A good friend of mine from high school tried to kill herself recently. Thankfully, she didn’t succeed.
Obviously, this is her story to tell (if she wants to) and it’s not my place to share the intimate details with the blogosphere. But it really got me thinking about what could possibly cause someone to feel like they had absolutely no way out, no way to take care of their problems, no one in the world who cared about them. I haven’t had a chance to talk to my friend in person yet because she lives a few hours away, but a short online conversation with her yesterday made me realize that that is exactly how she felt. Which is crazy, because each and every one of us has people who love and care for us…whether we know it or not.
I know how difficult it is to be convinced that people care about you when you feel alone in the world. When you feel like there’s no point in trying any more because everything you do is a failure, there is not a single person who can convince you otherwise.
I’ve been there. Even though I’m blessed with an amazing family, amazing friends and a fiance who is more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed for, I’ve thought about doing what my friend did. Not recently, thank God, but I too was in a place at one point in my life where I felt the same way my friend did. Probably not to the extent that she did, because I never actually attempted suicide. But I thought about it. At the time, I knew that what I was feeling was selfish. It takes an awful lot of pain to get to the point that my friend did. It doesn’t matter where that pain stems from, what caused it. It hurts just the same, and it sucks.
I am so grateful every day that I was blessed the courage to move past those feelings and continue on with my life. I was also blessed with fear of actually acting on those feelings, and I’m glad I was given that as well. I’m grateful for my friends and family who were always there, even if they didn’t really understand what was going on with me. I’m grateful for the little moments that made everything seem better, even temporarily, so that I found strength to keep going.
I think one of the main reasons I wanted to continue on to law school was to join a profession of people who help other people. Despite the sleazy stereotype, many lawyers do very noble work every day. Family lawyers help facilitate amicable divorces, and make custodial arrangements that are in the best interests of children. Criminal prosecutors fight for justice for victims of some of the most unimaginable crimes. Criminal defenders help exonerate those who are innocent, and make sure that those who are guilty receive a fair and just sentence. Is this view a bit naive? Perhaps. But It’s one that I hope I hold onto. I want to use my degree and my God-given gifts to help people, even if they find themselves in some of the darkest moments of their lives. Because those dark times don’t have to last forever…but you have to be willing to wait out the storm if you’re going to see the sun again.
We’re each dealt a different hand of cards, a different set of struggles to deal with every day as we journey through life. I have no idea why some people are meant to deal with serious illnesses like depression or cancer, or serious problems like abuse or other types of violence, and some of us are just meant to cope with the daily ins and outs of stress, work, school, and the like. But if you’re reading this and for some reason are feeling the way my friend felt, please reach out to someone. A family member, a friend. Hell, reach out to me. Even if I don’t know you. Because you are loved. This world has too much pain and suffering in it already.