Not long ago, my fellow editor Jeremy McKeen made a Facebook post about the Netflix show, “13 Reasons.”
For the record, I haven’t seen the show, and don’t know much about it at all. However, Jeremy’s post was intriguing. He asked those of us who have been touched by suicide (either as personal survivors or have had family members or friends who completed the act) to write our 13 reasons. The 13 reasons could be 13 reasons why we are still here, 13 reasons why life is worth living, 13 things you’re looking forward to, or any other 13 reasons that have meaning for you.
I’m in both camps. I’m a personal survivor and I’ve been personally touched by individuals close to me who have both attempted and completed suicide.
Following are 13 Reasons Why I’m Still Alive:
- I’m still alive because of my son. My son Johnathan is the light of my world and has been since the day he was conceived. I honestly cannot imagine leaving him without a mother. While I know I’ve not been a perfect mother, he loves me dearly. If I was not here to support and guide him, his life would be unnecessarily deficient. I know my son will face enough grief and pain in his life by simply facing life. I do not wish to add to the amount of grief and pain he must endure.
- I’m still alive because I’m a survivor. As many times as I’ve struggled and thought I could not possibly make it through the Hell I was facing, whether that Hell was heartbreak, financial ruin, employment struggles, utter confusion, friendship woes, complete overwhelm, educational dilemmas, competing and crushing priorities, attempting to manage the demands of the sandwich generation, a partner’s infidelity, extreme caregiving, single parenting trials, not feeling good enough, or any other malady, the fact of the matter is, I survived. Every single time. Even better, I learned. Every single time. What’s more, I bounced back higher. Every single time.
- I’m still alive because my darkest times led me to my brightest insights. As tough as some of my experiences have been, I still believe no experience is ever wasted. I don’t think it’s an accident I spent 20 years depressed and seven years in bed. It’s no accident I was a single mom and lost both of my parents in the same year. These experiences make me uniquely qualified to connect with others in a way that no one else can. These specific events led me to meet someone who helped me on my road to recovery and got me dancing again.
- I’m still alive because dancing makes me feel alive. I dance every chance I can get! They say you should stay close to anything that makes you feel alive, and dancing is one of those things for me. I’m so grateful to have been led back to dancing and it’s proven to be such a great stress reliever and way for me to stay present and “in my body.”
- I’m still alive because I have work to do. While I have considered suicide multiple times in my life, at one point, I even considered it for a reason that’s different than what you may think, I’ve since determined it simply isn’t time for me to go. There’s so much more I want to accomplish—I wonder if I’ll even get it all done in this lifetime, but I’m sure going to try!
- I’m still alive because I found myself. For more than 40 years, I lived for other people. I lived their truth, met their needs, and fed on the scraps of validation they delivered. When that no longer served me, I found my own truth, met my own needs and validated my own damn self. It was both liberating and freeing. I will never go back and will only live my own truth from here on out.
- I’m still alive because I stopped watching TV and started reading instead. We are affected by what we consume. I make it a point to only consume positive and uplifting messages (instead of the crime dramas I used to consume around the clock). I believe this action alone made a significant difference in the thoughts I think, the things I say, and what I choose to write about.
- I’m alive because I have faith in a better tomorrow. Are things not better today than yesterday? If not, why? What can you do today to make tomorrow better for you and for those you associate with? I’m planting seeds today to provide fruits and blooms into the future.
- I’m alive because I’m making my dreams come true. I’m doing what I want to do and I believe things are only going to get better in time. I seriously cannot wait to see what’s going to transpire in the next few years. I know if I continue on this path, it’s just a matter of time before things unfold right before my eyes.
- I’m alive because I care about other people and their stories. There’s great healing when you live your truth and tell your story. I get immense joy from helping others find their truth and tell their story. Being vulnerable can be scary, but doing so is empowering. It also helps others not feel alone. When others recognize their own story in yours and say, “Me too,” they feel empowered as well.
- I’m alive because I’m so curious. I ask a lot of questions. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t ask, the answer is always, “No.” There’s no harm in asking. Even if the answer is “No,” you haven’t really lost anything, have you? I love to dig deep and find solutions to problems people think cannot be solved. There’s such beauty in sorting out something that seems like it can’t possibly be sorted. Plus, I’m a rebel and like to prove people wrong sometimes.
- I’m alive because I want to meet my grandchildren (in due time). I get so much joy seeing my son learning and growing. I’ve heard the joy as a grandparent is even more grand. While I’m seriously excited for the day when my son and his woman choose to have children, I’m ok with it taking a few years too:)
I’m alive because there’s life after depression and it’s Brilliant!
Please consider writing your 13 Reasons. Editor Jeremy McKeen would love to publish them for you. Please submit them to him directly.
Photo courtesy of author