Walk out of Darkness

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Alize Whitfield and Ajah Ross

Alone, shocked, responsible, angry, abandoned, ashamed, worried, guilty: so many feelings one can feel when they lose someone to suicide.

The most overwhelming question is simply: Why? Wondering why your loved one felt so alone, depressed, and hurt that they had to do something like take their life. Wondering why they felt so distant and couldn’t talk to you before leaving you. So often it is with no warning that the person who they just saw or just spoke to was no longer going to be around.

One will commit suicide for many reasons: Being bullied, depressed, abused, rejected and feeling alone. So many emotions run through someone’s body and the slightest thing can trigger their psychological mind and make them finally break down.

“Uncovering the reason for an individual suicide death is complex and challenging. What we know from research is that 90% of people who die by suicide have a potentially treatable mental disorder at the time of their death—a disorder that often has gone unrecognized and untreated,” explains the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Recently losing one of our close friends to suicide, we wanted to not only support her family, but to ease some of our own pain. By taking part in the Out of Darkness Walk, we got a chance to do this. There were many people at the walk at the Lake Erie Metropark: many who lost someone to suicide and many others who just wanted to support and help the cause. It was a great experience and made us view life differently.

“When you walk in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks, you join efforts with thousands of people nationwide to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives. The walks raise awareness about depression and suicide, and provide comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide” (afsp.org).

Taking that walk made a change in so many ways. There were many emotions wrapped into one event. Walking down the trail and taking photos with the teams, it meant so much more than just a walk. The overwhelming feeling from all the love and support from not only your team but the others too was just amazing. Having other people around knowing how you feel, was amazing. Hearing the different members of each team call their passed loved ones names and hearing the differentages young and old really opened our eyes even more. Not only teenagers are affected, but it can be anyone.

Our group name was “Bethany’s Butterflies.” One moment of the walk, we started to head back to the main grounds, but we stopped to take one last group picture of the day. When we got in our positions, right before we took the picture, a butterfly came flying in front of us and stayed for a while.

It landed and didn’t move and allowed us to take pictures of this outstanding Butterfly. The moment was Perfect! It made us feel like Bethany was in our presence, letting us know that she was there and made everyone feel a sense of relief. The sky was clear and beautiful which made an amazing touch to the end of our walk.

Above all, we learned that we are not alone. Many people have lost loved ones to suicide and by visiting AFSP.org, one can find many many resources to help ease the pain and ways to end the this senseless loss of life.

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