‘Not all experiences turn out like mine’

The mental health series really hits close to home. Many of my cousins and family, some of whom I never got to meet, have died from suicide or drug overdose.

Every few months it seems another family member, cousin or second cousin, friend of the family or community member is lost to what seems like a never-ending cycle of poverty, suicide or substance abuse.

A large number of family members in my age bracket have left multiple children behind to be raised by the elders of the community. It is heart breaking not only because my family is involved, but because this is a national problem.

While I did not grow up on the reservation like other members of my family, my life was still not exempt from suicidal ideation or plans for suicide.

In my early-to-late teens, life changed and what could be best described as a vortex of darkness slowly picked my life apart, piece by piece. Soon I reached for the medicine cabinet, taking everything I could get my hands on.

No one noticed.

My parents just thought I was tired and let me sleep. Friends didn’t seem to notice nor did extended or close family — life, it seemed, just went on. The thought of my life lacking significance was deep and stayed close to my heart.

I could have died. But, no one noticed. No one said, “I love you,” no one made me feel life was worth it.

Endless were the days going to bed hoping to not wake up, dreading carrying on as if everything was ‘normal.’

Until finally, sending a call to the Creator, demanding that if there was a purpose to my life it had better show up in two weeks because if not, Wednesday was going to be the last day of my life.

Caring about what others would think, feel or do about my death wasn’t there — my experience had become a blur of motions, conversations and events with no meaning or distinction.

But, about a week before the “day” my life took an unexpected turn — a quick piss on a stick came back positive, I was with child.

Not all experiences turn out like mine did, not all questions or demands to the universe or God will be answered. The truth is, many people will lose their lives or loved ones this year — the last year for statistical reporting, 2013, said 15 people in Whitman County committed suicide.

That is 15 too many.

People in the Northwest, specifically Washington, have a significantly higher suicide rate than other states across the United States.

Suicide is not an idea people go shouting from the rooftops.

Sufferers do not wear bright-colored shirts or sing sweet songs.

Some feel invisible and keep the ideations completely concealed.

Warning signs

Here are some warning signs taken directly from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP):

Reach out to someone if a person talks about: Killing themselves; having no reason to live; being a burden to others; feeling trapped; or unbearable pain.

Behavior

A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss or change. These behaviors include: Increased use of alcohol or drugs; looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means; acting recklessly; and withdrawing from activities.

Additionally, individuals may: Isolate themselves from family and friends; sleep too much or too little; visit or call people to say goodbye; give away prized possessions; or behave aggressively.

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: Depression; loss of interest; rage; irritability; humiliation; or anxiety.

There are no immediate services for students on campus—during the spring of 2014 the Counseling and Advising Center only had specific walk-in times that were during the bulk of class time from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and only by appointment after – Not helpful in a crisis.

The crisis lines for several counties in Washington State, like Kitsap, only offer weekend training for the crisis lines and no psychological certifications are required.

Other crisis lines, even the national ones, don’t always have a licensed therapist on the other end of the phone.

The Counseling and Psychological Services run by graduate students on campus will only see clients after a psychological evaluation — that costs money and requires payment for each hour of service like a ‘normal’ psychological clinic, except most insurance policies don’t cover services offered by graduate students.

During this week, reach out and give some face time to those you love and those people in your life that fill it with joy — tell them you care and remind them of their importance in your life.

In order to get better, sometimes it is necessary to be vulnerable and open to letting someone in on the pain you are feeling. Find someone you trust and get real.

You never know – it could help save a life.

Jorden Wilson is a senior psychology major from Seattle. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of the Office of Student Media.