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