By Mike McCurry
Along the paths of Drew, 1,100 little white flags have been braving the harsh weather. But what are the flags for you might ask? Those small perseverant flags represent the 1,100 college students who take their own lives each year. To raise awareness for suicide prevention month, Drew DV8 has adorned the paths with these flags along with informational posters in efforts to help the Drew community understand how genuinely massive the campus suicide problem is.
From somebody who has been struggling with OCD, anxiety and depression for my entire life, it is truly heartening to see an effort for understanding. For the first 18 years of my life, I never knew why I was always sad and why it always felt like I was trapped. I’ve lived the most mundane life possible, yet there was an ever-present, unshakeable dread plaguing my every action. It wasn’t until 18 when I finally couldn’t handle it anymore. On January 24, 2016, I grabbed as many possible bottles that I could find and took whatever was in them. On that night I was fully prepared to die. I was only 18 years old, yet I laid on my kitchen floor convulsing and unable to move.
Unfortunately, this an entirely too common scenario. There were so few things I had yet to experience in life and thankfully for me, I was lucky enough to survive. To most who know me, this would be shocking to hear. To anyone who sees me on the outside, they would see an average boy from a nuclear family who always seems to be smiling, but when you’re in prison, it doesn’t matter what pictures are on your cell walls, it still feels like prison.
For me, and most, humor is a facade, but often when I’m laughing, I am at my worst. It wasn’t until my first suicide attempt when I was forced to acknowledge something more to me than just being “sad.” To that point in my life, I lived like most teens struggling with depression. I got up every day assuming that what I was feeling was just another phase that would eventually pass. I couldn’t comprehend that my constant nervous fear was something more than just passable feelings.
Since my initial incident, I’ve been seeking weekly counseling and taking medication. While I’ve still never truly recovered, the effects of professional help are unparalleled. My hope is that even though these awareness months come and go, hopefully someone takes the seemingly impossible step of seeking help. It seems like an insurmountable obstacle, but that first step is worth a mile.