My sister committed suicide…

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What was the most difficult period in your life? “When my sister committed suicide. She was my go to person and I was hers. It just saddens me knowing that I was not with her when she needed me most.”

She’s one of my dearest friends since high school. We don’t meet very often now but our friendship remains stronger and deeper. We talk about life and exchange advice on how to be steadfast despite how tough it is. I still cannot believe what she went through. We both grew up from a broken home and had to endure and overcome life’s hardships. I truly admire her outlook in life despite her struggles.

Related article: Growing up in a Broken Home, a Curse?

What it’s like growing up from a broken family? I had difficulties too but how did you handle it? “It’s a daily struggle. At a young age, you’ll learn how to toughen up, not just for yourself but for your siblings too. There’s no perfect advice on how to handle it because at the end of the day, it will not only depend on how well you carry it but how well your surrounding treats you too.”

Did it affect you financially? If yes, can you tell me the worst thing you did to survive it? “Yes. I had to work for a food chain just for the scholarship but I cannot say it’s a bad thing though. I learned a lot from it actually and I can say it somehow helped to mold me into who I am today.”

To whom you draw strength to continue the challenge of life? “I draw strength from the fact that I am still alive. I owe my future self a different life.”

Do you have plans to build your own family, despite the difficulties you have had in life? “I had my fair share of lessons and tears from the past. So I don’t think I am ready for a new one. Yes I have plans, but not anytime soon. My difficulties are just my own, my future family need not to be a part of it. Perhaps I could give them a lesson or two but that’s just about it.”

Depression and Suicide

According to UCSC, suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people. A major cause of suicide is mental illness, very commonly depression. People feeling suicidal are overwhelmed by painful emotions and see death as the only way out, losing sight of the fact that suicide is a permanent “solution” to a temporary state—most people who try to kill themselves but live later say they are glad they didn’t die.

Misconceptions About Suicide According to UCSC

“People who talk about it won’t do it.”

Suicide threats should always be taken seriously. The truth is that few individuals are single-minded in their decision to kill themselves; many are asking for help even as they contemplate suicide.

“People who really want to kill themselves are beyond help.”

Fortunately, this is not the case. Suicidal impulses may be intense but short-lived. The majority of individuals who are suicidal even for extended periods recover and can benefit from treatment.

“Suicide is a purely personal decision.”

This argument is sometimes used to justify a “hands-off” attitude. It is a misconception, because suicide doesn’t just affect the person who dies; it affects others also.

“Asking about suicide can put the idea in someone’s mind.”

Research proves that asking someone about suicide will not “put the idea in their head.” In fact, many people having suicidal thoughts often feel relieved when someone asks. Suicidal individuals are engaged in a private struggle with thoughts of death. Talking about the possibility of suicide can alleviate the loneliness of the struggle and can be a first step in obtaining help.

It saddens me that we both had a tough life, growing up from a broken home. Her life was even tougher, for sure, she’s still grieving for her sister. Do not be afraid to ask if you’re suspecting someone is thinking of suicide, is depressed, or has problems. Our involvement and empathy may help save a life. And no matter what we’re going through, it will pass. As my friend puts it, we owe our future self a different life, hopefully a happier one.

Aileen Joy Flores
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