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Kylie Cullen

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is her story

Kylie Cullen

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I Survived a Suicide Attempt."

Kylie Cullen is a musician in San Francisco. She lives with depression and attempted suicide soon after starting college. Below we discuss her positive and negative coping skills, how they tie in with making her music, and how listening to music can be an important part of the healing process. She was 20 years old when I interviewed her on April 15, 2013.

Des: How do you deal with [your depression]?

Kylie: A lot of different ways. I’ve gotten better. I used to cut a lot. I stopped for a while. I started doing it again kind of recently, but I just recently stopped again, so it’s been two months now that I haven’t done it, so I just keep trying to keep going with that. That was usually how I used to deal with it, but a lot of times, I call my dad a lot. Take walks. Just little things. There’s no way overall to deal with it in the big scheme but it’s just little things. I just try and do little things to make myself happy…

Des: What about music?

Kylie: Yeah, I love…You know, all my songs I write when I’m sad, so that’s another thing I definitely do. It’s hard, because once I get to a certain point in depression I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to play music.  But there’s like a certain point where it will help.

And listening to it too. I started listening to it around the time I started getting depressed, you know, in middle school is when I actually started listening… ‘cause it’s always [had] kind of like a soundtrack [to] it, you know, whether it made me feel better or worse–both.

Des: It’s weird how it can do that. Music can make [things better or] worse for you.

Kylie: I don’t know if you’ve heard the band Blue October, but they’ve been–it’s weird, ‘cause that’s not the type of music I’d usually listen to at all–but my dad really liked them and they were really helpful. They were one of the main things that was so helpful.

Des: The lead singer [Justin Furstenfeld] is bipolar.

Kylie: Yeah, exactly. He’s bipolar, he’s schizophrenic [Ed note: Justin has been diagnosed bipolar with psychotic features]. He’s really messed up, but all his songs are just… he has really down songs, then he’d have these really positive songs. I don’t know, the music really helped because it was like, ‘Oh, someone’s going through the same thing as me…’

He’s this big, kind of scary looking dude, but in a lot of songs he’s always talking about how he’s like–one of his songs is like, “Don’t be afraid to cry, it’s fine. It’s not weak.”

That’s also another thing that band made me realize: it’s not a weakness. Being depressed isn’t being weak. It takes strength to fight it.

 

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About Live Through This

Live Through This is a series of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors. Its mission is to change public attitudes about suicide for the better; to reduce prejudice and discrimination against attempt survivors; to provide comfort to those experiencing suicidality by letting them know that they’re not alone and tomorrow is possible; to give insight to those who have trouble understanding suicidality, and catharsis to those who have lost a loved one; and to be used as a teaching tool for clinicians in training, or anyone else who might benefit from a deeper understanding of first-person experiences with suicide.

More Information

Tax-deductible donations are made possible by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, which sponsors Live Through This. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Live Through This must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Please Stay

If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved—even when you can’t feel it—and you are worth your life.

Find Help

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and pressing Option 1, the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada), or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.