Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston
Sunday Mornings with Rania: 13 Reasons Why Not
I’ve written about this series before and many have heard about it. In a typical news fashion way, the national conversations have flared up, mainstream news has covered it and moved on. But the realities of the 13 Reasons Why and the risks of suicide amongst everyday teens is not something I can easily move past. Right now, as I write this, there are tweens and teens across Houston who are contemplating suicide. In fact, another 15-year-girl lost her life to suicide just last month. The trends are not showing signs of slowing down and that’s frightening to me.
So how does this happen? We know there are life circumstances. We know there are mental health issues but how does it all come together in such a way that in a lonely place, these teens feel it’s better to die than live? And how do we help them through the events that are taking over their young, not fully developed, teen minds and forcing them to suicide in record numbers?
So here I am, not wanting to put the topic down just yet; it’s time to turn #13ReasonsWhy into #13ReasonsWhyNOT. Please share these reasons with the youth in your lives.
Reason number 1. You are so dearly loved. You may not see it, you may not realize it, you may not feel it, but you are so incredibly, dearly loved. Your friends may be isolating you or you may not feel you have friends. Your parents or caretakers may be trying to break through to you or too busy to even see what you are dealing with. Still, you are so dearly loved and to not have you would be devastating. Remember, suicide impacts so many beyond you. You are not just removing yourself from your life but you’re removing yourself from everyone else’s lives. You would be surprised at those who will mourn your loss. As broken as you feel, you are perfect in the sight of so many. You are loved!
Reason number 2. It will get better; don’t give up. Yes, terrible things happen. Yes, the world appears to be crushing in on you. And circumstances are piling up around you. Whether you are misunderstood or have made bad choices, it’s ok. You are not defined by any of it. Don’t give up on yourself. Seek help. It absolutely, positively will get better. Give yourself every chance. Please!
Reason number 3. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. What on earth does that mean? It simply means that taking your life may stop today’s pain but it will also end tomorrow’s hope and happiness. You’re essentially pulling the plug on the future life of love, relationships, chances, opportunities and more . . . all the very things you are longing for. An entire new world comes after high school. It’s a time to completely reset. Another opportunity comes after college. And again into adulthood. Hold on!
Reason number 4. Justice comes but even if it doesn’t, you can rise above. Even if there are bullies in your life who seem to be getting away with their actions, that doesn’t mean you still don’t have the power to rise above it. Get help, fight for this help. Press forward for what’s right for you. You are not a victim. Do not give up on yourself.
Reason number 5. Times are changing. Bullies went through a season of getting away with their actions, technology seemed to be on their side, but that is starting to change. The same technology that hid them is now being used to unmask them. The law is shifting, penalties are being defined and charges are being filed. There is great power in the families of those bullied, a community who is fed up with it and law enforcement who are determined to stop it. Let that be a source of encouragement for you.
Reason number 6. Everyone has a purpose and your unique purpose has a need. Don’t deprive your talents and contributions from us, your community, or from your current family or from your future family.
Reason number 7. Don’t believe the lies. Don’t believe the lies others say about you. Don’t believe the lies your mind tells you about yourself. It won’t be better off with you gone. Nothing and no one will be better off. In fact everything will be much worse. Don’t believe the lies. You are better, you are more, you are valuable, you are precious and you are needed.
Reason number 9. Your legacy is better than that. In the aftermath of suicide, what will your legacy be? Everyone suffers, everyone goes through horrible lows. Don’t give up on yourself! That can’t be your legacy. While the realities of your life or the reasoning of your mind may be leading you to the awful conclusion of suicide, please know there is help with both and no matter what – no matter what – you can rise above it all. There is always help. Let your legacy be that you rose above and fought for yourself!
Reason number 10. There are no second chances following suicide. Remember, suicide doesn’t resolve your problem, it doesn’t make you feel better; it is a permanent ending. There’s no coming back and starting over. It is the final “over” button. Nothing is worse than pressing it.
Reason number 11. Don’t end your story early and give up your most prized possession. There is more to your story, there is so much more to your story. Don’t end it early. And please, remember, your most prized possession is your life – don’t give that up. No one is worth giving that up. Yes things are not easy, yes, you are dealing with very real issues that are truly significant but they are not worth your most prized possession – life. Guard that, protect it.
Reason number 12. The Butterfly Effect. If you think it won’t make a difference to anyone else if you take your life, you are wrong. Our lives impact each other, we are all connected. The Butterfly Effect is the concept that everything is related; small causes can have large effects and vice versa. This is a scientific fact. Taking your own life will send a tidal wave of loss and emptiness to others. What hero or heroine didn’t go through fire before coming out the other side? We need you and your story. Do not remove yourself from an equation you were meant to be in.
Reason number 13. There are better ways to hurt those who hurt you. I was talking to a young girl once who was sharing her thoughts of suicide. She wanted to “get back” at her abusers, to “show them.” But that is a flawed plan. One – the loss of your life will not get back at anyone else, it hurts you primarily. Two – you will not be there to see the aftermath of your actions. Taking your own life to get back at others is a flawed idea. Please let go and focus on your personal healing and strength. You’ve taken on enough of the abuse, don’t add to it. It’s time to start rescuing yourself. Please fight for yourself. And keep fighting.
Everyone of us is hurting. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. There are certainly problems that are much more significant than others and some have mental health issues that cannot be ignored or overlooked. Still, your lowest low or flawed reasoning is not worth ending your life. Let us help you. Talk and reach out for help. If you don’t find it the first time, reach out again. Let’s stop talking about #13ReasonsWhy and, as a community, focus on #13ReasonsWhyNot.
National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255