Suicide Perspective

Suicide. It tends to be a topic that a lot of people avoid. I am not one of those people. It’s not like I’m studying clinical psychology either. I am simply a normal student, whose life just happens to be impacted significantly by suicide.

My story begins at age 12. It was a dark time with what seemed like no light anywhere in sight. Bullied by my peers and rejected by my family, suicide to me was an escape from all of the pain; I thought that literally dying would be better than the hell I was stuck in. I was so close to committing the act, that it is a miracle I am still alive. My miracle was a fellow classmate who decided to simply say “hi” to me on the day I was going to go home and end it all. This simple gesture gave me a small light in all the darkness: hope. So I was alive, but barely. I was psychologically a train wreck. Still suicidal, depressed, irrational and so afraid of people because of the power they had over me. That all changed when I was 16.

It was when I was 16 that I met the most important person in my life. His name was Jake. We immediately connected over our love for music, Batman, Gene Kelly and our pasts. He was the only other person I had ever met that had to grow up at such a young age because of some sort of darkness that inhabited life.

I wasn’t alone anymore.

Jake quickly became my everything. He was my hero, my best friend and my boyfriend. He had a knack for changing the lives of everyone he came in contact with, including mine. He had taken all of the years of abuse that he had suffered through and built up an amazing life for himself: 4.0 student, captain of the swim team, drum major in marching band, third ranked flute player in the state of Michigan for his solo ensemble, the list goes on and on.

He inspired me, completed me and filled me with hope, only a few of the endless reasons why I loved him.

Over the span of the next two years, Jake and I ended our relationship. We grew apart after that, but that didn’t last long. He soon again became my best friend, and he never stopped being my hero. I even wrote an oral history on him my very first semester of college.

Then that day happened. March 22, 2012. I had just finished up my classes for the day and headed to one of the computers in the Oakland Center on campus. I promptly logged on to Facebook and scrolled through my news feed, not knowing it contained something that would change my life forever.

Then I saw it. A status from Jake’s Facebook page. That is how I had found out that my best friend was dead. A few more minutes on the internet revealed that he had committed suicide. Words cannot even begin suffice the effects this had on me. I broke. The person who meant the absolute most to me, that filled my life with hope, was gone. He died March 19th, 2012, after his school expelled him for “stealing” a laptop, and no one bothered to tell me for three days.

Everything seemed so surreal. I had had a text conversation with him the night before his death, surely he couldn’t be gone. I tried to convince myself this wasn’t reality.

I lost all stability and rationality in life: I wanted to die, my relationships with those around me suffered and I couldn’t go five minutes without breaking down in tears. Everything reminded me of him, even the sight of the bat symbol would send me on extreme downward spirals. All of my thoughts revolved around the fact that I would never see Jake again, and that I lost the best person I ever knew. Even my dreams were haunted by him.

I went back to that dark place I was in when I was 12. My hero was gone, by his own accord, and I could not handle that.

I honestly don’t even know how I got through this ordeal. I suppose this is where the “time heals all” phrase comes into play. After a year and a half, some stability has come back into my life, along with a tattoo in Jake’s memory. I still think of Jake every day, actively advocate against child abuse and try to tell his story to everyone I can, in hopes of preventing something like this from happening to others. He is still my hero, and he still inspires me to help people and get my own life on track, maybe even more so now that he’s gone.

Coming to terms with losing someone to suicide will never be easy. The ramifications it has on the loved ones of the victim cannot be expressed sufficiently though words. Nor can the pain of acceptance, and growth, be extinguished because of time.

I am still recovering from Jake’s death, and although everything about the situation causes me pain, I am trying to use it in the most positive way I can. A year and a half later, and I still can’t visit his Facebook, or his grave, and even writing this has brought me to tears. I am still so broken.

Except now I can help people that are going through the same thing, and can maybe even prevent this from happening in the first place.

Please, if you know people who are considering suicide, help them, or maybe it’s you reading this. There is always someone that cares and is willing to help. Choose life for yourself and for those who care about you.

In memory of Steven Jacob Jahn.