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This woman has a must-hear message about having empathy for others.

You may not have gone through what she has, but you almost certainly can relate.

This woman has a must-hear message about having empathy for others.

Trigger warning: descriptions of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Nicolle is a teaching artist living in New York. She's also a suicide survivor.

And in a world that attaches so much stigma to people, Nicolle has been vocal in trying to bring awareness to what it's like to battle depression and how stereotypes don't always add up.


She talks about what people think suicidal people are like compared to what many survivors actually feel. In doing so, she helps others identify these disconnects so as to better offer support to those in need.

For her, suicidal thoughts and actions began when she was still in grade school.

"The first [attempt] that really, really, really comes to mind is when I first started cutting, man, at 11 — 10, 11 years old — and not having the courage to go fully ... to really, really, really need severe stitches or anything like that, but really wanting to die," she explained in an interview with Live Through This, adding that when she was 13 she wrote a fresh suicide note every day.

Those feelings were made worse by her classmates' bullying, culminating in suicide attempts and alcohol abuse as she got older.

It was in rehab, however, that Nicolle learned one of the most important lessons any of us can absorb: understanding empathy.

During rehab, she was reluctant to tell her story. What others were saying felt to her to be so much darker than what she experienced, so she kept quiet. One day, another woman offered some advice, telling Nicolle that even if the two hadn't experienced the same things in life, it's the human connection between them that allows the two to connect, to understand, to empathize.

That fresh understanding of empathy would come to help her for the rest of her life.

She's no longer suicidal, so why does she keep revisiting memories of the bad times? To keep moving forward.

It's through keeping a slight focus on her past — the good and the bad — that allows her to be the person she is today. Life is growth, and if we ignore how we got here, we're not truly living, she says.

It was music that helped her get through some of the toughest times, and now she's using it to help others.

After moving to New York in 2006, Nicolle volunteered at arts-based programs geared toward at-risk youth. In 2013, she teamed up with Polaris Project, a group that helps survivors of human trafficking. Using her strength as a singer to help others, Nicolle is making the world a better place.

Glad you're still with us, Nicolle.

Watch Nicolle's story below:

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.