(Todd A. Smith)
Mental health struggles are real.
No matter how strong one pretends to be, the weight of life often seems too heavy to carry.
That burden become too much for Southern University student Arlana Miller who tragically took her own life, leaving behind a suicide note explaining why she committed suicide and how she is now at peace.
In her suicide note posted to social media, Miller said, “May this day bring me rest and peace. I have fought this urge since my early teenage years..I gave this life all the fight I had. To everyone who has entered my life I’m so grateful and I can only imagine how this may find you. I have been surrounded by people who may have honestly thought that I was okay, but I havnt been okay for a while. I struggled so much through just this year alone. From covid, to tearing my acl, to nearly failing all of my classes…
“I always dreamed of becoming so many things that I am today, but they just aren’t enough. I’m not enough. I havnt felt enough for a while..but I say all this to say, I’m done fighting. My battle is over and I pray everyone finds peace in that…”
After reading that heart-wrenching suicide note, I wish I would have had a chance to meet her and tell her my testimony.
I wish I could have talked to her before she made that ultimate decision.
I would not have told her something cliché like it gets greater, later.
I would not have told her something cliché like after a dark night comes a brighter day.
I would have told her; I too have thought about quitting on my dreams.
I too have thought about my life not being worth the fight.
I would have told her that I have watched my peers, classmates and friends prosper financially in this life, while hearing them tell me my time is coming, year after year, and even decade after decade.
But I would have told her that believing in God and having hope for a better day does lead to better days.
I would have told her that, although it does sound cliché, God does give his hardest battles to his strongest disciples.
I would have told her that her struggles were not necessarily for her.
I would have told her that God was using her struggles to strengthen her faith and her resolve so that others suffering the same fate would find hope in her resilience.
I would have told her that her testimony was impacting more people than she could ever imagine.
I would have told her that I have had countless people tell me that they did not give up on their dreams because I did not give in.
I would have told my fellow Southern University Jaguar that the pain that I have experienced has led to passion and anointing that others can feel when I share my testimony and my struggles.
I would have told her that, although it might not seem like it, God was ordering her steps and putting the right people in her life to get her to where God wanted her to be.
I would have told her that the struggles will make her appreciate her blessings more.
I would have told her that the struggles will keep her humble when God exalted her.
I would have told her that so many others depended on her staying in the fight.
I would have told her that so many others had their blessings tied up in her life and blessings.
Therefore, quitting on herself would mean that she has quit on others depending on her too.
I would have told her she had her entire life to enjoy.
I would have told her that the things that depressed her today would not have even mattered tomorrow.
I would have told her she was strong, beyond measure.
I would have told her she was intelligent and brilliant.
I would have told her she was beautiful.
I would have told her about how much potential she had.
I would have told her that she was not alone.
I would have told her people were out there that could help.
I would have told her that mental health is not always something we can control, so seeking out a professional was O.K.
I would have told her it was O.K. to take a break or hiatus.
But I would have also told her to just not quit.
I would have told her that this life is difficult for everyone.
But I would have also told her that this thing called life is also a beautiful journey.
I would have told her that God could take her from struggle to success in an instant.
I would have told her that God took a shy kid named Todd A. Smith, who would never hardly speak in public, and made him a television personality that reaches hundreds of thousands of people, nationwide.
I would have told her that even with that success I am just at the beginning of what God has in store for me.
I would have told her that I was no one special, so if God had greatness for me, then I know he had greatness for her.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to tell her that.
But in her absence from the body, I hope someone else reads this article.
I hope I can tell them all the things that I would have told her.
I hope that someone in her predicament knows that they are not alone and seeks help.
I just hope someone in her position decides to push just a little harder when they want to give up because it will be worth all the heartache, sleepless nights and temporary doubts.