"In 2007, suicide ranked as the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24); Whereas suicides accounted for 1.4% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprised 12.2% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds...
In 2007, 34,598 people completed suicide. Of these, 4,140 were completed by people between the ages of 15 and 24...For every completed suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made. Based on the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey." - Mobile Crisis
Growing up, achievements have always been my anchor. Picture the five year old girl outside of Sis. Mary Jane's office, ranting about the misspelling of her name on honor roll - that was me. Most kids are oblivious to the fact they're even on honor roll, but in a world where nothing else is constant, intelligence became my foundation. Even my relationship with God, was one of “I’m doing good - at least trying to; why aren’t you blessing me with everything I WANT?” Don’t get me wrong - God has blessed me tremendously, but I’m not talking about that fluffy stuff we share during testimony time at Bible Study. We all know I have food to eat and a quite high roof over my head. Yet, still search for the real desires of my heart - acceptance and love. Along this road of fulfillment, I picked up a few bad habits and a many of sleepless nights. Excelling far and beyond everyone else, will over-compensate for my lack of confidence - right?
What do we do, when school is over? When there are no more extra-curricular activities, controlled environments, or life-long friends across the quad? When all that is left, are our dreams and habits? You know, the habits which involve - functioning on zero percent sleep and one hundred percent caffeine. Huge consumption of drugs and alcohol in efforts to deal with culture shock and gigantic academic workload. Lastly, my all-time favorite - RUNNING. College is so fast-paced, we usually don't make time to think about much else. Class at 8am, followed by chapel, then work-study in the cafeteria; don't forget your student government meeting, and remember - Rebecca's having a party later. Unknowingly, the same feeling that once lifted me up on a pedestal, will be the cause of my downfall
As post-grad time progressed and I spent more time at home - in a world no longer my own - there was a stillness. In the stillness - how will I handle the voice of God. When I feel the emptiness of my decisions, where do I go? Honestly, to the liquor store or that guy's house, because I just want it to stop. I'm tired of trying to reconcile a sociological degree with the displacement and downfall of thousands of New Yorker(s), due to gentrification and an obvious inadequate distribution of funds. No more broken-hearten conversations about the childhood friends who are no longer here to celebrate life with us. The longer I stayed in academics, the more awoke in me. My world was different when I was ignorant - it was smoother. Though, a part of me believes, God made us for the bumps.
There are an array of reasons why my college experience left me with PTSD. I'm sure there are thousands of blog posts on the rigorous curriculum and racism, but I'm beyond that point. The way in which and how we choose to move on, holds a deeper weight to me. It is imperative for us NOT to hold on to what was and focus on what is. How will I love myself enough, to then love my world even more?
Kia’s Tips to Make it Through:
Reach Out: Call your mother, best friend, suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), or put it on your social media. Personally, I don't care what you do - just reach out! There are people or at least one person in this entire world who cares enough about your life, to stop what they are doing and be there.
Let Go of Guilt: Right the wrong and move on with your life.
Drop Dead Weight: Whether friends, habits, or sexual partners - if it's not making you better - get rid of it.
Process the Pain: Write it out, take a walk, or let your home girl come over even though your Carl Thomas playlist is burning a hole through your headphones. Get up anyway; especially the times you'd rather sit in the dark with a bottle of Paul Masson
Secure Your Success: Similarly to how parents-to-be baby proof their homes; it’s time to success-proof your life. For example, when living alone, it is not safe to keep prescription medicine or alcohol in my home. Feeling depressed? Only inspirational music/podcasts in my ears. It's one thing to drop the dead weight; can we keep it off?