#StayAlive challenge – post a black and white photo of yourself in support of suicide prevention.
The moment I saw mention of it on Twitter, it resonated with me because years ago as a lonely, introverted high-schooler, I almost turned the other way. Since then it has been important to me that others who felt as I did know that there are people they can talk to – people who understand – people who care. So I started searching my photos for something appropriate.
I discovered that I have more pictures of curious-looking bugs than I have of myself. I scowled at the few snapshots that I do have and rejected each one in turn. Nobody would want to see a picture of me. There is nothing special or glamorous about me. I should just forget about it. All the feelings I had so long ago came crashing back, and I realized that in some ways they’ve always been lurking.
Don’t look at me.
Don’t see me.
But please let me matter.
Please, somebody notice that I’m alive.
Please, God, let somebody care.
I know now that my feelings don’t always reflect the truth. I know now how to work through the rough times. But thirty-some years ago, that wasn’t the case. Thirty-some years ago I was seconds away from giving in to those feelings.
Thirty-some years ago someone took the time to talk with me. It was an awkward discussion, but I came away knowing that someone cared. Someone noticed. Someone showed me that I mattered. I left that discussion desperately clinging to a hope that things would get better – a hope that would see me through the dark and low times.
I still don’t have a picture to post, so instead will issue my own “challenge”
Notice. Care. Show someone that they matter.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a nation-wide network of crisis centers. They are available 24/7 and all calls are free and confidential. If you need to talk with someone or are concerned for another, please reach out!