Young woman who tried to commit suicide survived, now helps others cope with depression

The article below is from The Huffington Post. It talks about Kristen Anderson, who, at 17, tried to end her life on the train tracks. She thought she had nothing to live for: her grandma and three close friends had died and she had been raped. She thought she was alone and that suicide was her only option. But she survived. Anderson was run over by 33 freight trains and had her legs sliced off, but she survived. And now, at 29, she has turned her experience into a positive, by helping others cope with depression.

Now, I have a few things to say about this article and what is said in it. First off, it makes me very happy that Anderson was able to turn her life around and use her experience as a way to help others. Experiences always shape who you are and your destiny. But, it saddens me to hear that the only way she got here was by fate/chance/luck- whatever you call it. She was not an individual who decided to face her depression and cope. She did not decide life was better than death. In that moment, she chose death, but death did not choose her. By luck/fate/chance she survived and was able to tell her story. But many people who decide to take their lives do not get to tell their story.

Second, at the end of the article, Anderson said, “I didn’t even think of suicide as an option until one of my friends committed suicide,” Anderson told “It similarly happens that way for other students. They hear it, and it brings their attention to a place you may have never brought attention to before.” This statement resonates me with. It is profound and true. Sadly, once one person is able to take their own life, others see it as a viable option, too. Unfortunately, I know this from experience. My hometown faced a series of suicides my senior year of high school into freshman year of college and one earlier this year. Those events shook the town, and its vibrations can still be felt today.

Depression and suicide cannot be taken kindheartedly. It is a serious situation with forever implications. It is a situation where people feel like they are alone- like no one else is struggling with depression or suicide. But that is not true. People struggle with suicide and depression daily, and knowing this could help alleviate some of the pain or burden. Knowing that there are hotlines, organizations and friends/family that deal with this and are able to get him/her the proper care is essential.

It is our duty- as a friend, family member or community member- to reach out to those who are in need and to give them the support, guidance and love they need because knowing he/she is not alone could make all the difference.


photo from the story on The Huffington Post

Kristen Anderson Survives Getting Run Over By 33 Trains, Helps People With Depression Cope

Kristen Anderson thought she had no reason to live. But when she survived getting run over by 33 freight trains, she started to reconsider her purpose in this world.

Anderson had given up after she was raped and her grandmother and three close friends died within a span of two years, according to her organization, Reaching You Ministries. She decided to end her life at 17 on the train tracks near her home.

But even after 33 freight trains driving at 55 miles per hour drove over, slicing off her legs, she didn’t die, the Christian Broadcasting Network reports.

“I just started to cry out to God and for the first time,” Anderson told the news outlet. “I asked Him why He would keep me here, why He would want me, even without my legs.”

Doctors tried reattaching her legs, but couldn’t. Anderson spent the next three years battling depression, surgeries and more thoughts of suicide, according to the news outlet.

But then the same teen who questioned God’s existence, began to use religion to heal herself — and others.

Anderson turned to Bible school and friends and eventually founded Reaching You Ministries, an organization that helps people contemplating suicide find hope. Its team of volunteers responds to emails from those looking for support and Anderson takes her story around the country to inspire people contemplating suicide to choose life, according to her website.

The now 29-year-old eventually shared her story in her memoir, “Life, In Spite Of Me.”

“The more I talked about it, I realized how alone I wasn’t,” Anderson told “For a long time I thought I was one of the only people struggling with suicide or depression. That was very eye opening for me.”

But as suicide remains a hot topic in the media, and a prime concern in high schools and universities, Anderson sees her role to prevent people from taking their lives as more crucial than ever before.

“I didn’t even think of suicide as an option until one of my friends committed suicide,” Anderson told “It similarly happens that way for other students. They hear it, and it brings their attention to a place you may have never brought attention to before.”


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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One Response to Young woman who tried to commit suicide survived, now helps others cope with depression

  1. HarleyQ2 says:

    I use to work with teens and some of the issues included depression and attempt or thought of suicide. It is so hard for them to see a way out while everything around them appears to be falling apart. Most people do not recognize the signs until it is too late or after an attempt is made. Depression-suicide is all about people not being able to see alternatives or a different future from the life they are experiencing right now. Either way, support, therapy and sometimes medication is a good way to start understanding themselves and the beginning of the recovery process.

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