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Surviving Shadows

Kyleigh Leist
Marketing Director
Every year, on International Survivors of Suicide Day, I feel the weight of what could have been. It's a day that could have turned my family and loved ones into the stark statistics often commemorated on this day. I'm a survivor—not just of my attempts but of the tumultuous journey that follows. And damn has the aftermath been tumultuous.

I've walked the line between life and what seemed like an easier exit. Multiple times. I've seen the world blur in a haze of despair and felt the darkness wrap around me like a suffocating blanket. There still are days when hope feels like a distant memory, and the pain seems too immense to bear. There are days where my depression wins; no questions asked. For days on end. The days leading up to those moments are sometimes a symphony of despair, each note a haunting reminder of my struggle; of my depression. Emotions surged like a storm, crashing against the fragile barriers I tried to uphold. Hope was something I desperately tried to hold onto, but it quickly became a distant speck swallowed by the ominous clouds of anguish. The pain wasn’t just a sensation; it was an entity, an overwhelming force that seeped into every corner of my being, rendering me breathless in its grip.

My first suicide attempt, I found myself at the edge, at the brink where life hung by a fragile thread. The second time, the allure of escape seemed even more compelling. It was as if time paused. In those moments, clarity fought through the fog of despair—an eerie calmness enveloped the chaos. It was a decision, a fleeting grasp at what seemed like an escape from the torment, an attempt to extinguish the unbearable pain that had become an uninvited companion. But here I am, speaking from the other side, from a place where I've found a glimmer of light amidst the darkness. And I’ll continue to hold onto that glimmer.

The aftermath was a tumultuous symphony of survival. Amidst the chaos of fragmented thoughts and a heart still beating, there was a peculiar sense of gratitude. A paradoxical thankfulness for not succeeding—a fragile acknowledgment of the thin line between two worlds.

But within that gratitude lies a profound sense of appreciation—a reverence for the breaths I'm still able to take, for the moments that stretch beyond the darkness, and for the understanding that life, despite its hardships, has shown me I’m here for a reason.

International Survivors of Suicide Day isn't just another date on the calendar for me. It's a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the strength found in survival. It's a day that underscores the importance of support and understanding for those who have walked a similar path.

In the aftermath of my attempts, I realized the profound impact my actions could have had on those I hold dear. It's a sobering realization, one that fuels my commitment to continue, to endure, and to find purpose in the very act of surviving.

I know the pain isn't just mine; it ripples out, touching the lives of those who care about me. This day could have been a marker of their unending sorrow, a day when they'd commemorate a loss that could have shattered their world irreparably.

But today, I stand here, a testament to resilience and the power of hope. For those who have lost someone to suicide, I understand the anguish, the questions, and the unending search for answers. The journey of healing is complex and uncharted, but together, we can find solace in our shared experiences. We, the survivors, are more than just statistics or stories of struggle. We are testaments to resilience, and reminders that within the darkest moments, there's still a chance for light. Let's stand together, honoring our journeys and supporting each other as we navigate the hardships of healing. You are not alone. We walk this path together, finding strength in our unity and hope in our shared experiences.

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