Content warning: self-harm, suicidal thoughts
I am writing this letter to express my experiences with suicidal thoughts. During 6th
grade, I realized how different I was from other people. I did not share interests with anybody else in the class. All the boys just wanted to talk about sports and girls, while the girls wanted to talk about boys. I, on the other hand, wanted to talk about movies and traditional “nerdy” stuff like comic books, but I was usually looked at funny when I did try to talk about these things.
Furthermore, it seemed like I thought differently than everybody else, though I could not, at the time, describe exactly how or why, which was extremely frustrating and isolating. As a result of my different interests and nature, I was not really asked to go out with others, and, when I was, it felt like an act of charity by the other kids or their parents. My parents themselves were going through a rough period, and my brother was, as well. Around mid-7th grade, I was walking with my “buddy”—we had to take 1st graders with us to Church—and he was the only one that would not stop crying. I told him that if he stopped crying, he would not have to see me again, and he immediately calmed down.
This event, combined with all the other built-up frustration and isolation, and the realization that I would always be vastly different from other people, made me decide that once I arrived at home, I would get my Dad’s gun and shoot myself. Obviously, I did not do it, mostly out of stubbornness and fear.
These feelings would not stop until 8th grade, when I decided that I could not live this way anymore. I got really into bodyweight exercises and running, which actually did help me to feel better about myself and to live less in my head. The feelings of being different and frustration remained throughout high school, but I also joined many extracurricular activities and found purpose in theater. It would not be until my Senior year that the suicidal thoughts came back, mainly due to the intense isolation of the pandemic, Zoom school being insufferable, and the immense pressure of college applications.
These feelings have honestly unfortunately been off-and-on since this time period,
mainly due to getting accepted into and attending the University of Pennsylvania. Ivy Leagues are depressing. With the majority of students obsessing over internships and what you major in and what your future plans are, it can be really hard to be okay. Until this semester, I was not okay at all, and I came close to committing suicide. But, once again, I decided that I could not live like this, and I joined theater at UPenn and applied to jobs, internships, and courses that I actually wanted rather than the ones expected of me as a student.
In reflection, the best way for me to deal with suicidal thoughts has been to actively choose to be my best self and not focus on catering to others. Only by following my own interests and accepting that I am different and that is not in itself a good or bad thing, have I been able to overcome these feelings. It is still hard, having to actively use my energy to choose myself and to love myself, but it really has been the best strategy for me. So, for anyone struggling with feeling like an alien on a foreign planet, I advise that you look inward at what your own idea of your best life or best actions are and then use your energy to actively make the choice to do those things.