this post originally appeared on my blogspot
With the depression, suicide, and mental illness being pushed to the forefront of the media (for now), it has a special affect on people like me. While the world (including myself) mourns an incredible loss and makes promises to be more educated, more caring, I find myself reflecting on my own muddy past – particularly my attempts at suicide.
I never intended to live this long.
My first attempt was at age 16. I wrote in my leather bound journal, coloured a pattern on my bed sheets with a blue pen, and convinced myself that the person I was wasn’t worth enough to be alive.
I only recently found out that I was classified as a gifted child, which explains a lot of what I was dealing with and why. My parents couldn’t afford specialty education, and the resources at the time were minimal, so I was left to sink or swim.
I struggled through school, hated authority figures (especially anyone who told me I had unused potential), couldn’t bond with my friends, and resented my family for what I felt was a lack of caring. I wouldn’t get dressed, I slept through most days of school, and when I did go; the anxiety of being so far behind would cause me to completely clam up and not try. Every day I felt like a waste.
The night I (pathetically) attempted suicide, I had tried to hang myself in my closet. It was a hot pink belt with neon stars that I had bought from Forever 21. I still have it. Luckily for me, it was of a very shitty quality, and after a few seconds of discomfort the buckle snapped under my weight, and I cried myself asleep in the closet. I couldn’t even die properly!
My second attempt came not quite two years after, when I wrapped a loaned car around a light standard. I remember in both of these situations feeling a great despair. I didn’t see a tunnel nor did I smell brimstone. It did not give me a new lease on life, I was mad. Mad as hell. I wanted it to be over, I daydreamed about it, but for some reason I couldn’t pull myself together enough to end it.
I continually lied about what happened, because everyone I knew considered suicide to be a cowardly act. Before I go any further, please let me give my opinion on this:
When you are in the throes of feeling your life fall apart, and you are desperate to end the voices in your head, calm your anxiety, feel clarity, whatever your need, you do not consider what others are thinking. People who struggle with mental illness to the point that they choose to end their lives do not make that choice lightly or over night, and calling them a coward in death makes you an ignorant bastard in life.
The mentally ill aren’t craving attention, they are craving safety.
My final attempt came just a few months after my accident, when I tried to jump off the balcony of my new apartment. It wasn’t very high, but I thought the cement would do the trick. While it didn’t kill me, it left me with incredible back problems that I still deal with. I lied and told everyone that I tripped over the cat and fell off of the balcony (the logistics of this claim are impossible and ridiculous), and I became dependent on the medication prescribed to dull the pain in my back.
In all of those moments, like so many others, I was desperate to find calm in the storm. I was angry that people didn’t understand me, angry that I couldn’t understand myself, and hurt that the people who I thought I could trust brushed off my cries for help as calls for attention.
Now, on the eve of my twentysomethingth birthday, I reflect on the pain that my head, heart, and body have endured, and am proud that I have survived myself. I have a beautiful life with an amazing husband and even more amazing children, and it makes me sad to think that I could’ve deprived myself of these relationships.
I will never be out of the woods, I will always have days where I feel that I am more useful dead than alive. It’s a hazard of being me. I self deprecate, I self loathe, and some days I can’t bring myself to look in the mirror; but some days I can – and those days are worth it. Every day that I don’t contemplate suicide is a victory, and I celebrate by being the best person that I can be. I am lucky to be alive, whether I recognise it or not, and so are you.