“I’m hopeless,” said Frostburg State University student Shannon Brown as she read off of a note card at War Wounds II: Surviving Suicide on Thursday May 1, 2014 in the Atkinson room of Lane Center. Shannon was sitting in the audience of the event sponsored by SGA, NCNW, and Delta Sigma Theta when Andrienne Hill, the host of the event, passed out a notecard with a self-deprecating phrase written on it and a yellow ribbon for suicide prevention to each audience member during the beginning of the event.
Many audience members at War Wounds: 2 chatted excitedly with friends while other audience members looked over their notecards and the paintings in front of the room. Three paintings supporting suicide awareness hung on frames in front of the Atkinson room, each painting displayed encouraging words such as “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” and “Your not alone.”
Audience members started to settle down for the start of the event after they received their notecard and had their small yellow ribbon was pinned to their shirt. Adrienne passed around a microphone after all the notecards were passed out, so each audience member could read their notecard aloud. Shannon was the first audience member to read her card aloud and the other audience members followed. Various audience members read off phrases such as “I’m a failure,” I’m broke,” and “I want to kill myself.” Adrienne said, “Every notecard represents someone’s situation and the struggle that they went through.”
Adrienne proceeded to introduce Sophia Cooper, a Frostburg State University student and the first of two speakers, so she could share her story of surviving suicide attempts. Sophia was dressed in a black skirt and a black suit jacket and said, “I am better than no on and no one is better than me.“ Sophia tried to kill herself at age nine by taking a Benadryl because she didn’t like herself and she felt like no one loved her. Other students in her grade school bullied her all the time in school to the point that her mother would pay her to go to school. Students would call Sophia names like “pork chop,” “ugly,” and “fat.” She was also physically assaulted in grade school when other students threw rocks at her and punched her until she blacked out. When Sophia was 20 she tried to kill herself again by taking a lot of Ibuprofen. After two failed attempts Sophia said, “I thought failing to commit suicide was a sign from God that I was meant to live.” Sophia improved her life by ignoring negative people in her life and getting the education she always wanted.
After Sophia spoke, Adrienne proceeded to introduce the second speaker, Frostburg State University student Lite Brite. Lite was dressed in a pink shirt and jeans and said, “I learned not to be so sensitive.” Lite was very depressed and wanted to kill herself after being molested at a young age. Lite tried to kill herself with a meat cleaver for the first when she was 12 years old. Then Lite tried to kill herself when she was 17 by jumping off a bridge into the Potomac River. Lite said, “I realized I didn’t have what it takes to kill myself.” Over time, Lite became tired of being depressed and said, “She was able to trick her mind into thinking happy thoughts.” Lite learned to think two happy thoughts for every negative thought.
After Sophia and Lite spoke, Adriene played a video of suicide attempt survivors sharing their stories. Several women shared their stories of mental and physical abuse that pushed them to the brink of suicide. The women who spoke overcame many ordeals in order to reach the positive place where they are today.
The stories shared during War Wounds II were powerful and reached the audience. Speeches about surviving suicide managed to inspire and unite audience members.
Click here for more information about War Wounds II.
Andrienne Hill speaking at War Wounds II