After a long and tiring day of classes, I sat on the campus bus as it rode me back to my dorm room.
I leaned my head against the window, trying to tune the world out.
However, I couldn't help but overhear two girls behind me, laughing and discussing their day.
"I'm so stressed out. I have so much homework this week. It's unbelievable," said one of them.
"I know, same here. It just never seems to end. I honestly just want to kill myself," responded the other.
She went on to say more.
"I'm just going write that in my planner! Friday: kill self," she added.
More laughter followed.
Thankfully, it was my time to get off of the bus.
I swiftly left my seat, told the driver to have a good night and stepped off.
Even after the bus sped away, I couldn't get the girl's voice out of my head.
“I honestly just want to kill myself.”
It rang in my ears over and over again.
Did she honestly want to end her life?
Or was she like the majority of other students who were just incredibly stressed out about homework?
College is tough, and it’s certainly not for everyone.
You have to be an amazing multitasker and balance homework, extracurricular activities, friends, relationships and sometimes even a part-time job.
They're all huge responsibilities.
It can certainly become very overwhelming at times.
Sometimes, you’re so mentally and physically exhausted from everything on your plate that it might seem easier to be dead.
In fact, research done by the American Psychological Association shows Millennials are the most stressed generation to date.
So, when we vent to our friends about that huge exam coming up and all of the essays we have due, it’s really easy to say, “I just want to kill myself.”
It’s just something we don’t think about when we say it.
We’re so stressed out that killing ourselves always seems to be the way out of it.
It’s usually said in a joking, exasperated manner, and laughter usually follows.
Suicide, however, isn’t a laughing matter.
We should think about it before we say it.
I almost lost a family member to suicide.
Before this happened, I was also guilty of saying things like, "I want to kill myself" when I was stressed out simply because I didn’t realize the impact of my words.
I didn’t realize what it actually was like to almost have someone you love taken away from you so quickly.
In my case, thankfully, the suicide was not successful.
There are so many others, however, who actually experience the pain of losing someone to suicide.
For them, the pain is all too real.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there were 41,149 reported suicides in 2013.
That doesn’t even count all of the attempts.
The AFSP website states:
After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) reports that every 13 minutes, someone commits suicide in the United States.
Unfortunately, for us Millennials, suicide is far too common.
According to SAVE, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Suicide may be a result of depression, something many Millennials also struggle with.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, however, only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression actually receive treatment.
After looking at all of those horrifying facts, why is suicide something we casually throw around when we are stressed out?
Why is it our automatic go-to when we’re overwhelmed?
People who attempt or commit suicide do so because they are in the darkest place they’ve ever been, and they just don’t think they can handle it any longer.
They end their lives too early because they believe they’re a burden to everyone around them and that they’re not good enough.
They feel completely hopeless and trapped, and death seems like a way to escape everything that’s wrong.
To people who are suicidal, there’s no point in living anymore.
They lose interest in everything they once loved.
For them, anything could be better than the lives they are living right now.
In their eyes, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. They believe life won’t ever get any better.
I think back to that girl on the bus and some of my friends talking about wanting to kill themselves over homework, and it makes me sick.
With so many things to balance, I’ve never been so mentally exhausted before.
College will really test your mental strength.
It's been the most stressful time of my life, but I know the reality of the joke they're telling.
After experiencing what depression and suicide can really do to a person and a family, I realize none of my stress is worth ending my life.
And it’s definitely not worth joking about.
Suicide is not a joke.
Losing someone to suicide is not something you easily get over or forget about.
You’re surrounded with this constant guilt, wondering what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.
Maybe, if you would have talked to the person more or said just the right things, he or she wouldn’t have felt so hopeless and trapped.
You begin to question if your love was ever enough.
You wonder why you couldn’t rescue the person from the dark place he or she wished so badly to escape.
Death isn’t something that can be undone.
Please, next time you have what seems like one billion assignments due, and you feel like saying you want to kill yourself, remember what you are truly implying.
You’re implying you want to leave all of your loved ones.
You’re implying you want to stop waking up every morning and seeing the sunlight.
Every time I hear someone say it, awful memories rush back to me, and it makes me cringe.
I understand college is hard, but is it worth ending your life over?
If you hate your major and the work you have to do along with it, change your major.
Clearly, it’s not for you.
College is supposed to help you get to where you want to be in life; it’s not supposed to be easy.
Success cannot be achieved without hard work.
Please, don’t say you want to kill yourself unless you mean it.
And if you do mean it, there is help and hope for you out there.
You are not alone, and things are not hopeless.
Talk to someone.
Despite what you may think, someone cares about you and wants to help you.
If you, a family member or a friend is feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).