My Mom & Art Saved My Life From Suicide
When I was 16, I wrote my first suicide letter besides leaving it for my mother in a more private manner. I posted it on Facebook for my whole family and world to take it in. I felt hopeless. I felt like I wasn’t meant for this life. I wanted help, but I didn’t know what helped looked like. I felt lost….
Excerpt from Oct 7th, 2015 Letter:
"I shut the world out of my life, and every second, I live a miserable life. I wish every day I died in my sleep or that I died and be away from this pain. I’m still here because God keeps me here alive. God made me look like a monster. I don’t know why. I wake up every day feeling like shit and knowing that everyone hates me. The world hates me. I go to school everyday being hated and judged, and it’s torture. Being me sucks. I’m gonna look like this and be discriminated against for the rest of my life forever. I am alone in this world. I’m all alone, and I’m in this by myself and on my own."
I questioned myself, God, society, and I felt like there was no place I belonged. I told my mother I was a burden to her and myself because of my face and the constant surgeries. I was being bullied in high school and bullied by everyday bystanders in public. I just couldn’t handle the pressure anymore; it was all too much for me. I didn’t have any plan for my death, but I knew that I was gonna disappear and never appear again.
Excerpt from Oct 7th, 2015 Letter.
"I don’t want to be under my mom forever. I’m Joshua I have a life of my own and I should be on my own besides being protected wherever I go. I get so many evil looks a day I just want to die and don’t regret anything. I’m scared of growing up and not Living my dreams or having kids. If I ever have kids they gonna be scared of me once they get about 2yrs old and older cause of the way I Look I don’t want to put them or me in that pain."
I was scared, I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to deal with that pain anymore. I would sit in the back of each class in high school, wearing a hoodie, hood up over my head, with my head always facing downward. Hoping people forgot I existed, I avoided almost all social events and ate most lunches in the nurse’s office to be free of judgment.
To be this kid who had surgeries. Who struggled with breathing and having a “normal” life. Who was bullied by people that he trusted, like his father. Who decided to leave my family during the same period as that letter. My father tortured my mom and me mentally, spiritually, and sometimes physically; it tore us down, and it made me feel like it was all of my fault.
I would create photoshop art in my room at night, in the corner of my room on the floor with my favorite red and black Bluetooth headphones, sometimes listening to Never Be Alone By Shawn Mendes or Life is Worth Living By Justin Bieber. Those headphones would somewhat block out the noise of my parents arguing or my dad belittling me through the walls. Creating art in that manner was magical. I felt like I had this tiny bubble of protection.
Like, I had made this world where I could cry, scream, heal, be angry, be happy, to feel purposeful. A place I felt heard and belonged to.
I kept my digital art secret for months because it kept me from my thoughts of committing suicide.
My mother was a hardworking woman, and she didn’t know about me publicly posting my letter until days later. I remember she ran into my room at 3Am crying and asking me,
“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU FELT THIS WAY?” “SPEAK TO ME, JOSHUA. I WILL NOT LET YOU FEEL THIS ALONE.”
I just sat there, crying, screaming.
“I don’t want this life anymore, ma”
She just gave me a hug,
“I’m sorry for not being there, I’m here now, and I want to help you or take you to go talk with someone that can help you. I know your life is so hard, baby boy, I’m sorry, and I wish I could take that pain from you. Don’t do it; God gave you a purpose.”
- My mother that night.
She forced me to counsel the very next week. It was hard at first as I wouldn’t open up to the counselor.
I told her I was broken and permanently damaged.
I sat there mostly in silence in the first session as my mom confessed my entire life to this woman. She even shared my letter with her. This stranger truly cared about me and wanted me to reach out my hand for help when I was ready.
The second meeting was a 1on1 session without my mom being present. The counselor said nothing but started by giving me a hug.
“It’s ok. I see you’re hurting. We are thankful to have you here with us, and we want the best for you.”
I cried my ass off for at least 10 minutes straight. That hug broke me down and opened my wounds. I began talking about it, and she listened to me without judgment. Assured me that I was safe.
After almost 2 years of seeing her, I learned about the power of affirmations, art therapy, deep breathing meditations, causes of my C-PTSD and possible ways to cope with the triggers, anger management, how to check in daily with my own mental wellness, and so many more helpful resources I carry with my today precisely 6 years later from where I started.
I’m not perfect; I still struggle with depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, and suicidal thoughts, but identifying them and actively learning how to cope with them makes life fulfilling for me. It makes me excited, to be here everyday.
I take it one day at a time and establishing small daily goals that feels just as powerful as big goals.
I would’ve never thought I would’ve lived to see 22.
If I could talk to younger Josh, I would tell him.
I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart for all the pain and suffering you feel. I need you to know that your life is meaningful and deserve a place in this world. Your life is worth fighting for; just take it one day at a time. It’s OK to cry; it’s normal to have mixed emotions. It’s OK to be upset.
you’re not alone.
Yes, your experiences are so unique that they set you apart from everyone else but don’t compare yourself to others.
Talking about your pain is one of the first steps towards healing.
Your feeling of isolation and sadness is not something you should fight alone.
Help is available
and it’s worth every teardrop associated with it.
I love you, and you are loved.
Oh Wait before I forget.
IT’S OK TO BE DIFFERENT TO BE HUMAN IN YOUR WAY ASIDE FROM SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS
Rick Heinrich said:
Joshua, first off I want to say I Love You, I follow you on Tik Tok. I am 65 my dad left when I was 7 and I also was broken more than I knew. The target of the neighborhood, last one picked, sexually abused at young age twisted into wrong thinking around predators. Jesus found me at 25 and picked me up to be a blessing in many lives. I was still damaged, full of wrong thinking a work in progress. It has been recently that I was able to forgive my Dad and have a healing with him. I understand being broken, thinking you fit no where, I have felt that way the majority of my life. I an homeless now, job went away, family rejected me and I am disabled now in a room in Hollywood and finally at peace. Weird I am in the worst place I have been my whole life and know “All Is Well”. I am looking at this world around me and it breaks my heart all these broken lives. I pray a lot, being in the presence of the LORD is my safety, my secret place where the pain even goes away as I am in His presence. I just wanted to send this note to you because you encourage me. I Love You Joshua, I am here for you for what that is worth. Big Hug and a kiss on the neck.
February 12, 2023
Augustina Elizabeth said:
As I sit here, trying to motivate myself to get ready to go to bed, tears running down my face after reading your story; I remember all the times when I was a child being bullied.
All the times I was told by adults and my peers I wasn’t good enough. I was too different, too “dramatic” , too sensitive, ugly, fat, gross, dumb…endless ridicule. We had a yearly health day where they measured and weighed us. I’ll never forget the year that almost my entire class surrounded me on the playground chanting whale.
The stings of the rejection and insults from the girls at school still creep up on me sometimes, filling me with shame and fear. I still feel the weight of the books in his backpack when a particular boy in my class would beat up daily after school, and although the other boys were not physically abusive, they were hurtful in other ways. And these bullies, these cruel creatures were the popular kids. They were the teachers pets and the “cool” kids that everybody wanted to be friends with. But to me they were horrendously mean and predatory. I wished somebody would stand up for me, or help me, but no one did. The teachers turned a blind eye, and in retrospect the other kids in my class were probably just happy they weren’t the targets. I spent many, MANY recesses grading papers for the first and second grade teachers just so I wouldn’t have to endure being alone on the playground. (I attended a 1st-8th private school) and by the 8th grade I would just skip school all together just so that I didn’t have to be there and suffer. I believe for school in the morning and then I would go to the library and lose myself in books or I would sneak back into the house and listen to music all day.
I never told my mom what I was going through. She was a single mom and she worked so hard to give us a good life. I didn’t want to worry her and I didn’t want to burden, so I kept everything to myself. There were nights when I just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, just so that I didn’t have to go to school in the morning and face all of it again. And all of this was just between the ages of 8 and 12. High school was an entirely different, yet just as painful, experience. Looking back I know now that some of my experience in high school was the result of the trauma that I experienced in grade school. And some of it was just because there were people around that took pleasure in being cruel and/or were so insecure with themselves that they had to find somebody else to put down to make themselves feel better. But that knowledge is in hindsight, at the time I just felt like I didn’t belong and I didn’t deserve to exist.
It’s funny, those wounds stay with you…at any moment you can be transported back to those feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and self-loathing.
My own struggle with PTSD, eating disorders and depression has been a journey. It’s not easy to learn to be mindful, to learn to be aware and to process your emotions and feelings, so that you can move through them. It takes a lot of work and sometimes all you can do is breathe moment to moment. I am eternally grateful for my therapist, I have a great deal of gratitude for him. I am in awe of the compassion and care that good therapists extend to their patients.
It is an act of bravery and sheer audacity to thrive after enduring so much ugliness. And it takes courage to tell people that you’re hurting, and to be honest with yourself and others about how you’re feeling.
It takes a special kind of strength to tell your mom, whom you want to protect, about something that she couldn’t protect you from. It’s one of the hardest things you can do and I am so glad that you did that night. I am so glad that your mom encouraged you and supported you in therapy. I can’t believe that you’re 22 and you’ve launched an entire business, helping others in the process. It’s incredibly impressive and I admire you.
I guess in this long-winded comment section what I really want to communicate is that you are not alone, anyone suffering who may be reading this, especially if you’re a kid and you’re feeling hopeless, know that there are people that came before you who had similar experiences. And we’re here living, creating, taking up space and embracing our worthiness.
You are not alone and you are loved! Even if you have to tell yourself that in the mirror because there’s no one around to talk to, say that to yourself in the mirror because it is the truth! By saying it out loud you’re connecting with all of us and we are all supporting each other.
And Josh, thank you for opening your heart and creating this space and these products. I am rooting for you💞
May 14, 2022
Milton McCants said:
Hello, Joshua my name is Milton and I took the time to read your story, and I would like to tell you that I am so proud of you, and I also know that life can be hard and seems unfair, but I want you to know that anything that you are going through in life just remember that that spot that you’re in at that moment is not your final destination, you are only there to gain the strength that you’ll need to carry you through your next journey in life, and I don’t know your religious beliefs but me having a relationship with the Most High God, know that He haven’t brought you thus far to leave you, you you are here and you have a testimony that a lot of people won’t understand but it’s so inspiring to see the strength that you have to carry on each day regardless of the scars that you bear, and I know first hand that it’s never easy to be or have been bullied, but I can guarantee you one thing the person that was doing the bullying was only bullying you so that no one would notice their shortcomings, and they were struggling with something themselves and didn’t know how to reach out for help so instead they would point out your scars while hiding theirs and in the end you will be stronger than them because you are doing the work and getting stronger with each obstacle you overcome , you just don’t realize what a beacon of light that you are to the world because you are concentrating on the scars that are visible while overlooking the beauty that you possess inside, you probably will never know the amount of people that you’re helping but one day you will because God is not going to build you up just to tear you down so you should start preparing yourself for the position that God has for you and the places that He’s going to carry you and believe me when I say this God has created someone just for you and when you have kids they’ll only know you for the love and protection that you give them not your scars, feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to talk stay blessed and keep your head up KING
March 28, 2022
You are beautiful on the inside and that’s what counts. God does has a purpose for you. You will find love that is genuine. Many of us think we have found true love until a tragedy happens and we soon find those that are truly there for us. Please message me if there is anything I can do to support you.
March 09, 2022
Kimberly Rounds said:
You’re so awesome and amazing that you’re helping the whole world with your story and your love you have keep your head up and keep helping doing God work your are so amazing love you Mom !!❤❤❤
February 03, 2022
Byron Morrow said:
February 03, 2022
i’m so happy you’re in this world, stay in it for as long as humanly possible
February 03, 2022