Each year, 42,773 Americans commit suicide, according to the official American Foundation for Suicide Statistics webpage.
In January 2015, I was almost one of the 42,773.
I had been surrounded by darkness my entire life. I had suffered emotional abuse, neglect and bullying. I hated myself.
Within my first year of college, I had been deserted by people I considered friends. I was homeless. I had been sexually assaulted. I failed every single one of my classes.
I suffered severe PTSD, nightmares, panic attacks and depression as I stumbled through the world, having no idea where I was going.
In January 2015, I thought I had found the solution.
It came faster than anticipated.
One moment I was lying in bed, trying to get myself to sleep, and the next thing I can remember I had grabbed my medication and was shoving the small, red pills down my throat, trying to end it all.
The darkness swallowed me whole, and I felt drained of everything that made me who I was. I had no idea who Katie Hildreth was.
My best friend found me and rushed me to help. I was saved.
Ironically, a week later, I found the real solution to my problems — a miracle.
When I walked into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I expected to get a slice of pizza and find out the next place I would stay in my couch nomad adventures.
However, that night I received a tiny blue book given to me by two girls wearing name tags.
I was baptized a month later. One of the biggest things I have learned since meeting the missionaries is to never give up on hope — it is always there.
Now, I am not saying that converting to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints solved all my problems.
I still have to fight every day. My thoughts can attack me out of nowhere, and I fight hard to get out of bed some days.
However, I am a firm believer in the concept of hope now. I have the answers I had been seeking my entire life.
I recognize the love that others have, and I have gained true companionship with roommates and friends that I would never have expected before.
I don’t share my story for pity or sympathy. I want to spread hope.
No matter what is going on in the world, there are always things to live for.
I believe in kindness. I believe in standing strong.
I have had plenty of trials in my life, both big and small, and I know that I am not alone, even when life is overwhelming.
I would never have guessed two years ago that I would have a leadership position in a newspaper or that I would be as happy as I am now.
Our future is always bright. Let’s choose to love. Choose hope.
If you are struggling, please reach out to a friend.
Go to lds.org/preventingsuicide to find resources. Call the National Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255.
Please, never give up. There is always hope.
Keep fighting the hard fight.