Stephanie s Story
"I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was 15 years old. There was a period of time when I wondered if suicide was the only way out for me. So, on January 1, 2016, when I got the call that my little brother, Brandon, took his life, I was in a lot of shock because I never imagined him doing this... I thought it would have been me.
Brandon was a kid with an amazing personality. His smile lit up the entire room. Baseball was his passion. Everywhere he went he had friends. He was funny, outgoing, and had huge dreams of going to the Citadel for college. With that said, what went wrong? We still don't know.
Losing my brother to suicide has been an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. I lost my best friend that day and my family has forever been changed. There have been feelings of never ending guilt, 'what ifs', and questions that will never be answered. The pain I feel every day is indescribable and there are days I don't want to go on anymore.
Sibling survivors feel a pain that's difficult to describe. We didn't lose a child, but instead, we lost someone we grew up with. Spent nearly every day with, shared a childhood with. Nobody understands the pain a suicide survivor experiences unless they have been through it themselves. Friends move on, they find new friends. The family? We have to feel this pain every day for the rest of our lives. Since his passing, my depression and anxiety have worsened, and I was diagnosed with PTSD from his passing as well.
We'll never know if he secretly battled depression. Mental illnesses are real - even though you can't see them, they are real. I am using my brother's story to raise awareness. I encourage anyone who may be struggling with any mental illness or suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. You are loved."