This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, so I thought this is a better time than any to write this post: the beginning of my attempt to find my Neverland.
I was 13-years-old, something changed inside me, or maybe it had been there the whole time and something finally flicked the switch: from light to dark. I was 13-years-old and I attempted suicide for the first time. I was 13-years-old and I was admitted to a psychiatric ward. I had spent only 13 years on this Earth but already it had felt like my life was mimicking Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events and my brain couldn’t handle it anymore and decided it didn’t want to exist (now, 11 years later, I realize only worst has yet to come for 13-year-old me). Alas, in my pre-teen mind there was a voice telling me to end it, that the pain wasn’t worth it, and that the world would be better off without me, or rather, I would be better off without the world.
By the time I was 13, the World had experienced the Rwanda Genocide, Columbine, 9/11, the genocide in Darfur, and so many other cruelties that for me to learn about and/or experience the hatred of the outside world alongside the cruelties of my personal world, I just gave up. I gave up on a World that had already witnessed multiple genocides (Armenian, the Holocaust, etc) but yet there continued to be genocides occurring and no one seemed to care. I gave up on my own personal world, where my dad cheated on and left my mom, and my mom didn’t care enough about her own children to even talk to them. Lastly, I gave up on myself. I gave up on the idea that I could make this world a better place, a place a bit more happier, a bit more hopeful. I internalized all of my anger and frustration with my outside and personal worlds, and simply asked the question, “What is the point?”At the age of 13, I had come to the realization that nothing mattered, that I didn’t matter. So I tried to kill myself. To escape the World, to escape my family, to escape my brain, but I failed. Instead of being freed from facing the realities of everything, I was forced to face the realities of the World, of my family, of my brain; head on and face to face.
And that’s when my journey began, to find my Neverland. A place that I could escape to without completely escaping this World. Because the World isn’t compiled with just terrorists, corrupt governments, ignorant people, awful parents, bullies, or assholes who cut you off on the highway. The World is also filled with compassionate leaders, doctors who sacrifice everything, social workers, advocates, activists, policy changers, good parents and ultimately good people; and I wanted to join them.
So at the age of 13, I realized that I involuntarily carried the weight of the World and all of its problems, along with my own, on my scrawny shoulders and I needed somewhere I could run to when my shoulders began to weaken. That place, my friends, is my Neverland.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness and is having suicidal thoughts, please call the 24-hour-national hotline: 1-800-273-8255*
*You may also want to check out www.twloha.com for more resources about suicide prevention and other writings about hope, despair, and the reality of living with a mental illness, as well as finding help in a location near you. This organization gave me hope when I was in high school and continues to bring me hope today.*