When someone is struggling with depression, it can feel like there is no hope, no way out. Sometimes death can seem like the only option.
Paige Hunter knows exactly how that feels. She was about to take her own life when something stopped her, and now the 18-year-old is working to save the lives of others who find themselves in similar situations.
Paige has suffered from PTSD, depression, and anxiety since she was 14 years old. After several years of struggling with her demons, she didn’t think she could take any more. That’s when she found herself standing on a bridge, ready to jump.
“I went through a trauma and trying to cope with the impact of the trauma completely destroyed me,” Paige explained.
“I remember standing on the edge of the bridge thoughts racing through my mind over and over. I didn’t want to die I only wanted the pain that I was going through to stop. I couldn’t handle to see another flashback from my past.”
As she stepped closer and closer to the edge of the bridge, her thoughts seemed to slow down. Suddenly, she heard a sound that shook her from her trance: sirens.
“All I heard was the police and ambulances coming who helped me change my mind,” she recalled.
Thankfully, emergency workers found Paige in time and were able to save her life and change her perspective.
“I was ashamed of my past by the age of 17-18,” she said. “I felt like my life was not worth living.
“But I was wrong,” she continued, “every life is precious and you are worth so much more than you think. I now don’t let my past define my future but instead embrace what I have been through.”
Determined to use her past to help others who might be dealing with similar struggles, Paige came up with a beautiful idea.
“Wondering whether your life is worth living is absolutely terrifying and lonely,” she explained. “I didn’t want others to feel like there is no one to help, to talk and support them through these feelings. I wanted them to know that their life is worth so much more than this.
“I have seen posts around lately of people going around and putting notes on the bridges. So, I decided to do something similar that is not exactly the best place for me, Wearmouth Bridge, where I had my experience.”
Paige decided to tie notes of encouragement and support all over the bridge in the hope that anyone else who comes there planning to jump will see them and see that there is hope and still so much to live for.
“I have placed 40 of these notes to show that it is actually alright to not be okay,” Paige said. “I hope that these quotes just help that one person to not commit suicide and know that they are worthy of living.”
Paige has already seen the fruits of her efforts. As she was tying the notes on the bridge, people came up to her, telling her their own stories.
“I think the notes have helped save so many people,” she said. “When they have seen that a stranger has placed notes on a bridge to help them stop and think about it, they know there are people who want to help and who care.
“One person said ‘the notes helped because they had given me hope and to see that someone had been in the same situation come out shining and wanting to help others it made me think that actually, yeah things will get better.’”
Another person, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote to Paige thanking her for saving their life.
“I want to say a massive THANKYOU!! to the young girl paige hunter for not only saving one life but for saving 2 and probably many more,” they wrote. “At 6pm i went down to the bridge with every intention of ending my life to not only find when i get there bright coloured notes at least 40 each side.
“As i was about to climb over i stopped at a sign that said ‘be STRONG because things will get better, it may be stormy now but it never rains forever’ and alot more. If it was not for paige i would have been at the bottom of the river and my family would have been broken. So THANKYOU!!! You are a beautiful young lady with heart of gold and deserve recognition for doing what you did”
Paige said placing the notes on the bridge has been “emotional,” but she is so glad they have already saved so many and she hopes that countless more lives will be saved through her efforts.
She left a message of hope for anyone who might be struggling with anxiety, depression, or thoughts of suicide:
“I just want to say, if you see this, no matter how hard life gets you have to keep on pushing and I know it may not be great right now, but it will all be ok in the end; I promise you that,” she said.
“No matter how bad things get, keep holding on,” she added, “it’s hard I know, but your life is worth so much more. Get the help and support you need. STAY STRONG!”
Are you proud of Paige for using her difficult past to help save others’ lives? Then share her story!