A Painful Letter About Suicide And My Hopeful Reply


From: “Z”
To: “frank” <frank@postsecret.com>
Subject: Re: PostSecret HelpDear my secret mate

I’d always wanted to write to you but never thought it’d be under such circumstances, ugh sorry. I’m secretly planning my death. I realised I have depression this March. Since then I began taking some meds, and I was getting better this week. 2 nights ago, I went to a friend’s to pick up my earring I dropped the other night (he invited some friends to come over). I only had 1 drink then I got so drunk somehow. He fucked me. It hurt so much and I kept bleeding for a day. I feel extremely shame on myself since that night. I can’t even face myself, and the only thing I am thinking is to restart my life.

I couldn’t go to school today. I can’t function (a bit like my depression). I had a mental breakdown in the bathroom while taking a shower. I can’t tell my therapist (also a teacher and colleague of my mom’s from my primary school). I know it’s wrong so I went to the medical centre to find another therapist. But the registration takes a week to complete. I feel desperate. The memory keeps playing in my head.

What a fucken life!!

Regards,
-Z

From: “frank” <frank@postsecret.com>
To: “Z”
Subject: Re: PostSecret Help

Hi Z-

This is one of the most difficult emails I have ever read. I can understand why you are in pain right now. I’m sorry that is is overwhelming right now. But I believe the fact that you took the time to share this with me indicates that part of you still wants to live. Know this, at this exact moment, you are not alone with your heavy and suffocating feelings. I get postcards with confessions similar to yours every week, especially from young people who have suffered a traumatic experience through no fault of their own. It might not feel like it, but pain can dissipate, no matter how much it lies and tries to convince you otherwise. If your pain eventually lessened would you still want to kill yourself? Some of the secrets I receive say, I don’t want to die, I just want to pain to stop. I also get postcards from people who have found their way through the pain. They don’t say everything is great and life is painless now, but they are surprised that things can get better with time, medication, God, love, friends, music, therapy, family, a beloved pet, meditation, even endurance exercise (that’s what worked for me).

I hunted through the PostSecret archive to find two stories of people who have secrets related to the story you shared with me. Not everyone finds their way to survival and healing like these two courageous women, but it is possible. Over time there is a chance you will overcome. Give that chance time to happen, you owe it to that girl you were, and your future self. I hope that future self will mail me a postcard like one of these someday.

Maybe your depression is how you are expressing the righteous anger you must feel toward your attacker.  Don’t let that rapist win. You are more important than your assailant. That is why I stopped everything I was doing to write you this message.

You wrote that your are having trouble finding a therapist. I totally believe you. Last night, I was speaking at a large university and a student told me she was waiting over a month for counseling. Another student said they were told by the campus counselor to find help off-campus. That sucks. It’s not fair, it happens to a lot of young people and it’s 100% not your fault. Here is a link to the PostSecret Suicide Prevention Wiki that may help. It lists hundreds of suicide prevention hotlines and text-lines world-wide. Please use it and share it with others – in the future.

Here’s a Harvard Study I retweeted last week that found that nine out of ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die by suicide at a later date. This has been well-established in the suicidology literature and it’s a powerful fact to keep in mind. Nine out of ten people who felt just like you, desperate enough to kill themselves, if they were able to find their way through the worst night, got better and never made another attempt for the rest of their lives.

Can I ask you a question? Does anything still bring you joy in life? A pet, a sibling, a friend, a grandparent, a band, the beach, a book, Disneyland, a walk in nature, watching “Game of Thrones”? Have you been to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”? (I went last week and it was unforgettable. I attached a picture I took).

I attached one last image to this email. It’s an picture of a young woman sending up a helium balloon of hope for a stranger who had mailed in a secret like yours. Because of one secret, over 60,000 strangers cared enough to create a “Please Don’t Jump” facebook page proving people do care and there is hope, even if your depression has convinced you otherwise – don’t believe it, depression and anxiety are liars.

A friend of mine – Kevin Hines – tried to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge to end his life. He is one of the ten or so people, from the thousands who have jumped off that bridge and died, to have survived. He travels the country sharing his inspiring story. It’s like his life was spared so that he can reveal the secret last thought of people who attempt suicide. He has shared his story with millions of people around the world. This is what he says, As soon as I let go of the cables and began to fall from the bridge, I realized I was making a mistake.

Be well,

-Frank

 

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