Reasons To Keep Living

Courtney Burke
Courtney Burke

Content Warning: This piece contains mentions of suicide.

I sit here on this Sunday evening, as National Suicide Prevention Week begins. I think about returning to the road in a few days on my second Send Silence Packing tour. I reflect on the personal stories on the backpacks, the 350 faces that I carry with me, every second of every day. Faces that are connected to a story that could have ended much differently, should people have chosen to start speaking up earlier. The anticipation of this upcoming tour has me feeling a bit heavy, but I see the beautiful faces on those backpacks, I see their faces and they push me forward.

I remember a time when I too, felt I could not go on. Suicidal ideations were prevalent and I thought ending my own life would be the answer. A few weeks ago while on the plane right up to skydive, I thought to myself about all the paperwork I signed off on, acknowledging what I was about to do could result in my death. I thought about how for many years, I wanted nothing more than to die. And as we ascended into the air, as I prepared to jump from the plane, I thought about how I want nothing more than to live. I thought about how I am in love with being alive. And then I was flying.

Reasons to keep living:

  • Youʼre having a giggle fit with your person and hitting the table because you just canʼt stop laughing. Now, you donʼt know what is so funny other than the sound of your persons laugh and itʼs like, please do not look at me because I am laughing so hard it hurts. PLEASE DO NOT LOOK AT ME!
  • The moment of empowerment as you open up about your journey and the trickle effect of others doing the same.
  • The look on your little cousins faces as their eyes light up playing a game they love.
  • The view at the top of a mountain that leaves you in awe of your own existence- a view you would not have seen should you have left.

Three years ago, I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital for a near suicide attempt. And today I can say- I am so glad I stayed.

Your story isnʼt over yet.