Putting Things into Perspective

Someone jumped off the tenth floor of Morrison Dorm today. Here I was, griping and complaining in my head all day because I feel dumb in my Spanish class and I wasn’t able to register today simply because Daddy forgot to pay off a hold on my student account. And, while I was thinking about these things, someone felt the need to take their life.

I was walking back to my dorm this evening when I happened upon the incident. I’d just spent over an hour in the dining hall on North Campus taking time to watch Netflix and eat pizza after an awful day of class and work. I was on my way back when I noticed a large crowd of students surrounding Morrison. Family tours never come to South Campus, I thought. Why are these students congregated around our Sophomore dorm?

I stopped and kind of barked at a girl to tell me what was going on. Police were taking up tape that marked off the basketball court that is encompassed by this massive building. She told me that someone had jumped from the tenth floor. My tone softened as I asked her if they had survived. She said she didn’t think so. That’s all I know now.

And here I am sitting in my dorm, just across the street from Morrison. I had originally planned to write in my journal, write about my angst and anger towards the world right now. I wanted to write about this stranger who felt the need to take their own life because it had gotten the best of them, and then I decided to just type away at my computer.

Because mental health is something that needs to be talked about on college campuses.

I have struggled with my bouts of depression. I’ve been seriously suicidal before. I’ve had panic attacks. I’ve thrown things, tossed furniture. I’ve bitten my hands so hard until they’ve bled. I’ve reveled at the thought of splitting a knife across my wrists to feel the pain escaping from my soul and releasing itself in the form of warm blood.

A guy on my hall–a good friend of mine–a sophomore–had to resign from the university last week due to his mental health. No one is talking about it. We’re just shaking our heads saying, “mental health needs to be addressed more on campuses.” But nothing has been done about this.

I have friends that come to me looking for comfort in times of need and, myself forgetting what I’ve been through, sometimes brush it off, telling them to think more positively. But I know what it feels like to have no positive side to things. I know what it feels like to want to die.

And this sophomore, this beautiful human being, smart enough to get into one of the top public university in the country, well liked–I’m sure–among their peers, and capable of doing many things in their future, couldn’t feel anything but the draw of death creeping underneath their skin.

And these people don’t feel comfortable going to see the campus health or talk to friends because mental health is stigmatized and that’s not healthy…for any of us. I’m so angry, so hurt, so upset, I just want to say “fuck” over and over again in this post and throw things at walls and cry…but I can’t. I feel it to be an inappropriate expression of behavior, because that’s how I was raised.

I was raised to shut the fuck up before I bothered my parents with my emotions and I carried that well into adulthood.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Colleges pride themselves on being institutions of greatness but over 1,000 suicides happen on college campuses each year. One in ten college students has made a plan for suicide. And we only care about it when it’s far too late.

So why are we shaking our heads now when we should have been looking out for our students, our peers, our children all along?

Update: November 11, 2015 11:10 PM

Since originally writing this post a couple of hours ago, I have found out more information on the person who jumped from Morrison. Demitri Allison died after “falling” from the 10th floor of Morrison Dorm. He was a student and wide receiver for Elon’s football team. He left campus Monday and, since then, his family and friends asked police to look out for him because they were worried about his mental stability.

I made a major connection as I was walking through campus to work tonight. I work the 11-12 shift at our Undergraduate Library and I left my dorm in a bit of a hurry in order to release some steam from today. I walked in the chilly weather up to North Campus, listening to some rock tunes, when I made my realization. I had walked an extra half a mile around campus to kill time (I arrived at the library nearly half an hour early) and sat down in front of our grand and impressive Wilson Library to do some thinking as I responded to my friends’ texts.

I worked earlier today as well and, while at work, I noticed an unusually high amount of police officers patrolling around in the library. Considering we had both a sexual assault and attempted kidnapping in the last two weeks, I guess I just shrugged it off initially. It was, however, when my supervisor pulled myself and the other student employee to the side that she told us not to worry about the police. Apparently there was a “stranger” on campus that they were looking for and all she knew is that this “stranger” didn’t pose a threat to us. She guessed he might pose a threat to himself.

The police were looking for Allison.

Less than eight hours later he was dead.

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