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Mass shootings have become a routine part of U.S. history over the last few years, specifically since the tragic Sandy Hook shooting. Last week, yet another mass shooting occurred in Roseburg, Oregon just a few miles from my town.

Obviously this is an absolute tragedy due to the lives taken and harmed in the process. But for me, I have a hard time accepting that others have innocently died when they (assumingly) wanted to live. And here I am, someone who has been suicidal and not wanted to live on several occasions, still living.

BTW: If you are struggling with anxiety after an incident of mass violence like this, you can call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.

Nearly every time I hear of a mass shooting of any kind, my reaction is the same: why them and why not me? Why do innocent lives get taken when I am struggling to truly live?

The truth is, I have no idea why the tragic things that happen occur or why specific people are harmed. I don’t know why homicide is the end for some. I don’t know why people choose to play God so-to-speak and take lives prematurely.

But I do know that everything happens for a reason. That, while this is a terrible, horrifying devastation, there is a reason the people who have been affected were. I’m not saying homicide is acceptable by any means. I am saying that we’re all here for a reason. We all have a story to tell and a life to live, and we don’t know when that will end.

For some of us, it’s sharing our pain and misfortunes with the world in an effort to make a change. To bring light to harsh realities that are difficult for people to grasp, such as the severity of depression and other mental illnesses. And that, my friends, is why I believe I am here. It is why I share my story here on You Matter.

It is why I have decided to be so open and vulnerable to an audience of faces I will probably never see. It is, I believe, my mission, my calling, or however you’d like to refer to it, of my life.


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