Prevention & Awareness

#ReasonsISpeak: In the Hope of Helping Others

This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here

Like Pablo’s story? You can bring him to your campus to speak about mental health. Learn more here.
Pablopic4I’m reminded of the #ReasonsISpeak on a daily basis. My recovery requires it. I didn’t ask to go through what I went through, but I am doing my best to make the most of it now.

Having kept quiet for so long about my attempt, addiction, and recovery while also having screamed incoherent pleas at the world, I have finally found myself in a position to help others.
I share my story because I feel like I owe it to everyone who suffers quietly, for those that do not find themselves in a position to speak and those who need hope in their lives. I have felt the isolation of depression and addiction. I speak in hopes of helping others through that feeling of isolation. I want everyone to know they are not alone in this, and that recovery and healing really truly is possible.

I also hope to raise awareness by speaking up, so that my message can help inspire both those who suffer and those who don’t. We are all together in the movement to change the conversation about mental health, reduce stigma, encourage help seeking and prevent suicide.
I never expected to find myself in a position to speak up regarding my story. I found my opportunity through attending the Active Minds National Conference at the University of Maryland in 2014 and participating in the Leadership Through Storytelling seminar hoping that it would help me be a better chapter president. I wanted to find a healthy way to share my story.
Next thing I knew, I began realizing that despite the fact that my story seemed so basic and unfortunate to me, my message of hope and recovery resonated with others through my seven years clean and constant efforts put into my healing.
I was told that, “Happy endings in this field are few and far between. Your message of hope can make a difference, even if it only helps a handful of people.” I took it to heart and did my best to not discount what I had been through because despite how unexciting our own stories may feel to us, they may very well strike a heartstring in someone else.

Our messages may vary and our stories are undoubtedly unique, but when our voices come together with a common purpose, we are all connected and are stronger for it. For every person that we can help inspire, for every person that we can encourage to make a difference, and for every breath we spend on helping another, hope will resonate and the world will be a better place.