No one "commits" suicide.

That's an outdated term.


People used to talk about suicide like it was a crime. Probably because it used to be. If someone attempted and survived, they were sentenced to an asylum where, in reality, their lives only got worse.


But suicide is not a crime. It's a tragedy, just the same as a murder or an accident. It's a cruel twist in life. The difference is that people still don't understand how someone could just...end their life.


November and December, 2016. A high school in Virginia reported two suicides in two month. One girl died just weeks after the first. They were good friends. And then they were gone.


I only knew one of them. Abby. A bubbly, bouncy, kind ray of sunshine, and a force to be reckoned with once a fencing foil was in her hands.She loved to play jokes, and make people laugh. She herself loved to laugh, and had a beautiful smile.

That was when I knew her. After I graduated, she was one of many friends left behind once I moved to New York. I still kept in touch with everyone I could, including Abby. But we only talked twice or thrice in the time between my graduation and her death. Neither of those times revealed any inner turmoil. The only clue I had was my best friend telling me that he was worried about her, especially after the first suicide. 

 Then, on a lonely December night, I got the news. A phone call from my friend. "Sky," he said. "Abby is dead."

 "No!" I exclaimed. "How?!"

 "How do you think?"

I stayed silent, not wanting to vocalize my fear.

"She killed herself, Sky. She's really gone."

He hung up soon after, as we'd been arguing earlier that day and the mood was still bad.


I sat on the couch of my dorm's living room, blankly staring at the TV.

I didn't cry immediately. I hated myself for that.

It wasn't until the show I'd been watching ended and I went into my room that I finally broke down.


In the days that followed, the mood surrounding me and all of my friends back home was low. Many of us had known Abby, whether as a friend or just a classmate. Two suicides in such a short time was hard for a school of over 2,000 teenagers to handle. And it was hard for me to handle losing a good friend. I suffered alone. I hadn't made many friends yet in school, and didn't really have anyone I wanted to turn to. Every day, I wished that I could talk to her, just one more time. 


Time does help with grief, though. I still kept moving forward, despite the tear in my heart. In March, I got a semicolon butterfly tattooed on my right wrist, in memory of Abby and as a reminder to myself as a recovering self harmer that someday, I'll fly, as long as I keep turning the pages, and don't destroy the words. 



 I'm sure you've heard the saying before: A suicide is like tossing a stone into a still pond. One moment, everything is perfect, but then we watch as the stone's impact tears that perfect image apart. And the ripples spread far.

A person does not commit suicide. They die by suicide. Something went wrong somewhere, and it kills them.

Maybe it was bullying. Maybe it was a chemical inbalance. Maybe it was grief. Maybe it was trauma. Maybe it was mental illness. Maybe, maybe, maybe, A million causes, but no matter what the cause, a suicide is not a crime. It is not something that a person commits, like a man may commit homicide.


A suicide is a tragedy. It leaves people behind who don't understand what has just happened, why it has just happened. It leaves confusion and grief as its aftermath. And sometimes, it just cannot be predicted. 


When talking about suicide, it would be more respectful to use the phrase "died by" rather than "committed". Suicide is a tragedy, and the victims deserve to have it be thought of and discussed as such. My friend Abby died by suicide, and I miss her every day. And in her memory, I have decided to stand tall and speak out about suicide and mental health.


To anyone who may be considering taking their own life, please reach out. There are people who love you and can help you, as hard as that may be to believe. All you have to do is SAY SOMETHING. That's it. And, of course, there's the National Suicide Hotline(1-800-273-8255). And to anyone who suspects that a loved one is considering suicide, please talk to them, and make sure they know that you care. 

Suicide is hard to talk about...but it needs to be addressed. The world has lost so many people to themselves. And I know that we can save them, or at least TRY.


"Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars? It flickers... Who cares when someone's time runs out, if a moment is all we are, or quicker... Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do. " - Linkin Park



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