For this past school year I have taken a class called Global Issues and Community Leadership. The goal of the class is to educate us on issues surrounding the greater local & global community and then later to pick a project we a passionate about and raise awareness or funding for that issue. I chose suicide awareness. These photos are meant to shed light on the mentality of someone who is mentally ill, as so often people don’t understand mental illness> It is a disease just like cancer, that unlike cancer, the victim is not celebrated for fighting the disease, but often the disease is ignored, or they are isolated and misunderstood, treating it not as an illness but something the person can just ignore, or are bringing upon themselves. My photos hang in a local coffee shop called Monarch Mountain Coffee, and I read this poem, and introduced my photographs at a poetry reading. The photos, which hang in the back left hand corner will be up until June and I hope to educate at least one person on the atrocities of mental illness. If even one person becomes educated, then my project was a success. I have a brochure that goes along with this project but unfortunately I can not uploaded it to the blog.
Depression is a silent killer
I am fifteen
I am not supposed to be this tired
I’m not supposed to crave the dark
It’s become easier to lie not harder
My toes and the tips of my fingers are getting numb
People begin to stop calling
The screaming fights starts to become more frequent
I am sixteen
I am not supposed to be this exhausted
I am not supposed to have panic attacks and nightmares
I take every advanced class there is
But my stomach hurts every time papers are passed back
every essay takes everything to write
my worth is determined by the numbers on a transcript
I am seventeen
I am not supposed to cry myself to sleep
I am not supposed to survive off of little white pills and black coffee
There is nothing wrong and everything wrong at the same time
I am not supposed to pass out in class
I’m not supposed to stop eating and throw up food
in a stomach that hasn’t seen it for weeks.
I am eighteen
I am not supposed to stay up half the night
and lie about the sleep I’m getting
and the food I’m eating.
My clothes have become loose
My hair is falling out
At practice I’m the last one to leave
not out of dedication or motivation
but because I’ve started to enjoy the burn in my lungs
when there isn’t enough oxygen
I am nineteen
I am not supposed to pull the trigger that’s been cocked for
the past four years
but it’s warm and dark on the other side
and I am so tired
and it’s so much quicker than packs of cigs and can after can of beer
so I do the very thing so many people avoid even talking about
I am nineteen and I never will make it to twenty.
My dog will never understand why I stopped coming home
why the door to my room is always shut.
My roommate will stare blankly at the wall
going over our conversations
My parents and friends will try and ignore
the hole I have created
I was nineteen
I never made it to twenty
I will stare up behind closed eyelids
dressed so beautifully
at pale men and women in black clothing
only wore for death
and they will wonder
in hushed voices why I did it.
Suicide Is Never The Answer
Kelly Curtis has discovered throughout her young life
that suicide and mental illness affects many people,
but that often it’s a white elephant in the room.
This project’s purpose is to shed light on the mentality of
someone who is suicidal or who has a mental illness,
to help start a conversation of a noticed but unspoken topic.
“For too long we have swept the problems of
mental illness under the carpet… and hoped that they would go away.”
-Richard J Codey
Make sure your life doesn’t flash through your eyes
until you have actually lived.
Suicide is a tragic loss of life that can always be prevented.
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
It can be easy for suicidal people to abuse drugs,
alcohol or to find firearms. Always be sure to note
if medicine goes missing, or to lock and keep potentially
harmful objects away from anyone who may be at risk.
When someone is suffering from a mental illness
the days blur together endlessly. Extremely simple
things to you or I become difficult to even manage.
Suicide is a cry for help, when someone
says nothing is wrong, or is showing
obvious signs of suicidal thoughts, or actions
listen to the signs and help them.
LGBT youth and young adults are some of the rising numbers
in homeless people in the United States, and they also are some of
the top groups who are at risk for mental illness and suicide.
The Pressure To Be Perfect
There always is outside pressure to be your best,
however the rising trend in suicide of “Alpha Girls” or
“Alpha Boys,” shows that too much pressure to be the best can end fatally.
Everyone Has A Mask
Often people who are suffering from mental illnesses
become experts at hiding it. If we don’t look carefully,
and make sure that everyone is ok, we won’t notice until it’s too late.
The Cyber Reality
Cyberbullying has been a reality since chat rooms.
It is a stark reality to many people, because of
the anonymous quality of the Internet.
Cyberbullying is still a huge issue, and in many cases,
people under extreme bullying committed suicide.
The Virgin Suicides
Inspired by the book, and film by the same name,
The Virgin Suicides, is a cult classic example
of the romanticism of mental illness.
The Romantic Age
Romanticism of mental illness is one
of the taboos that surrounds the discussion of it.
Mental illness is not a romantic battle;
it is a war against the person’s own mind.
When walking up and falling asleep become equally
terrifying and mind numbing the battle is almost lost.
Notice the signs of someone crumbling, and you could potentially save a life.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide.
In 2013 the US alone lost 41,149 people to suicide.
We will never stop suicide until we understand what’s behind it.