By Cathy Shan (‘23)
Note from the Editors-in-Chief: This article talks about suicide and other themes that may be distressing to some readers. If you are currently in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1 (800) 273-8255 or 911 during an emergency.
We are all sailing in rowboats, drifting in the vast and endless ocean. On some days, the sea is serene, and the rowboat is peacefully floating on the surface of the water, the waves gently cradling the boat as you look up into the bright blue sky. However, on other days, the ocean is a monstrous beast, the waves crashing into your rowboat as you get tossed around, watching as the waves engulf you. With one enormous wave, your boat is overturned, throwing you into the inky black depths of the ocean. You flail helplessly in the water, desperately trying to swim back to the surface. But the waves keep pushing you further and further down into the depths until the last trace of the stormy sky disappears from your view.
But even as you’re drowning, you tell others, “I’m fine,” with a smile on your face. But in reality, you’ve been underwater for days, weeks, possibly even months or years, desperately trying to swim up to the surface of the water, the darkness suffocating you more than the water itself. ‘They wouldn’t understand what I’m going through,” you think. ‘It’s better not to bother them with my issues.’. So you don’t tell someone your struggles, assuming that you can solve them on your own. Finally, when the suffocation is too much to bear, you wonder if giving up is more manageable than reaching the surface; if the pain will end once you finally let yourself go.
In our lives, we don’t always see these people drowning until it’s too late. But it only takes one person to start pulling you out of the water and into the warmth of the sun. If you see someone who may be struggling or having a hard time, supporting and helping them receive the help they need can make a huge difference. On the other hand, during times of hopelessness, even though it might be scary and nerve-wracking, reaching out to people you trust can help you receive the treatment you need. But no matter how difficult or hopeless it may seem, things will get better. Someday, you will reach the surface of the water, where the ocean will be serene once again.