Have you ever felt so desperate and hopeless that the thought of death seemed like a welcoming relief or know someone who has entertained this thought? At one time, thoughts of suicide were constantly with me, but what made death seem like a better option than living?
As a little girl I was petrified of death. The finality of it was terrifying. I didn’t understand it. It was enough to keep me awake at night. I thought going to sleep meant I could lose my life! It had been explained to me that when you die you lose consciousness, similar to when you’re asleep and not conscious of your surroundings. That fear never really went away as I grew up, but I began to obsess over it when I entered my teen years.
I don’t know how many times I attempted, in my mind, taking my life. I never had the courage to physically end it. But I imagined all these different scenarios. The most prevalent one was overdosing. Going to sleep and never waking up. A permanent solution to the emotional pain that had built up through the years. I had already judged and discarded myself in my mind. This was desperation at its worse in my life. I thought the solution was to find someone to love me and whom I could love in return, but that was like putting a band aid on a deep gash that needed stitches. It only delayed my sentence, instead of nullifying it.
Five years ago today, I finally acted on my thought of attempting suicide. I had a terrible sense of failure. I felt like I had failed my husband, my kids, my family. My failure was coupled with shame and the feeling that I could never live up to my expectations, or that of others. That night I gave up. I convinced myself that everyone would be better off without me. I wrote a few goodbye letters and told them I was sorry. I took my remaining prescription meds, and went to bed. Looking back I’m surprised how calm I remained, but I didn’t want anyone to interrupt what I had already decided. As I watched my husband sleep peacefully I thought, “he deserves a better wife, one who will make him happy”.
When I awoke a few hours later, I was so disappointed. My body was getting rid of what I had taken and I felt like such a loser. I hadn’t been successful in my attempt. My relief hadn’t come. Now I had to tell my husband what I had tried to do. At first he didn’t believe me. Then I mentioned what I had taken and the letters.
I think my mind was on a natural high because of the fact that I was still alive, and I didn’t think I needed medical attention, but my husband insisted. When the kids left for school that day he took me to the hospital. I thought they would look me over, see that I was okay, and send me home. Instead I was admitted to the psychiatric ward and required to stay there for three days. I still wasn’t grasping the scope of what I had done. It seemed surreal, like a bad dream. What had I put my family through? All I could do was cry.
I could’ve used this experience to begin healing, but I didn’t. I went on living as if in a trance, disconnected and feeling defeated. I couldn’t see the good things, nor the wonderful people that surrounded me. I was self absorbed in pain, and trapped in a downward spiral of shame and guilt. Only a few people learned of what I did that day. I’ve never openly talked about it until today. I decided it should no longer be a source of shame for me. I’m tired of that feeling. So my way of releasing the shame is by talking about it.
Unfortunately, suicide continues to plague people around the world. The stigma about it hasn’t gone away. It’s true that when someone is successful in their attempt, they cause a lot of pain to their family. But an individual doesn’t reach that point without inner turmoil. No one in their right mind wants to die. It’s a cry for help they weren’t able to, or aren’t able to voice.
I’ve mentioned before that I no longer care about appearing weak. But now that I’ve been sharing my weaknesses, I feel stronger. I’ve gained strength by being weak! Now I need physical muscles to show off that strength!
I didn’t share my experience to make anyone feel sad or sorry for me. I did it because I know there are people out there who are where I was five years ago, and feel desperate. I don’t know if I would’ve listened to someone tell me back then that things would get better, but that’s the message I want to convey here. No matter how bad the storm gets, it will end. The sun will shine again. Never doubt you have the strength to get through it.
We weaklings are stronger than we think!
Love you guys ; )