Today was a rough day.
Sometimes they all feel like rough days..... but then something comes along that puts all the other PITA stuffs into perspective.
I have students whose parents are alcoholics. Girls who have babies. Girls who have elected to not have their babies. Boys who are pushing themselves to their breaking point physically for athletic dreams. Students with sick parents. Students who are sick themselves. Drugs and alcohol are not uncommon for any and every group.
There is hurt everywhere. And it's so hard to not feel that hurt.
But this week, a boy in a neighboring district reached his breaking point and chose to take his own life rather than continue being bullied. A tenth grade girl in my caseload was in the same vo-tech shop as he was - and she came to me in tears today.
I sat there, watching her heart break.... my heart breaking right along with her. I didn't know this young man.... I barely knew the girl sitting before me.... and yet, I did know him.... and I did know her.
And the next thing I knew, I was crying too.
I was crying for her. I was crying for him. I was crying for his family. I was crying for every person who has ever felt like their only solution was a permanent solution. But I was crying for myself as well. I was crying for that dark place.... that dark place that some don't ever escape.
It's so hard. The darkness. You can't see anything. Not even yourself. And it's silent, that darkness. Silent and oppressive. You don't speak out because you think no one is there in the darkness to hear you - you would hear them if they were, right? But you hear no one in the darkness. You are alone. Utterly and completely alone in the silent darkness. You don't reach out - who would be there to take your hand? You are alone. Drowning in the darkness. Silent in your suffering. Unable to see. Unable to speak. Eventually, unable to feel.
I've been there, in that darkness. It's a sad place, but it's eventually not even a scary place.... because, no matter how sensory deprived.... it becomes.... familiar. But I've also seen the gaping hole that has been left in others' lives when someone has decided that they are unable to escape that darkness. When you're in that darkness? You don't understand the void that your death would mean for others. That, for someone else, you may be taking away their light. Light you couldn't even see yourself.
If you find yourself in that darkness, reach out your hand.... call out for help.... and when others hear your cries, they will reach out as well, from their spot in the dark.... and as we are all reaching out, we will all realize that none of us are ever truly alone in that darkness. No one needs to suffer in silence. No one needs to feel alone.
And no matter what the circumstances? No problem is so permanent that it requires a permanent solution. Problems are temporary. Love is abundant. Help is out there.
You are loved.
You would be missed.
Please reach out your hand.
You are not alone.