Our Own Demons

The ladies of “Evening of Empowerment,” each one of whom was about to share a heart-wrenching story.

I recently spoke at an event called Evening of Empowerment that happened to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day. I spoke about my friend Kennedy — her life, her story, how I found out about her passing, and the aftermath of my life since then. I was proud of myself for not crying (hysterically, at least) while sharing this story.

I sat back down and listened to the other speakers. Afterwards, we had an open discussion among the speakers and the people that had come to listen.

What I learned quickly is that we all have our own demons. I heard from a girl that had depression and anxiety and had tried to kill herself her first semester of college. She thanked me afterwards for my description of suicide as not a choice, not selfish, but simply something that the body and mind says that you have to do. I heard from a woman that had also lost a friend to suicide. She thanked me for giving her ideas on how to honor her friend’s memory, even so long after the passing. I heard from a girl my age that had been sexually assaulted and heard more about how badly her school had handled the situation. She thanked me for sharing my own story with her after the speeches about how difficult the fight can be against predators, but how proud I was of her for fighting for what she knew was right.

These girls and women all looked so happy and joyful when we entered the room. We were all happy and laughing. By the end, the tissues were freely being passed around.

We all have our own demons, even if you can’t see them. They might not be scars on your wrists, they may not be things we share publicly very often, but we all have things that we’re battling. We’re all climbing mountains everyday, just fighting for another day. We’re all battling our own demons. And eventually, we will overcome them.