Brett Reiter 

"I’m not sure it ever really goes away.

I think it’s something that I will always live with, and something I will have to navigate around and work through.

In the summer of 2012, I had one of my best friends take me to the hospital because I was afraid I was going to kill myself. I was there overnight, and was prodded with a million questions--I felt like I was under a microscope. I left the next day feeling raw and distant, but I kept pushing forward with my life, and through everything I had going on. I still do a version of that to this day.

Being suicidal and having suicidal thoughts isn’t something that goes away overnight, or is easily cured with medication or time. It always lingers.
It got extremely heavy in college. I consistently wanted to not exist.

There was a highway right outside of my college campus, and I would go lay in the middle of it occasionally. I’d get out of the way right before the cars got to me... it was 2 A.M. so there usually weren’t many.

I used to get drunk and go driving. Purposefully. I honestly can’t pinpoint why I thought it was a good idea, and that’s the scary part. Looking back, I think it was probably the stupidest thing I have ever done. One time, I hit a mailbox and knocked off the mirror on the right side of the car. I habitually put other people’s lives at risk because of what was going on in my own head. I was selfish and irresponsible.

In the winter of 2012, I was sexually assaulted. A few months later, I got a call from a sexual health clinic stating that a previous partner of mine was HIV positive. It took me three days to get tested, but my results were negative. There were times during that three-day period where I wished I had positive results.

I used to cut myself. Cuts on my upper arms. Everyone makes fun of cutting and self-harm as if it’s a cry for attention, but I think that’s bullshit. It’s a release, it’s a momentary escape from something else. I’m not advocating for self-harm--it’s terrible and life altering--I’m simply saying that it’s not something to be taken lightly. One time, I took a piece of broken glass and sliced my left upper arm. That scar is still very prominent, and probably always will be.

That’s how it is. The pieces of depression, suicidal thoughts, and self harm will always exist, both mentally and physically. They will hurt you.
I’ve come a long way in the past six years. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with what life has given me. I’ve learned a lot about my choices, and about who I am. I’m in a way better place…but, I still think about killing myself.

I go to work, I come home, I hang out with friends, but sometimes a suicidal thought flashes in my brain.

Those thoughts used to scare me, but now I accept them as me, and as part of who I am, and I learn to stifle them and keep living in my light. It’s a never-ending process, but I’m proud of my journey so far. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I want to take a step forward and be honest.

This is Brett Richard Reiter. This is my truth. I found myself. I found my independence. I am strong, I am fierce, I am resilient, I will not back down.

If you’re feeling suicidal, or you’re struggling with depression, you’re not alone. Mental illness can affect anyone, no matter the upbringing, the gender, or the age. It happens to so many of us, but there are people out there who have your back, who will support you, and who know what you’re going through.

You’re not alone."