Suicide Prevention Week

The last week in September is Suicide Presentation Week. It is a bit silly to limit such a serious topic to a single week. I’m sure that most people thought of this week as simply the week before midterms start (good luck to you, if that’s the case). School is important, but your mental health and the mental health of your friends and loved ones are equally essential.

In this economic turmoil and this intense emotional time in our young-adult lives, depression and anxieties are high and they often go unnoticed. People talk about being sad or severely stressed, but how often do we really listen to them. Our society is self-based, so while we are striving to make our mark in the world, we often forgo the mark of others. Yes, we love our friends and our family members, but how many of us look outside their day-to-day routine and see the pain within their smiles? How many of us listen to the cruel jokes of cutting and sadness and laugh at the so-called “humor” in them? How many people are really reaching out for love and companionship at their time of need?

Our world is one giant, celestial body. If somebody is hurt is not just their problem; it is our problem, as well. It’s our body. Reflect upon the ways of helping people cope and try to help raise awareness for these things like suicide, depression, self injury. Life is fragile and once it’s gone, so many are devastated. As someone who struggles with a personality disorder and social anxiety on a daily basis, I know firsthand the pain and torment.  People should understand that these things take time to understand and try to cope with and lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. Ignorance isn’t bliss -it’s ugly and cruel.

And to those struggling, words cannot release you all the tinges of pain you’re feeling. But you must remember that you are alive. Your heart beats loudly inside your chest. Beautiful blood flows throughout your veins. You can feel the sensation of sunlight and cotton on your skin. Life may be miserable and unbearable but it also strong and beautiful. You are not miserable and unbearable. You are possibility and promise, hope and healing, daydreams, favorite books and cookie recipes, walks through the park and late night movies. You are the people that you love and the people who love you. You are hope and change of the things worth fighting for. It’s time to remodel our ways of thinking because we are stepping into the new world and a whole new dimension of living and loving.

Regardless, it is a bittersweet week of tenderness and hope. It is important to be there for those who have suffered and who are continuing to suffer. The most important thing that must be done is to help prevent such tragedies from occurring again in the future. In the moment of death, truth and beauty never comes out to you, but with the helping words and comfort of another empathetic human being, you can help bring them to terms and help nurture and heal the wounded souls of another.

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I Only Trust Jewish Men with my Money

As I was crossing the street towards a friend’s house a few days ago, a man in a white pick-up truck yelled the word, “Nigger” from the back of its cab. I crossed the street and stood on the corner, puzzled, watching the car drive quickly away. I wasn’t sure what to think. At first, I wondered why anyone would scream that obscenity out to a complete stranger. Was I supposed to react? How was I supposed to react? Instead, I just brushed the experience off my mind and trudged up the steep hill with my bike.

I’m sure that someone could argue with me about the fact that “nigger” is part of one’s every day vocabulary. I remember in my Creative Writing class in high school, we had a discussion about the use of the word and its intended meaning. Being one of the few kids of color in the classroom, I was expected to say something, but I kept my mouth shut. I had no idea about the origin of the word. If I greeted a friend, I wouldn’t say anything but simply hug them with a smile. If I felt the need to tell some off, I would usually just say that they liked to sleep with their mother and have certain hanging appendages cradled by her firm hands.

Our country is currently on the issue of race. It is something I could never quite grasp my fingers around. Even in high school when the occasional “Oreo” was whispered behind my back, I chose to ignore it, despite the word hurting my feelings. I knew that I was not a cookie, but a person with emotions. In certain situation, we tend to label the things that we do not understand or are confused or curious about. No matter what race, background or religion we are a part of, we all fit under a certain stereotype. Some of us, like that guy in the truck, choose to verbally express derogatory terms about the color of skin. Others tease about the region of the world people are from. We have all been both the instigators and victims of these stereotypes. As much as we want to stop with the jokes, but it will not. So, what’s the solution to all of this?

Yesterday on the daytime Tyra Banks talk show, she had special guests speak about race and their stereotypes. Audience members asked questions about racial stereotypes and received answers about why certain races behave a certain way (Example: a girl asked why some people see Latinos with many children. The reply was that Latinos believe in family. A vast majority belong to the Catholic religion, a creed that supports large families with lots of kids.  Also, because they hold such strong family values, you may see not only a mother’s own biological children with her, but also her nieces and nephews, her godchildren, her children’s friends, etc.) I believe that the only way to eliminate, or at least to sway, these stereotypes is to ask the questions we want answered in a sensitive way and to accept those differences once we learn the truth. Sure, we may not receive an answer that we like or understand everything completely. But we are at least trying, and after all, every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.