It’s World Mental Health Day. While I was on Twitter I saw this hashtag, clicked it & began reading the tweets. Some were inspiring, others were personal & touching. Many said familiar things like, “people just call me lazy” or, “people don’t take this seriously” (and they don’t), “maybe someday mental health will be treated as physical health is”.
I do have a mental illness, unfortunately, I have more than 1 diagnosis. It’s almost 4:30am & I’m sleepy but have something to say. Whether or not I share this publicly, I don’t know, that would take a lot of courage as people can be cruel. I don’t take sharing what I’m about to write lightly, I’ve considered it for over a year; today feels right. I realize opening my blog to “everyone” is risky, but if it helps one person, then it’s worth the risk.
On May 15, 2013, I tried to kill myself. I had tried a few times before but they were cries for help, not the BIG one. I researched how many pills it would take to kill myself, I had enough & even more, so I took them all. I also took other pills (a lot of them) to insure I’d die. (I’m not giving specifics cuz I don’t want to assist anyone else that may be suicidal). I should have been dead, very dead. Obviously, I didn’t die, I didn’t even pass out until many hours later. I wrote a letter to my kids & one to Jim, the one to Jim wasn’t nice. I got all my belongings & put them in my cars, at the time I had two. I told my kids certain things I wanted each to have in their letter.
My plan was foiled when I asked a neighbor if I could hide 1 of my cars at his house & said I wanted to put a tarp over it so Jim wouldn’t see it. This was bizarre & so not the norm for me, he called my son. One thing led to another & bottom line is after family got involved, I was taken to the ER & was hospitalized for over 2 weeks. The hospitalization was an absolute nightmare, the details of which I’ve only shared with my therapist & very few others; it’s not something I’ll ever share publicly. All I will say is, if someone tells you an unbelievable horrific story that happened while they were hospitalized, please believe them.
The day I did this I thought it was because I was mad at Jim, it wouldn’t be until a few weeks after I was home that I read my diary & somehow looked at the history on my computer, I saw I had been researching how to kill myself. When I read my diary it scared me so much I tore the pages out & cut them up. I cannot honestly say I was glad I survived because I wasn’t, however I went into an outpatient program for 10 weeks that I can say, without a doubt, has saved my life.
I had been to a few outpatient programs before, but this one was different. The program was the 1st time in my life I ever felt accepted for who I am, not who they want me to be, or think I can be, but who I am right now. I learned coping skills, how to recognize triggers & mindfulness. I learned it was safe to trust with the darkest secrets I had- I got things out I’d held in all my life. The program did not “cure” me, there is no cure, but it’s given me the opportunity to live.
Two months before my suicide attempt, my mom died. My mom was my life. We talked daily & my life revolved around her. She only lived about a mile away at a senior complex & I was the one that mainly helped her out. I took her to appointments, we went out to eat, shopping, or I’d just visit with her. Although she was 84, she was a very young 84. She always dressed up & had a smile on her face. When she got sick the decline was rapid & within 3 weeks, she passed away. My entire world crumbled. When my mom was alive I couldn’t imagine living, breathing in a world without her; sometimes I still wonder how I’m able to.
My life is not perfect, it’s not even what I want it to be. I don’t usually like very many people or this world, if I’m being completely honest and I am. I’m undoubtedly a pessimist and am okay with that. I’m an introvert who has always thought I was an extrovert. I march to the beat of a different drummer… a very different drummer. There are times I kind of like myself and while that may not seem like much, coming from a person who, as a teenager once looked herself in the mirror and said, “I’m going to kill you”, it’s a huge accomplishment.
I still have periods of days, weeks, months, where I am depressed, but suicide is no longer an option. After seeing the pain I caused those I love & working hard to mend those relationships, I don’t want to hurt them again. Someone that is suicidal is not a coward, it takes strength to fight every single day when your brain is telling you otherwise. The fight is exhausting & can seem senseless, at the time, the thought of “giving up” seems like a rational option; it never is.
I am not writing this for sympathy. If I do share this publicly, what I don’t want is for anyone to say, “I’m sorry.” Please, do not be sorry! I’m fortunate to have insurance & able to seek help, millions with mental illnesses are not so fortunate.
I’m writing this in case there is someone who is depressed, or suicidal and feels hopeless. If that’s the case and you’re reading this: You’re not alone. There are people that can and will help you. If I can survive, you can too, please trust me on this. You aren’t the worst and you aren’t so different than anyone else with mental illness; you’d be very surprised at how much we all usually have in common. You, just you alone, are worth living for.
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine for USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)