Growing up I have never dealt with serious depression or self harm, but my friends and peers did. Some of my friends were depressed and/ or self harmed and I couldn't understand why. Why would someone want to hurt themselves?
All my life I have been a people pleaser and I try to make everyone feel loved and welcome. Until high school came. I dealt with things I never thought I would deal with in my life. High school is hard, it really is. It is stressful, and there is a ton of pressure to succeed. In December of my freshman year, there was a suicide at my school. It was devastating. I was crushed.
My friends and I were overwhelmed with grief. It was a terrible feeling...a feeling I didn't know I could feel.
Later on during my freshman year, there was another suicide. The student was my friend. It hurt me to hear about it. It's a feeling I could never get used to. It was the most terrible thing to experience.
Then, during my sophomore year of High school, I lost a dear friend, Noah. This hit me the hardest. I couldn't breathe or think or function. This couldn't be him. They had to be wrong. I saw him yesterday and he was fine. That's what I was thinking.. I spent Noah's last day with him. We talked and laughed. I couldn't have been more shocked when I heard about his death. When we talked, he smiled and said he is okay. He reassured me so I wouldn't worry. Everything was okay. I loved Noah. He was a very dear friend to me. I am still devasated to think about him. And I am most definitely not over grieving for him. I was angry and sad and happy. Most of all, I would give anything to see him smile again.
As a young teenager I had been to over 4 funerals for the deaths of my friends. No teenager should ever have to experience that.
I was tired of hearing about suicide in my community. I felt helpless and angry. I didn't know what to do to help make it stop, until Project Reasons reached out to me and invited me to be a board member. I want to help. I want to erase the stigma around mental health and suicide. I want people to know it is okay to not be okay. I want people to know they can get help. I want people to want to live.
My name is Ashlynn, and I am a Reason.
I am involved in this extraordinary project because I have lost two of my best friends to suicide, and with the recent epidemic; I needed to put a stop to it, but I had no idea how. Finally the founder of Project Reasons kindly asked me to join the organization. When she asked I was more than willing to join, because this is exactly what I wanted to do, help others, and now I have the honorable privilege to do so. I strongly believe in this organization, because it gives me a chance to prevent any more suicides. I do not want anyone else to go through the feeling I have been through losing my two best friends, and I want to end suicide forever. My name is Matt Doole and this is my Reason.
I wanted to join this group of students because I lost my best friend to suicide, and I want to be a part of the movement in the effort to end suicide. I felt I could contribute to this project because I know what it is like to be alone and to feel lost and hopeless. I want to be there for those who are are looking for strength. I want to be the hand that is extended to those who need it, and I never want anyone to feel the terrible pain of depression and loss alone and without the tools they need to get better. The project can change this world for the better, and if we can save at least one life from suicide our goal is met. I am so blessed to be apart of such a whole-hearted project, this is my story, and this is my Reason.
Throughout middle school, I experienced insecurity and loneliness. I felt invisible in the crowd of cliques and would often eat lunch with my teachers. I would come home from school, look in the mirror, and always find something to criticize. These behaviors ate away at me, making me feel worthless. Thankfully, change came towards the end of 8th grade when I started Taekwondo. Taekwondo gave me a purpose in the world and taught me the value of confidence. I learned to connect with others by first connecting with myself. Since then, I have become a captain of my taekwondo demonstration team and opened a photography business, both through which I strive to inspire positive change in people’s lives.
I was scared; scared of the dark, scared of my own shadow, but more importantly, scared to speak out. Living in a state of constant fear and worry messed with my head. It changed who I was and shaped the mask I lived out of. As a child and even up into my early teen years, I was far too fearful to do much of anything that was not in my comfort zone. In order to cope with my fear and anxiety, I only stayed in that comfort zone. I never took risks no matter what the reward. It wasn’t until I found a real best friend and mentor that I began to experience a radical change in my character and personality. (I speak as if this were ages ago, but in reality it was only up until I was 14 where I met them). Through their loving and encouraging support (and a couple years time), I found a way out of my fear and anxiety as well as the deep depression I had slumped into. It took courage, bravery, and much coercing for me to come out of my shell-- and it wasn’t without a fair share of pain.
One thing I’ve always had a passion for doing, however, is helping people and being an open ear to listen. Once in middle school, I was (and still am) absolutely fascinated with my friend’s stories. I would (and still do) listen for hours on end to my friend’s stories. In 7th grade, I had my first “run in” with self harm and suicide. I had never heard much on the topic and knew even less on how to deal with both my friends struggling with that and the hardship of watching friends I cared about go through suicide and self harm. That feeling of helplessness was a terrible one that I will never forget. I have never been a self harmer nor suicidal and can never attest to the feeling of being in such a place. However, the feelings I have are still vital and just as important. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of more than just the people in my direct circles of influence. Project Reasons has been a way of helping people and reaching out to them to let them know that they are not alone in this battle. But, not only are they not alone, they’re also here on Earth for a reason. Despite the current struggle, suicide and self harm is not the answer. We all have reasons to live, but sometimes those reasons might not be as apparent as they are to others. I hope that through Project Reasons, we can help those struggling find a reason to stay alive another day, everyday.
For the longest time I lived for others' approval. As a child I was abused. I was punished for the simplest mistakes and would live in a constant state of fear. Because of that I would try to look for acceptance from anyone and everyone through lies and false stories in fear that my personal thoughts and opinions wouldn’t be good enough. My developed insecurities and fears grew and I felt insignificant. I felt like my life wasn’t important.
It was in High School where I needed to look for help. I would eat with my teachers and my counselors, seeking guidance. I knew there were thousands of people who felt the same way I did. I realized that I need to approve of myself. I learned to help find value in my life by trying to help others and try to be an advocate of hope to the those who are depressed and suicidal. It was a step forward to the path of becoming a better person. Since my freshman year, nearly 10 suicides have happened within my school. At DCC, hundreds of students have fallen into a feeling of hopelessness. I see people who no longer find value in their own lives because of these tragedies. I want to help find value in everyone’s life and show how amazing everyone is. Never should someone feel like their life is worthless. That is why I chose to help be a Reason.
I have helped a lot of close friends that are dealing with personal problems that affect their mental health, and I believe that no one should ever feel those types of feelings. One of my very close friends was dealing with a lot of depression, I sometimes stayed up late texting them about how they are great and amazing and aren't just completely nothing. My school, is a very tough and strict school, so there is a lot of stress and depression throughout the Junior High and High School. I want to include and spread the word of Project Reasons throughout my school to help lots of young lives with the problems that they are too scared to bring up to adults or teachers because sometimes they just need someone their age to relate to. The experiences with these people impacted me by wanting to do something about and not just push those people to the side who need help and support to feel better about themselves and realize that they have many reasons to live and be happy with themselves. I feel like Project Reasons could do just that for lots of needy young kids in my community and even spread to more schools and people to help save more lives.