*This post was written by Foothill Technology High School student, Hannah Yale.
It was Friday, the last day of Foothill’s Suicide Prevention Week. And I had one more story to tell.
“I started my freshman year with a lot of emotional baggage. My father was chronically ill, my best friend decided she didn’t like me anymore, and I felt very, very alone. So, to keep myself distracted, I started dating a boy who charmed me with music and compliments. It was all sort of like an awkward coming-of-age movie. Until the abuse started. He abused me sexually, continuingly breaking my boundaries after I told him to stop. He abused me verbally, criticizing everything from my appearance to my intelligence to my athleticism. And he abused me emotionally, guilting me into staying with him because he said that he would hurt himself if I left. The thing was, I didn’t know that his behavior wasn’t okay for the first 10 months. I thought that the reason I had been thinking about walking into traffic was because of something fundamentally wrong with me that couldn’t be fixed. But it turns out that I wasn’t drowning because I didn’t know how to swim; I was drowning because he was holding me under.
I guess what I want you to take away from this is that your actions affect other people. Suicide doesn’t just happen. Something or someone causes a person to feel like their only escape from the pain of living is death. But the truth is, living isn’t all pain. Life is just a big mushpot, filled with joy and sorrow, anger and forgiveness, love and hate, surprise and disappointment. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet deal.”
I was so nervous, holding the phone up to my face to speak into the intercom. Because even though nobody knew, this was my story.
I’ve been told that I’m an inspiration. I don’t know about that. But I do know that no matter what you are struggling with, you can get through it with some love and support.
This project was really about giving people the resources I didn’t have. When I was contemplating suicide, my school didn’t talk about it, my mom denied it, and the media glorified it. I didn’t know what to think or do. I just had to hold on. And thank goodness I did.