Your Story is not Over

The measures you can take to save someone’s life

Shay Lawson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In case you didn’t know, September is National Suicide Prevention Month. 

Although every day is important to focus on this serious matter, this month is a period specifically devoted to remember those affected by suicide, raising awareness and directing treatment to people who would benefit. 

Understanding: 

In order to support suicide prevention, you must understand what suicide is. 

According to Project Semicolon, “Suicide is a complex issue involving numerous factors and should not be attributed to any one single cause. Not all people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness and not all people with a mental illness attempt to end their lives by suicide.” 

These causes could be addiction, depression, loss of anything an individual feels is unbearable.  

“It affects so many people. Even though people are talking about it, they’re not getting the gory details, like what actually happens, and so people don’t really understand it.”

Senior Jillian Beal feels that since so many people are struggling with depression and suicide especially in this community, that sharing her story will help others who may be feeling the same way. 

“It affects so many people. Even though people are talking about it, they’re not getting the gory details, like what actually happens, and so people don’t really understand it,” she said. 

Beal noticed that her behavior began as early as Middle School. She said that all of a sudden, she started caring about what people thought of her like when someone looked at her the wrong way, she would start like crying, 

“That’s when my parents were like, okay, maybe we need to talk to someone. That’s when I ultimately got diagnosed with depression, anxiety with a little bit of OCD, and then ADHD. For three years, I just knew I was struggling. Then Freshman year, I had a really hard time with friends. I just cared so much of what people thought about me and that just got me in a really dark space, caring about what I looked like and feeling like I disappointed my parents and friends not being nice to me. That’s when I took my antidepressants and basically tried to end my life.” Beal said. 

After that experience, Beal’s dad walked in and took her to the hospital.

“Six months later, I tried it again, I went to Research Hospital and that place really helped me. They’re usually about a five-day stay. So then that proceeded for two years where I’d go pretty much every six months. After the fourth time, that’s when I was like, you know what, I’m not going to do this again, this is the worst thing for me.”

Beal said she didn’t want to be a statistic.

“I want to be one of those people that grow up and can tell people that are going through the same thing that you can get through it. I just know, I want to help people. So that’s when I kind of just changed my mindset. I think that is what helps me a lot.” 

“I’ll always have depression, but I’ve learned to cope with it a lot better.” 

Beal said that changing her mindset aided her through her recovery. She did this by being admitted into the adolescent unit at Research Medical Center.

“You kind of make friends I guess. I don’t know if that’s weird to say, but you could. You’re in a confined space and there’s so many things you can do. It’s basically just like therapy, talking with people and figuring out your medicine. It’s basically a detox. You don’t have your phone and you can still do school work, but it’s just really different. 

After she walked in for the first time she met a variety of people that invited her to sit with them. “They then asked, ‘Why are you here?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I tried to commit suicide.’ But then they started telling me more about their life. One kid had to sleep at her aunt’s house because her mom has bipolar and tried to kill her two times. Then someone else was in foster care, and their foster parents were treating them so badly. So [Research] was their only escape. I just sat back and thought, Oh my gosh, I did nothing like this. I have the best parents. I have the best therapist. I’ve got really good friends. I just started thinking about why I’m depressed.”

After submerging herself with children who were similar to her, Beal understood that her purpose was to hear their stories and to tell hers. 

“People need to understand, it’s an illness, and it’s a chemical imbalance in your brain or it’s your hormones, just one thing can go wrong. You can feel like you’re drowning and like no one can help you. There needs to be a light shed on that. People can feel a certain way. People can take action to feel better. People do go through things. I feel like that’s not really talked about. I kind of just felt like when I grow up, I want to be one of those people that tell people, I tried to commit suicide, not once, not twice, three times. So many things went wrong. But here I am right now. And I’ll always have depression, but I’ve learned to cope with it a lot better.” 

“No, you deserve to feel that way. You might not want to, but you deserve to feel that way. And being guilty is not gonna like help you fix it.”

Beal said that everyone has their own battles. Each person is allowed to deal with their emotions in any way and everyone is entitled to the way that they are feeling, it’s normal. 

“Someone can have their dog die, someone can try and commit suicide, they can still feel a certain way about it. Everything you feel is valid no matter what.” She said. 

Everyone’s allowed to have their own feelings. It’s just a matter of how people express it. 

“Some people will get into drugs because it makes them feel better,” Beal said. “Some people might get into a fight with their friend because it makes them feel better. It’s just a matter of how people are handling it. 

“Because if more people talk about it, and more people understand more people raise questions. More people aren’t afraid to speak up.”

Beal said talking is definitely the number one way to raise awareness. Talking about what someone is going through and being able to express how you feel without people labeling you as attention-seeking.

“That’s why I posted my story because I think it’s so important for people to know that. And obviously, it’s very, very personal and it’s depressing, but talking about it is so important. It’s all about changing your mindset and getting help.” 

Opening up and sharing the experiences you have gone through is important because you are able to discover others who can relate and assist you through your recovery.

Jillian Beal is strong and is someone who has learned from her past and will always help other people.

Awareness: 

The Mental Health Club at Blue Valley is working on activities to spread awareness this month. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or having suicidal thoughts please reach out to anyone and everyone you can. In this generation, it is ok to talk about how you feel and it is ok to receive help. The Mental Health Club meets every Thursday during Tiger Paws A.

Websites that can help: 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/how-we-can-all-prevent-suicide/

https://projectsemicolon.com/what-is-suicide/