Photo by Emily Benefield.

Trigger warning: Topics of suicide, mass shootings and interpersonal violence. 

I feel inspired to put my feelings in writing tonight. I also feel encouraged to share, which I do not often do. I write with a heavy heart that is carrying the weight of overwhelming grief, loss, heartbreak, constant life transitions and self-doubt. I write with the intention of unapologetically and transparently sharing that most days I often struggle to keep my shit together anymore. I struggle with anxieties and fears that I feel deeply within my core. There are mornings that I wake up after tossing and turning all night from insomnia and feel the weight of the world weighing like a brick on my chest. The ruthless and cyclical systemic injustices that plague marginalized identities, the mass shootings that take place nearly every day, the endless criminalization of black and brown bodies, the lack of action for climate change, the blatant sexism and misogyny that pervades every space, the relationships fraught with interpersonal violence that individuals often cannot escape, the absence of policies and action to fix this insurmountable brokenness. 

Today I learned of the tragedy of a young man who lost his life to suicide at my brother’s high school. It is events such as these that I am reminded of the ways that we avoid discussing topics such as mental health and what to do if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideations. I write this to encourage the practice of radical self-love and acceptance. To practice radical love and acceptance of others. To practice transparency. To practice kindness with yourself, friends and family, whatever this may mean to you. To reach out to others when you are hurting, or when they are hurting. We must support one another, because we are all that we have. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

-words by Emily Benefield

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