Friday, June 14, 2013

Something Somber

Hey, Blahggers.

I'm going to head this one off by saying (if you didn't guess from the title) that this post is going to be rather morbid. It can't be helped.

So, I graduate from high school tomorrow. (Finally.) Any so many of my family members have sent letters and cards and stuff. Plus, some (Mom, step-father, Mom's parents, my siblings) are actually coming to watch the ceremony, despite several disturbances to the idea. (For instance, Beckbeck, as we so lovingly call her, took quite an nasty spill today and terrified all of us. She's okay, no worries, and she says she's going to be coming tomorrow...) 

With all these people (and my friends, seniors, those who have already graduated, and those who have yet to) supporting me, you'd think I will feel completely happy and fulfilled. But there's just one problem.
I'm not.

There is one very important person who's extremely near and dear to my heart that won't be coming. And that's because he can't. I don't mean he doesn't have the time. I don't mean it's hard for him.

I wonder what would happen if someone else decided to walk in another’s shoes. If someone were to literally switch places with another for a day; actually get a chance to live their life. I wonder if that would change how people see one another. If it would change how I am seen by others.

I was raised with a normal life in a normal town where nothing abnormal ever happened. Now I know that could not be less true. In my seventh grade year, we moved out of an apartment complex and into a house across town. We lived a year in that house; but our second February my parents separated. 

It took a heavy toll on my siblings and me. After that, I was afraid to admit that there was something that would make me stay in that house. I would have done anything to be anywhere but at home. When the end of eighth grade finally rolled around, I was looking forward to high school. I thought it was going to change everything. I was right, but not the way I’d originally thought.

Freshman year was quite enjoyable. The August before my Sophomore year of high school, however, my father decided he was going to move to North Dakota. My siblings and I were shocked. What that meant for us was that we’d only be able to see him every-other weekend. 

After a while I had begun to get used to not seeing him as much. He found a job as a beat-trucker in October, so we had to skip a weekend of seeing him. We had fun that next weekend and everything  felt like it was going to turn out fine. I wish I would have realized then that that was the last we would ever spend with him again.

It was Monday, October 11th of 2010. Exactly two weeks before my “Sweet Sixteen.” We were finally going to see him that weekend; I do not think I had ever been more excited in my life. But, as soon as I got off the bus my heart sank. 

You know that terrible feeling that you get sometimes? When your heart shatters and falls like lead to the bottom of your stomach? It is much worse when you are being told that the one person whom you adored and relied on the most in this world, the one person who is ever going to have the right to walk you down the aisle on your wedding day, when you’re being told that your father had committed suicide.

In the United states, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the country and the 10th world-wide. In 2001, the number of suicides in this country alone was 30,622 for every 100,000 people, averaging 84 every day. In 2009, that number raised to 35,909. 

Mental Health Reporting ( says “of those who die from suicide, more than 90 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder.” The website lists the following statistics:

  • People who die by suicide are frequently experiencing undiagnosed, undertreated, or untreated depression.
  • Worldwide, suicide is among the three leading causes of death among people aged 15 to 44.
  • An estimated 2-15 % of persons who have been diagnosed with major depression die by suicide. Suicide risk is highest in depressed individuals who feel hopeless about the future, those who have just been discharged from the hospital, those who have a family history of suicide and those who have made a suicide attempt in the past.
  • An estimated 3-20% of persons who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder die by suicide. Hopelessness, recent hospital discharge, family history, and prior suicide attempts all raise the risk of suicide in these individuals.
  • An estimated 6-15% of persons diagnosed with schizophrenia die by suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of premature death in those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Between 75 and 95% of these individuals are male.
  • Also at high risk are individuals who suffer from depression at the same time as another mental illness. Specifically, the presence of substance abuse, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder put those with depression at greater risk for suicide.
  • People with personality disorders are approximately three times as likely to die by suicide than those without. Between 25 and 50% of these individuals also have a substance abuse disorder or major depressive disorder.

Personally, I know quite a few people whose lives have been touched in one way or another by suicide. I have several friends who've even attempted it themselves. There is no real number as to how many homes and people are affected by suicide. I read once somewhere, though I can't remember where, that the average suicide deeply affects (an estimated) six people at least.

I think that's a load of crock. I remember how many people were at my dad's funeral. The church was packed. Old friends, family members, everyone was there. And everyone was crying.

Everyone except me.

I didn't cry. Not once. Not until they were lowering the casket and my little sister who, at the time, was four years old, turned around to me and said "This means we're never gonna hug Daddy again, doesn't it."

It's an impossible thing to tell a child so small. You can't explain it to them. You can't justify it. I can't even justify it myself. No one can. And, personally, I don't want to be able to understand it because I'm afraid that, if ever I do, I will go completely mad in an instant.

There is a point I want to make, no bias involved whatsoever.

Life is worth living. No matter how hard it gets sometimes. Life is worth getting up every day to face your challenges and to someday, maybe today, or maybe years from now, overcome your toughest obstacles and make it worth it all.

"Suicide does NOT end the chance of life getting worse. Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better."

Hannah Haugen
The Daily Blahgger

1 comment:

  1. Hannah. I remember when this happened, I remember being so shocked and not knowing what to say to you. I think that you wrote a wonderful and meaningful post here (it made me tear up). Love you! And congratulations on your graduation. <3