‘I was going to kill myself, but I smiled. I laughed. All of it an act. I was just biding time.’: Young man urges others struggling to ‘talk to someone’ because you are not a ‘burden, weak’

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“It’s been roughly 21 months since I attempted to end my own life. Now, I have battled demons my whole life but myself worth was completely non-existent due to the actions of some of my former family members. I was as low as a person could ever possibly be. I f*cking hated myself. I knew for about 3 weeks I wanted to die and for those 3 weeks I legitimately could not look in a mirror. I couldn’t stand the sight of myself. I did everything I could to not be alone with myself.

Courtesy Ethen Atkisson

Here’s the thing, for those 3 weeks that I was sure I was going to kill myself, I was completely normal to the outside world. I coached CrossFit classes. I smiled. I laughed. I interacted with everyone normally. All of it an act. I was biding my time until I knew how I wanted to do it.

Courtesy Ethen Atkisson

I knew I wanted to die, and I just accepted it. I didn’t tell anyone; I didn’t ask for help. I already felt like everyone hated me the way I hated myself and the last thing I wanted to be was more of a burden to those around me. I thought the best thing for the entire planet was for me to be 100% gone.

Courtesy Ethen Atkisson

I came home early on a Sunday morning. Still drunk from the night before. I had a plan. I executed my plan. I say this next part with absolutely no dramatization; if my wife had stayed in bed for another 10-15 seconds, I would absolutely be dead. I would’ve been dead that morning. I owe my life to her. And I wouldn’t be here to tell you that things get better.

Was living with the idea of killing myself hard? Yes. Was staying in a cold, heartless suicide-watch facility for 48 hours after-the-fact hard? Yes. Was talking to a therapist upon release hard? Yes. Was digging inside myself to fix things that I thought were broken beyond repair hard? Yes.

Was it all worth it to be here today? YES.

I still have hard days. I still struggle. I still feel sad. I still feel a little broken sometimes. I have lost friends and family members after my life-ending attempt. But today, as I type this, I am the happiest I have been since I was 6 years old.

Courtesy Ethen Atkisson

I am closer to my wife than I have ever been, and we’ve been together since we were 18. I have new friends that I never would’ve been close to if I had left this earth 2 years ago. I have found my biggest passion in life and I get to practice it every single day. I get to work with some of the coolest, hardest working people I’ve ever met. I am the strongest, smartest, bravest, most caring, most sincere, and most self-aware version of myself.

‘It gets better’ is cliché but so true. If you feel sad, hurt, broken, or suicidal; talk to someone. You are not a burden. You are not annoying. You are not weak. Talking to someone honestly about how you feel is the single most brave thing you can do. Read that again. TALKING TO SOMEONE HONESTLY ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL IS THE SINGLE MOST BRAVE THING YOU CAN DO.

You are worth it. You are worth happiness. You are worth love. You are worth peace. You are here for a reason.

If you are someone who finds suicide a difficult topic to discuss, get over it. This is a real issue that effects real people. More people than you could ever imagine. We, as a society, need to make this a common topic of discussion. Feeling suicidal thoughts becomes much easier to handle if we feel comfortable and ‘normal’ talking about it.

Please reach out to your loved ones, your friends, your coworkers, your acquaintances. Always ask people how they’re doing and mean it. Life is f*ckin hard, and we have to rely on each other to make it easier. We’re all in this thing together.”

Courtesy Ethen Atkisson

[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ethen Atkisson, 27, of Tipton, Indiana. Follow his journey on Instagram here Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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