These are the heartfelt and honest words of Joey Valdez.
Joey is an old friend, musician, recent high school graduate, and someone who just lost a friend to suicide. This is a difficult topic, but one that needs to be brought to light.
Here is what he shared:
Life is a beautiful, fragile thing, and I want to write about why you shouldn’t ever waste it.
I’m up at one in the morning making a Facebook post (something I don’t do often) because I’ve been thinking about my friend all day. Going to the burial today was a sense of catharsis as a mourner; being able to shovel the dirt that now covers his resting body helps me feel like I’ve done something for him, something that I’ve felt like I’ve needed to do ever since I found out about his passing. It’d been a while since I had seen some of you who came to the funeral. Sharing today with you was very special, and it’s something I’m sure I will always remember.
But this is about something different:
Suicide and depression is something that isn’t talked about enough in this culture. So many people have gone through it or are currently going through it, but even more people don’t understand that fact. When you’re depressed, you feel like you’re insane, like something must be wrong with you because you feel like you do, like you’re different than everyone else in this psychotic way. But that’s not true at all. I’ve been in that place years ago, and I’ve felt alone, like there were no friends to turn to, like I must be defective for feeling depressed. And I guarantee that one of your good friends at some point in your life will feel like this in some major or minor way.
Do them a favor:
Tell them that you’re their friend. Tell them that they can talk to you if they ever need to. Tell them that you can be there for them. Tell them that you appreciate them. Tell them that you enjoy knowing them. When they feel lost, and when they feel like there is nowhere left to go, they may find hope in having someone to turn to, and maybe their life won’t be cut off prematurely by the hopelessness that absorbs some people during depression.
My friend was only nineteen years old when he ended his life. Any victim of suicide at any age has left this world too young, but nineteen is way too young for any circumstance. Please, if you ever should feel alone in this world, turn to someone for help – a friend, a counselor, a family member, or anyone else who you feel close to. Opening yourself up to someone is the first step to escaping the abyss of depression. Somebody out there cares about you. At the very least, if you’re reading this, I would be devastated to receive a notice that you have ended your life prematurely just like I found out how my friend died. Any person that I see in my day leaves an impression on me, and I, along with many other people, I’m sure, would feel yet another tragedy of loss if you were gone.
With my friend’s funeral today, I learned many things and have grown so much as a person, but Lord only knows that I hope to never go through it again with another friend in the ground.
– Joey Valdez
If you have a friend that you are concerned about, reach out to them.
Don’t be afraid to talk about depression or suicide. Ask them about it. Getting them to open up about their feelings can seriously help.
Listen to them. Hear what they have to say and take it seriously. Don’t judge or act as if what they say is not important.
Encourage them to talk to someone.
If you are in the U.S. they can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.
If you are outside the U.S. use this link to find the hotline for your country:
Don’t be afraid to tell someone on behalf of your friend. Talk to your parents or theirs. Talk to a school counselor. Talk to a coach.
Don’t worry that talking to someone will upset your friend. Their life is more important than hurt feelings.
Being there for a friend can really make a difference. But what you and Joey need to remember is you’re not responsible for preventing someone from taking his or her own life.
You are not alone. There are people who can help.
“Somebody out there cares about you.”
Thank you, Joey.
Hotlines and Resources:
U.S.: 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)