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 Oaoa.com. “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.
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 Oaoa.com. “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 Oaoa.com. “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.”