You cannot understand suicide unless you have tried it yourself. So many people have so many negative thoughts around the recent death by suicide of Karyn Washington, the founder of For Brown Girls. Many hate what they do not understand. It broke my heart to hear about someone so young taking her own life. It impacted me deeply because I too wanted to take my own life at 24. It is by God’s grace I am able to be here to discuss the pain of this topic.

Suicide is not a cowardice decision; it is met with an immense amount of overwhelming depression and sadness. Many have judged Ms. Washington without knowing her personal struggle. You hurt so much that you just want the pain to stop. It is in that moment that ending your life seems the only viable option.

I, too, felt intense emotions that were too heavy to bear. It led me to make an attempt at ending my life. In that moment I needed someone else to hurt the way I was hurting inside. I thought ending my life would do that for me. I was in a desperate situation. I was struggling with bipolar disorder. The emotions were drowning me in a sea of uncontrollable and unrelenting feelings of despair and despondency.

People you do not understand how hard it is to put on a brave face when you are out of control within. You cannot understand suicide if you never tried it. I was 24 when I attempted suicide. I was in a downward spiral. I refused to believe I had a problem. But one night in 2004 I decided the hurting had to stop.

Thankfully, divine intervention stepped in and saved me from an impending doom. It saved me from leaving an ominous legacy for my family. I sought out a therapist and started taking psych meds. It took a while to adjust to the fact that I will be taking psych meds for the duration of my life. It has been a long and arduous road dealing with bipolar disorder. Sometimes I am uncontrollably happy (manic) and other times incredibly sad (depressed).

The psych meds I take and coping skills I use are vital necessities in my survival kit. I have been in and out of the rooms of outpatient programs for years and have seen a vast array of psychologists. Now I can proudly say I am happy with my treatment plan and refuse to be stereotyped by my illness. I have bipolar disorder it does not have me.

I also want to touch on how therapy and healthy coping skills really work. A therapist is a great ally to have. He/she are not the enemies always remember that. If you both have common goals in your treatment plan you will succeed in your personal battle with mental illness.

We in the black community have to stop stifling our own cries for help, just prayer or ignorance will not help. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Have you or someone you know attempted suicide? How did it make you feel? What did you learn from it? Share your thoughts below.