Suicide prevention does not work.
It’s good to devote a month to it. It’s nice to send your thoughts and prayers. But when things never change, it’s hard to keep the same goal.
Stanford University soccer goalie Katie Meyer, 22, died by suicide on March 2.
I haven’t, but this culture of suicide and depression created in the depths of Americanism has spawned a community struggling with its mental health that I feel part of.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that there were approximately 1.2 million suicide attempts in 2020. As a result, the suicide prevention hotline received 27% of calls from more in 2020 than in 2019, a sign that even if more are reaching out, just as much, if not more, are suffering.
Much of this can be attributed to a pandemic that is changing the world, but not all of it. My battle with depression predates COVID-19. I’m tired of writing about this. I’ve done all of this before, pulled similar stats and made familiar remarks. So I’m going to try something new, something more personal.
I can not do this anymore
It’s something I’ve mumbled more times than I can count. It runs through my skull like a newscast, shining and present in everything I think about.
Things are going well, though, aren’t they? I’m the editor of this amazing organization full of brilliant people. I’m at a school I love with roommates I care about. I have a healthy support group and a family that remains my biggest anchor in life. My life, being born on Long Island, hasn’t been that difficult.
But something has been broken for a while. I can’t describe it, but I hope others know the same. There is something missing deep in my soul that seems unrecoverable. No matter an accomplishment, no matter how badly a day can go, it’s always so cold.
Heaviness may just feel too heavy. I always keep in mind that suicide is most prevalent among middle-aged white men, accounting for nearly 70% of suicides in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I constantly think, “If it doesn’t get to me now, it will get to me later.” So what’s the point? How can I solve this problem? »
Writing helps, but it also hurts. It serves as a coping mechanism, but it’s also a cutthroat industry. If I succeed as I hope, there will be hordes of comments online that will already tell me what my mind has been pushing for years. One day, my family will no longer be there to tell me that they love me. One day I might go.
I’m 20 and that’s how I think. And I’m not alone.
I have nothing more to give
Feeling empty is all too common. A 2020 study by NORC at the University of Chicago found that only 14% of Americans are “very satisfied” with their lives.
So what are most people doing more than ever as middle-aged people? Work, of course. A long-standing criticism in the United States is the current economic system based on long working hours.
Journalists work on call. There are many unappreciated hours for breaking news and coverage that lasts longer than a 9-5.
It was my choice, my calling. I’m ready to take it all on. But every hour adds extra weight to my chest. I know every job has its unique stressors that make 40 hours seem like 80.
Everything is connected, too much to include in one article. But we work to the death here and everyone is well-meaning, but iconic phrases like “I can’t believe this” and “I had no idea”.
If you are in pain, ask for help
It’s sending every tweet, perhaps with a link to a hotline or source. These places make a huge difference, providing a last line of defense, so to speak. But they should never be used as much as they are now.
It starts at home and with our educators. Schools at all levels generally do not check on students unless they self-report or show clear signs that a teacher – who is likely also underpaid and not adept at handling the mental health – refers to student or administrators.
I learned the classic definition of “depression”. I certainly don’t remember now, but the teachers taught me about this and the different illicit drugs that can lead to it. Problem solved, right?
Self-esteem comes from within and should matter more than outward feelings or personal regrets. Being happy with yourself is an incredible challenge, but that’s where the search begins.
—Michael Sicoli, Editor-in-Chief
Therapy can help. Unloading day-to-day problems as well as long-term concerns takes that weight off your shoulders. It’s incredibly rare to have open, unhindered conversations.
However, even the therapy has its drawbacks, namely accessibility. Many students have the luxury of free on-campus counseling services, but the average session costs between $100 and $200 each for everyone else, according to a 2019 study by SimplePractice. Some are covered by insurance, but that’s another luxury that many Americans can’t afford.
Going to school to become a therapist takes a lot of time and money, hence the exorbitant prices. Now you’re talking about the student loan crisis led by overzealous millionaires looking to make some extra money.
It’s a constant cycle that leaves Americans of all ages and demographics dead by their own hands. In fact, the AFSP reported that firearms accounted for nearly 53% of American suicides in 2020. There are more levels than you can count – it’s never as simple as raising awareness .
What is left
Even though I sometimes feel empty and lifeless, I am still here. I have friends and family to thank for this, but I want to share a quick feeling with this community.
For a very long time, I stuck to the principle that I would hurt others if I gave up. I recently realized that this is an unsustainable state of mind. Self-esteem comes from within and should matter more than outward feelings or personal regrets. Being happy with yourself is an incredible challenge, but that’s where the search begins.
What you are feeling is unique to you and I cannot identify with it. However, you should know that you are not alone. I don’t know you or your fight, but I care about your well-being.
Consider it a brotherhood. We have to take care of each other because we can’t rely on things to change. People will always suffer, and millions of people are suffering far worse than me.
Send your thoughts to everyone you love. It’s a step towards a better future mindset by focusing on your own mental health.
I would have liked to meet Meyer. Somehow I feel like I let him down, and I don’t want that for anyone. All I can do is share a post that I think is worth announcing.
Focus on self-esteem. Help others do the same. We only have the other, and sometimes that must be enough.