She is, like so many of my readers, over $100,000 in debt, and at this point cannot see a future. She's not alone. Millions of educated, student debtors feel that their future has been stolen from them. But don't worry, AEM is now in its "big wave" phase, so we're going to get that back, and we're going to do it together.
The woman received amazing responses from people. It made me feel so lucky to be a part of this community. You are all so strong, caring, and supportive. Here are two highlights from those comments of support:
There was a time when I felt suicidal, obtained the means, and went to the place I planned to kill myself, a small, remote fishing pond. I was deeply depressed, lonely, in great debt, and jobless. And on that day I had also been drinking. Remarkably, I could not do it. On the worst day of my life it changed. I had a small hope of a better life and that spark was enough to keep me going. It took a while, but hard work and some luck made things gradually improve. My life is much better now and I often return to that place, the pond, to remember how my life changed course there and to feel gratitude for whatever divine intervention happened there.
Hang in there, hold on, don't give up, consider all avenues of help, and find something to live for. I can guarantee that someday you will feel better about everything. Your life is precious even if it does not feel that way now. Liz, I wish and hope for you a better future and peace of mind.It must be so powerful for Leigh to revisit the place where she almost took her life.
I have to tell you that I suffer from depression right out the gate. One symptom I have is suicidal obsession. I made one attempt about 23 years ago, and I'm still grateful I didn't pull the trigger. My debt problems are huge right now as I have been out of regular work for over 2 years. My daughter has student loan problems that I cannot help her with as I once could have when I was employed making a good living. I have been plagued by these thoughts again. I have found that I must help others when that happens to escape this form of insanity. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I get help,professional help, as well as a support group. Helping others is the foundation of my life today. I was afraid of facing the future because I didn't think I could on my own, but then I learned i am not alone if I reach out to others, whether for help for me to help them.
I am thinking of you and hope you reach out for what you need.
I want to thank all of you for the outpouring of support for Liz. We need to continue having this conversation at the national level. We need to find those who are struggling, and offer them help, kind words, and a shoulder to lean on. While many of you might think of this community as an online group, I have met a number of you in person and can put a profile picture to a real human being's face. You are all real, and in the next coming months I plan on meeting more of you. Just the other day, I was invited to Wisconsin and I think I might just take the woman up on her offer. So, if you're interested in some meet ups with me, say the word. We'll make something work.
On a final note, I want Liz to know that I hope our words have been helpful. Hang in there, Liz.
"Reader's Response To Piece On Suicide: "If I can't get a job by February, I will just kill myself on Valentine's Day," AEM (August 17, 2011)
"Suicides and Student Loan Debt," AEM (August 14, 2011)
"Suicide and Murder-Suicides," AEM (Jan 30, 2011)
Debt and Suicide (Radio interview with Shared Sacrifice; originally aired 16 December 2010)
Suicide Among Student Debtors - Who's Thought About It? (17 August 2010)
For The Indentured Class, Suicidal Thoughts Are Not Merely An Individual Problem (22 October 2010)
An Angry Mother Vents (4 October 2010)
Other Related Links:
99ers band together to save a life (27 January 2010)
Suicide Rates Up Since Recession Began, Debt A 'Way of Life' For 99ers (26 July 2010)
Tomgram: Nick Turse, Desperate Times and Desperate Measures (28 January 2009)
The Economic Crisis Is Getting Bloody - Violent Deaths Are Now Following Evictions, Foreclosures, and Job Losses (20 November 2009)