Editor’s note: This opinion piece includes references to suicide and assault. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. It can be reached at (800) 273-8255. The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline can be reached at (800) 656-4673.
I was only 12 when I first tried killing myself. I was being bullied and s—t-shamed by the majority of kids at my school. “S- -t”, “B – – – h”, “Everything was better without you.”
These words echoed through my head over and over again. My own community was against me. I started cutting my wrists because I didn’t know how to handle it properly. Every day, I woke up and was scared to go to school because I was afraid someone was going to grab my a – – or threaten me. Every day I woke up and fantasized about killing myself because I was in so much pain. I didn’t ask for help because I didn’t know how. But at the same time, everyone was feeling the same way I was; depressed, lonely, anxious. I felt as though my pain wasn’t as significant as it actually was. I felt as though this was normal and I was being overly sensitive. Everyone made me feel this way on top of it. No one really blinked an eye at my suffering, no matter how obvious I would try to make it. However, I forgive every single one of them, because it’s not their fault. It’s a generational curse. Abuse and hurt cycles throughout the generations and no one knows how to stop it because they weren’t taught the fundamentals in school: love, empathy, respect. They weren’t taught how to help instead of hurt when they needed to learn it the most. And it’s not just treating others with respect that needs to be taught, it’s treating yourself as well. But no one knows how to do that. We need to teach all of these things in school because if we get it into their heads while they’re still developing and learning how to live life, they’ll have the tools necessary to deal with their issues and won’t turn to abuse or drugs. They won’t turn to suicide because they feel like they cant ask for help because they werent taught it. As someone who is in the school system, as someone who has been directly affected by the lack of security taught, we need to make a change.
• LilyBelle Maher is a student within the Juneau School District.