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Letter to the editor: It’s worth it to reach out in the midst of suicidal thoughts

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Letter to the editor:

Let me share my story.

Last semester, I was burned-out on a lot of fronts, extremely depressed and found myself on the brink of suicide. I had prepared to die, but I thought that, perhaps, I should give life another shot. On a whim, I called one of my classmates, who picked me up at 4 a.m. to make sure I was safe and OK. Later that day, I voluntarily checked myself into Harding Hospital at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to get professional medical attention. The next two months were a blur of appointments, but in the midst of all of that, I got to see OSU win a national championship on TV, which was amazing.

I am forever grateful for my family, friends, peers, professors, OSU administrators and the wonderful staff at Harding Hospital, Student Health Services and Counseling and Consultation Services for supporting me unconditionally during this time. Not everyone is fortunate to have the resources and support I did. I’m alive and lucky enough to say that asking for help was worth it.

It is natural for all of us to fear what we don’t know or what we don’t understand. But for those of us who have the courage to be here on this campus and to have our perceptions challenged, shattered and rebuilt more robustly, I want to state that that is part of the beauty of getting an education at a place like OSU, where you are constantly surrounded by unfamiliar people with different interests and backgrounds.

So with that said, I am writing this letter to address those of you who are struggling right now, because truthfully, you are far from alone when it comes to feeling alone.

We must take mental health seriously as academic-oriented people. I believe that emotional well-being comes first, before getting a college education and being set free into the “real world.”

This isn’t some fuzzy, new-age rhetoric — it’s what we humans need to have, regardless of how old we are, what backgrounds we come from, and what kinds of problems we have on our plate. It is absolutely critical to maintain your sense of well-being when a lot of things are thrown at you to figure out for the first time as adults. The problems we begin to address run the gamut, including academics, work, rent, roommates, relationships, organizational involvement and family.

Above all else, however, our own health comes first. Sometimes, though, we don’t realize this and choose to neglect it, because all of our other problems seem so much more important. Although we all don’t face the same problems, we all want assurance that our problems can be solved. Sometimes these problems become extremely overwhelming, and we break down emotionally because we don’t know what to do any more. Extreme feelings of helplessness happen to a lot of people at some point in life, and some of us contemplate suicide. Let me remind you that suicide does not solve problems — it just takes you away from everything and everyone you ever lived for.

I understand that not everyone is comfortable putting their own private stories out here in a student newspaper like this, but I have not written this for the sake of gaining likes, promotions, friends, respect or anything of that sort. It’s to let all of you who are quietly suffering know that there are people, like me, who know how terribly you are feeling, have gotten help and have found something to live for. I still have to make the deliberate choice every day when I wake up to live each day as fully as I can, and I’m starting to see the progress.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 911, or get yourself to the nearest emergency room.

Your life is worth living.

Patrick Kudo

Fourth-year in materials science & engineering

kudo.5@osu.edu

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