Sunday, February 5, 2023
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Emmy May's letter
Emmy May, 16, wrote this letter a year ago to describe her struggle with depression and suicide. It was published in the Red Lake tribal newspaper.

Red Lake, Minn. — My name is Emmy May and I am 16 years old. I am writing my story of how I recovered from depression. I apologize if this story offends anyone for any reason. My depression was caused by losing five people to suicide.

I was 8 years old when I lost my older brother to suicide. I didn't understand the situation at the time, but I knew I wouldn't see my brother again. At the time I was too young to ever understand what happened. I knew I loved my big brother.

But one thing I didn't know, it was preparing my family and I once again for the worst. It was maybe a year later. I lost another one of my older brothers the same way I lost my other brother. I was hurting, but I wanted to be strong and I wanted to be there for my mom. I was still too young to understand why my brothers did that to themselves. I didn't want to believe that my brothers were gone, but I knew, as I got older, it would eventually hit me.

It did bother me that my brothers weren't around. But as I got older, I learned that wherever they were, they were OK. I knew I had to deal with it. I knew I'd be sad.

It was maybe three weeks before my 15th birthday that I had lost one of my friends to suicide. I took her death hard. I was stuck in denial for like maybe three to four months.

During that time I was so down that I got to a point to where I was asking myself, "What do I have to live for?" I knew that I was just sad. So I went to a counselor and told her that I need help. I felt so much better because I got to learn more about suicide, and what could cause it.

I am still sorry to this day for what I put my family through. When I came back to school, another one of my friends committed suicide. I was prepared for it this time. I didn't take it as hard, but I was still sad.

I've been doing OK since then. Whenever I'm sad, I write it all down. It doesn't take all the pain away, but it's NOT GOOD TO KEEP IT BOTTLED INSIDE.

I just recently lost my cousin to suicide. She was one of my very best friends. I still can't believe this happened. She was truly one in a million.

Please take into consideration that you are never alone. If at anytime you feel like you can't go on, please talk to someone. There is one person out there that will listen, there are people that care about you, but please talk to someone that you really trust. I'm here if you really need to talk. I’m only 16, but I've been through a lot.

So, Red Lake members, remember you aren't alone; you'll always have someone there.

I truly care about everybody in Red Lake. I really want to help because I know that so many people are hurting. If anyone has questions feel free to write me.