(NOTE: I wrote this post on the fly today because I felt a need to share my story today for World Suicide Prevention Day.)
This selfie picture was taken in January 2017. While it may look cool, I was actually a mess at that time in my life. I was severely depressed and desperately trying to hide it, even though looking back there were signs everywhere.
2016 was a rough year for me. I dated a guy where the situation was very toxic. I made many mistakes, including losing over 40 pounds in a very short amount of time because that’s what I thought he wanted. I fell in love and got my heart broken pretty badly. That year I also quit my job with no other job lined up. While looking back, this turned out to be a good move but at the time it was internal chaos hidden behind a smile of all is well. Also, that year I lost my then best friend in a way that left me feeling betrayed and extremely misunderstood.
I entered 2017 in a good place job wise (I had a new job), but my personal life was collapsing so badly that nothing else mattered. I had severe trust issues and zero desire to have any friends, but I still wanted to feel liked and loved so that I could feel purpose. So I posted selfies like this just for likes and dated when I clearly wasn’t in a place to do so. I was depressed, anxious and suicidal.
While I never actually attempted suicide, I spent most nights that winter lying in bed contemplating suicide. The thing to know about this particular selfie is that after I posted it, I went to bed and did just that.
I share this selfie and this story so that you can see the face of a suicidal person. Truthfully, it’s no different then anyone else’s bathroom selfie. This doesn’t mean that everyone who posts a bathroom selfie is suicidal, but it does tell you that you can never know what’s really going on in a person’s life based on social media. An important message to be kind and understanding to others because you don’t know what others are going through.
For me at that time, nobody had any idea that I was struggling that badly. But somehow I did pick myself up and managed somehow for about a year and half. In the summer of 2018 I got my heart broken again. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because it caused me to finally get help. I was seeing myself doing the same things I was doing before and I didn’t want to repeat the cycle.
Through all of this, I have learned and grown so much. My perspective and mindset has change greatly. I am now far from the person I was in this selfie.
Another reason I share this story is to send a message of not waiting to ask for help. Don’t do what I did and tough it out. I know it can be scary, but reach out to someone. It’s all good. You’ll thank yourself later.
Also, I believe in the power of storytelling (why I write in general). I share my story in hopes that it inspires others to share their story as well. I believe stories are powerful forces of change that bring understanding and different perspectives to the table. I feel the more stories we share and the more communication we have, the closer and better our world will become.
Kevin Gatti – 09/10/2019