Hey you.

Hey you. Yeah, you. You’re pretty wonderful. Maybe you haven’t heard that lately, but you are. You are smart, beautiful, capable, and most importantly, strong. Do you know how amazing you are?

Maybe the words you hear every day are cruel. They might come from crowded hallways or from behind a keyboard. Sometimes they get so loud, so incessant, they’re hard to ignore. Sometimes they build up so much that you feel trapped beneath their weight. They push you down, forcing you to bend to their will and believe in them.

Maybe those words come from your own mind. Passing thoughts turn persistent until there’s no doubt that you’ll never escape that dark place. You conceal the pain behind a glued-together exterior, all the while yearning for an escape.

There is so much stigma around suicide. We don’t talk about mental illness. People still think if you can’t see something, it must not exist. Bullying is still brushed off by many as harmless. But that doesn’t make it any less real or any less painful.

Everything hurts. You feel broken, like you’re drowning in black waters and you just want it to end. Even breathing feels impossible: making the conscious decision to allow that air to rush into your lungs feels like more than you can possibly stand.

Worst of all, it feels like a terribly dirty secret. People might be able to see it on you, so you swallow it down deeper and let it grow. It grows and grows, until it bursts.

When you get to that point, just try to remember one thing. You’re worth it. You’re worth that next breath. You’re worth a tomorrow. You’re worth another chance. It might not feel like it, but you are. Even if you think no one cares, that’d they’d all be better off if you were gone – there will always be one person who cares and that’s all that matters. You care. You matter. You’re worth it.

All these things you’re feeling – they’re part of you. The anger and the pain, the hopelessness and the sorrow – they belong to you. Don’t let anyone diminish your experiences, your thoughts, or your feelings. It’s not going to be easy, but you are worth it.

You’re worth that next step. Whether it’s admitting to a friend, family member, teacher, doctor, or anyone that you are struggling or it’s calling a hotline like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

You’re worth helping. Take care of yourself. Reach out – people want to help. Don’t go it alone.

You’re worth the fight. Depression and suicidal thoughts are an every day struggle. Some days are harder than others. You have to choose to live every single day. I promise the choice is worth it.