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  • Kim

You Can Change Your Path.

T/W Content contains heavy subject matters such as suicide. Please be advised.

Suicide has been an option for as long as I could remember. When I was a child, it was my go-to thought. When I was angry, sad or lonely I knew it was always there. This was well before I knew how serious and how final it was. Multiple people in my family have died by suicide and it has always felt inevitable. During my late teen years and into my 20’s I lived as if life didn’t matter. I was reckless and dangerous with myself, but I had so much compassion and a sense of guardianship for those around me. I would do anything, to protect anyone except myself.

In my mid 20’s I started working with teenagers that have experienced unspeakable trauma. Most of these young people were from very remote communities and had no access to mental health services. They were trapped in a cycle of generational trauma. I quickly began volunteering for any opportunity that presented itself. I took multiple courses to become a Suicide Prevention and Intervention instructor. I competed every program I could on crisis resolution. I ran programs for youth and staff. I consistently advocated for the well-being of our youth and staff.

Despite what we were trying to accomplish within our small setting, our youth were still receiving phone calls almost every month that they had lost a loved one to suicide. Parents, siblings, friends and family all gone. All the same way. As we continued to support these young people through their grief, we as staff suffered in silence. We knew that we could only keep them safe when they were with us. When they reintegrated back into the community, they had no help and no hope. Many of our youth ended up passing away, the same way.

I have spent most of my adult life dedicated to helping others and completely neglected to acknowledge or even believe I was being personally affected by this. I was ignoring my very real and intimate relationship with suicide.

I am now married. I have a young child and many nieces and nephews. I still become overwhelmed with thoughts of suicide when I feel angry, sad or lonely. This is now accompanied by intense shame, guilt and fear. I do not want to be the reason the children in my family know that suicide is an option. I have been in therapy for years, which was helpful but not helping my situation. I finally made the decision to seek treatment and attend an in-patient traumatic stress injury program. I am committed to breaking the cycle and rerouting the path of pain.

Leaving my family to attend treatment was the hardest decision I have ever made, but I was not able to show up and be the person my family deserved. The stress of living in a state of fear and shame changed who I was. It has taken away my peace and I am now fighting to get it back. This journey is long and at times feels impossible. You cannot stop advocating for the help you deserve. You are worth it. I have made the decision to no longer be a character in my story. I am the author, and I am writing a new ending.

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.” – Brené Brown.

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