation. Parents aren’t super-people—they’re flawed, too. They secretly cry when you’re in pain, and wish they could do more to help comfort you. Seriously.
To the girls and guys out there that are teens and in a dark place, not only me, but a lot of people really are pulling for you and rooting for you. We care. We understand, and get it. Life sucks. It’s hard. People suck even more. And they can be even more difficult to deal with.
Suicide and ending your life doesn’t create a solution to those problems, guys. It simply hurts more people around you that you actually care about. It makes more of your peers feel lost and confused.
You mean so much—to not only your school, but your whole community. And if you decide that this is the way to end it all, you can bet that your whole city is going to be torn by it. Why?
Because more people love you than you can possibly imagine right now.
Now open your eyes. Back away from the knife; the pills; the tub; the car. Take a mental inventory of how legit you are. How much worth you still have to give, to show—no matter where you are in life. You are worth it. Honestly. There is, and never will be, another person like you in history. Bank on it.
Now listen to the silence around you.
Do you hear that voice in your head?
“Go out and live.”
Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach
If you’re thinking about suicide; going through a rough time in life and need some emotional support; are depressed, or just need someone to legitimately talk to about the stress you’re facing:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
It’s confidential (no one keeps your information) and it’s free. They are professionals who simply want to listen to you, talk with and help you, and provide resources for you if you need it. Available 24/7, so anytime is a good time to reach out.