That’s how it started. It began with an anonymous postcard sent to Postsecret, and it apparently struck a nerve with the people who operate the site. This is what the card said. “I have lived in San Fransisco since I was young. I am illegal. I am not wanted here. I don’t belong anywhere. This summer I plan to jump off the Golden Gate.”

Just reading those words breaks my heart. It broke hearts around the world, once word of this got out. No one knows who wrote it, or even if it’s genuine. It doesn’t matter, honestly, because that pain is far too real for so many out in the world. Take out the word ‘illegal’ and replace it with something else, like ‘I’m hopeless’, ‘I lost my job, my girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband’. It could be ‘I’m gay’ or ‘I’m Muslim’ or ‘I’m unpopular’, or ‘I’m being bullied and I can’t take it anymore’. So many reasons why. So many young lives cut short because they had no one to go to for help.

Someone decided to stand up for those anguishing, silent, invisible people, and let them know that they are most definitely wanted in this world. A woman by the name of Kimberly Furnell created ‘please don’t jump’ on Facebook, and the membership took off like wildfire. I’ve lost track of how many thousands of fans it has–it has become a phenomenon. It has people from all points on the globe coming together to say to those who are hurting to not give up their lives, to keep fighting, to keep living. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you look like, how you live your life; depression and suicide are not selective. I have been on the brink myself many times, and I guess I’m too stubborn to give up. It is a brutal, frustrating, painful struggle, but I am still here. Many folk on that page have said I must be here for a purpose and I first laughed it off. The thing is, maybe I do have a purpose, and that’s to help others see that there IS hope for them, despite their suffering. Sometimes the advice and affirmations are religious, but that really shouldn’t matter, to be honest.

We all deserve to be loved, we who are hurting so much we’re afraid to reach out for help. No one, let me repeat, NO ONE should EVER be told they are unwanted, unloved, hated for who and what they are. No one should EVER think they should die because of that. No one should EVER tell that to another person. I have felt like a freak for most of my life, and I wanted so desperately to end it because I felt no one could ever possibly show love for someone like me. I have had people from the other side of the world tell me MY life is important to them. Strangers I have never seen. There are others who can testify that they have been touched by others on that page, and given the strength to keep living. If you’re unwilling to involve yourself in keeping someone from taking their life, then you are not helping the situation. It’s not enough to say you support suicide prevention programs, or donate money. Can you picture yourself donating your time to talk to others about finding hope? Are you willing to be part of the solution to prevent these senseless deaths? I am willing. I have written this because this crisis has affected me on a deeply personal level.

On September 22, 2010, it will be officially ‘please don’t jump’ Day. There are people organizing events all across the country to promote the message of preventing suicide. There is the ‘Pick Up The Phone’ project, working with To Write Love On Her Arms, which I believe runs a national suicide hotline for people to call in crisis, which is operated by those who know all too well about it, being survivors. Too many young, beautiful lives have been lost because of this epidemic. It’s still a taboo subject, in some ways. People are afraid to admit that someone is suicidal or depressed, or they don’t want others to know of their problems. If we do not take this head on, we will lose those loved ones forever. I won’t let that happen. I lost a high school classmate to suicide; she jumped off a bridge. I still grieve over that loss, because she was such a beautiful person, inside and out. She was afraid to ask for help; I’ll never know why. I wanted to end my own life, because I felt I was a freak that no one could ever love. I hurt myself because I felt I deserved it for being so ugly. I was convinced that I was a monster. I have had a more difficult life than most people, being born with birth defects, undergoing a lot of reconstructive surgery as a child, being brutally bullied by cruel kids. Not just verbally, but physically as well. I managed to get through high school, graduate, go to college, even though it took me a bit longer because of my bouts of severe depression. I got my aasociate’s degree. I did that while being in the grip of some of my darkest moments of my life. Part of me, despite my intense self-hatred, still kept going. Part of me just did not want to give up. I am here to say it IS possible to overcome that misery that is depression and suicide. I have been blessed to find so many beautiful, genuine people that I’ve never met who share that passion to help others. I do not want to give up on any of them. I will not let this message fade into oblivion. I want people to know about this around the world. There are so many people in positions of wealth and influence that can help promote this cause. Hopefully they will do it because they care about those who are hurting, not for publicity and shameless self-promotion. We are not going away.

Check out the page on Facebook. Read the message, talk to the people there. Ask them why they are part of this group, what it means to them. Love is not a bystander. Love is not selective, nor biased, or judge based on certain criteria. I care because I love. I care because other people’s lives have now become a part of mine. We are all part of a greater family that transcends race, religion, politics, lifestyle, or gender. Our lives are too important to throw away over grief.

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