I’m someone who is suicidal frequently. The pain of what I’ve had to endure is overwhelming and I often think about suicide. I think this is a more common occurrence then is talked about which is why I’m choosing to post about it now. The first time I mentioned wanting to die, I was 7 or 8. I said if unicorns weren’t real I would rather be dead. Most would think this is a harmless statement of a child except children don’t talk about death and wanting to die unless they’re significant stressed. This was passed off as a ‘cute’ story in my family and is mentioned as something funny to this day. But it’s not funny. Not at all. I was being abused, pretty severely, and had no safe place to go. I did want to be dead and those feelings have stayed with me on and off for most of my life.
The first time I tried to kill myself I was 14. The gang rape I had endured was before christmas and I’m not sure I came out of the fog of disassociation until the spring. When I did, all I could think about was death. I finally decided to kill myself. My parents kept their medication in the back cabinet and I searched for the biggest pills thinking they would do the most damage. I took a whole bottle of them and some tylenol and went to bed feeling glad I wouldn’t have to wake up in the morning. Most people see teenage suicide attempts as attention seeking or a call for help. But I was serious. I had not done my homework, I left a note with how I wanted to be buried and the music I wanted played at my funeral. But. I woke up. I was fine really, just a stomach ache and I went to school. As the day went on I felt worse and worse and was nauseaus and sweaty. I ended up throwing up in gym class and my dad came to get me.
I had two friends who were very concerned about me and figured out what I did. They went to the school counselor and she called my parents. I remember being called from class and wondering what was going on? I saw my parents pacing in the tiny room and thought ‘oh shit’. They had clearly come from work, my mom in her scrubs and my dad in his work clothes. They listened to the counselor who said I needed therapy and my parents agreed. At home, my parents were more concerned about who was more to blame versus getting me help. My mother told me I took old antibiotics which would not kill me (good thing to tell a suicidal teenager, what won’t kill her). They eventually did take me to see a psychologist who assessed me for OCD since it runs rampant in my family, and that was all. It was never mentioned again.
My second attempt was when I was 37. I had just started trauma therapy with a lovely and well meaning but not qualified therapist. She decided to try EMDR and was not certified. It rocketed me into a psychotic break and I heard a voice telling me to kill myself. I was close. the police and EMS were needed and I went for my second hospitalization. I was there for a little over 2 weeks.
Now I have thoughts again and a plan. I try not to make a plan for carrying these thoughts out. I’ve been hospitalized 4 times and I have to say, I always felt safe in the hospital. The staff, the safety checks, the other pts all made me feel more like I’m not alone. I got better after each admission and felt better too. However, I have no desire to go back because there’s a loss of privacy too and loss of freedom too. I miss my family and am often restless during group sessions. I am having a setback for sure but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. If you’re feeling like you’re in a crisis, please reach out, call the national suicide hotline or text 741741 or go to the emergency room. We’re all a work in progress. We can’t stop.