Local man shares story of attempted suicide

Brandon Jeter

Brandon Jeter

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

For Brandon Jeter, that place of no longer hanging on was in 2008, before his senior year in high school.

His days in high school were best described as hell and prison, he said.

“I spent most of my high school life being bullied and ridiculed and I had no reason why,” he said. “Every single day, I felt like going to high school was like going to prison.”

Jeter’s description of his high school days is the epitome of a high school bullying scene in a movie.

“I was thrown into lockers, had a pack of mayonnaise thrown at me, had ink poured into my hair, and had to eat lunch alone in a classroom every day because I was told I couldn’t sit at any table,” he said. “I would cry out for help and the answer was basically ‘that’s life.’ ”

In June 2008, before he started his senior year in high school, he couldn’t take anymore.

“I decided that was the night,” he said.

Suicide was something he has been contemplating and planning for months, he said.

“I didn’t even leave a note because I felt no one would even care to read it,” he said. “I had planned it for months, even had pills and ropes, for whatever method I chose.”

He described himself as a lonely, depressed high school kid.

Jeter said on a Facebook post that he took 30 lithium pills and cut his wrists.

“At that point, I was at my lowest, saddest, and most helpless, but I’m glad my mom found me before I died that June night,” he said. “As I was laying there and the air was leaving my body, tears in my eyes, with a bag tied around my neck with a rope, a voice said, ‘This is not how your story ends.’”

Jeter lived that day, but said his senior year was a living hell.

“But once I left high school, it really did get better,” he said. “College changed me. Some of the people that bullied me became friends.”

He said when he left home for Auburn, he made friends – real friends.

He was able to go to the college he dreamed of and found people who have become family to him. People who love him and encourage him.

“I found politics and became super active in it,” he said. “And I strive to make the world a better place for everyone. I work to stop bullying in our schools, our communities, and even our workplaces.”

Jeter said he lobbied the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate for passages of the Jason Flatt Act, which teaches how to stop school bullying and recognize the signs of suicide.

“I believe we have to talk about this as a public health issue,” he said. “I work to fight the stigma and ignorance about people with mental illness and I fight to make sure no family suffers suicide shame.”

Jeter has some advice for school systems in helping combat bullying.

“They can enforce these anti-bullying programs that they allegedly have,” he said. “Make administration a safe spot, not just someone who says it is normal. We must train all teachers to know the warning signs and not allow bullying of any kind. The most alarming thing is how people using racial or homophobic slurs are widely accepted in schools. We must implement programs that teach about body image. It’s alarming how many girls and boys are bullied and scared to attend school.”

Jeter said she believes in being active with the cause has helped him more than anything because he realized he wasn’t alone and he wants others to realize that it’s OK not be OK.

Time has healed his wounds and he said he’s been able to tape bridges back together.

“I’ve forgiven many and have done things that most people could only dream of,” he said. “I’m thankful I’m here to witness it all.”

Jeter said he isn’t bitter toward his alma mater.

“I left that place and the demons I faced there,” he said. “I’ve actually had a few people that bullied me apologize on Facebook or in person. I just believe they can do better at making sure children aren’t bullied. Losing a 12-year-old (in 2014) should have been a wake-up call, but I see countless parents complaining about bullies. It seems this year is worse than ever.”

 

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