Ben's Story

He said "I love you. Have a good day, Ben" and then the call ended. He later that day proceeded to take his life. No one knew that the next day they would find out that their best friend, brother, son, ect. was feeling so much pain and emptiness to the point where he felt like ending his life was the only option. This was May 5th 2017. Three days later, my world changed. I received the news in the morning and by the end of the day I was so exhausted from talking about it that all I wanted was my bed. Guilt took no time to make a home in my heart. The unending questions like "What if I said more?" or "Did I tell him that I loved him enough?" His name was Jake. He was my best friend who eventually became more of a brother to me. He had been struggling with chronic depression for years. Prior to his death, I spent almost every night on Skype with him for 2 whole months just after he moved to Alberta and not a night goes by that I don't want to hop online an talk to him. Grief is terrifying to face at any age but being 22 and grieving the loss of a close friend has taught me a lot about taking my time with this life I was given. Though this hasn't been the first time suicide entered my life.

I was 10 the first time I had experienced suicidal thoughts. I remember it ever so clearly. I was laying in the bed of my foster home, crying after facing extreme abuse. I questioned if anyone truly loved me. It had to be one of the worst feelings my 10 year old heart felt. All I knew at this point was I was disposable to the people who were meant to love me. Sadly to say but suicide felt so close and personal. By the time I was 16, I never thought I was going to make it past the age of 21, the age that your foster care case is officially closed. Throughout highschool, I began questioning myself and my identity. 

At the age of 20 years old, I came out at Transgender (Female to Male or FTM for short). This was an opportunity to live my life as authentically as I possibly can. Though being apart of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender+ community (LGBT+) has taught me the importance of suicide awareness. As a transgender youth, I face a lot of barriers in my everyday life as well as my mental illnesses.Just days after my 21st birthday I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Having been given this diagnosis ,though it was a scary illness to face, I was quite relieved to know that there was a name to how I was feeling. One of my prominent symptoms of BPD is suicidal thoughts. 

My last serious suicide attempt was last November. It was one of the scariest attempts I had. I ended up in the Critical Care Unit at St. Josephs Hospital. If it weren't for the many people around me that have shown me their love and support, I don't think I would have made it this far. The last time I was hospitalized was May 12th 2017 until September 6th 2017. I was at the St. Josephs West 5th campus. It's something that I was scared about at first but have grown from my experience. Hospitalization made me realize that this is a time to recover. Mental illness is just as valid as a physical illness. Sometimes people are sick and need to be in the hospital to get better. Mental illness is no different. Hospitals and medications are there to help with recovery.

Therapy has been one of my biggest lifesavers. I used to feel very different about therapy when I was 18 and 19 but by 20 I knew that it was what I needed to do to stay alive. Losing Jake as well as well as a few other friends to suicide has seemed almost impossible but through talking about it, I know that it will become bearable. hold hope that one day I will stop blaming myself for his death but for now all I can do is speak about more. His death hitting so close to home due to my previous attempts has taught me to be resilient. 

Suicide becomes an option when people are at their lowest point. Though it shouldn't be something we fear to talk about. We need to open ourselves to freely talk about the aftermath of death.

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