Today is a day to talk about something people don’t talk about often enough.
When I attempted suicide I was staying in my mom’s basement, temporarily, and I decided it was the final move. I was very depressed, and I didn’t talk about it at all (except to thousands of anonymous faces on the Internet). She didn’t want to read about my disorder, and neither did my stepfather. There was a language barrier. And a willingness – they had their own idea of what bipolar was and didn’t want that challenged.
I had been depressed a long time and part of it was chronic, intrusive ruminating about suicide. Aching to do it, and having to talk myself down. It was a constant struggle in a bleak existence and it seemed a bottle of pills could get me out.
But with suicide, you’re not ending your pain, you’re giving it to someone else.
My mom and I had had problems and all, but I didn’t want that to make her feel guilty. It was not her fault. It’s nobody’s fault, just my own decision, in the end. Ten minutes after taking the pills I changed my mind and called 911. When the ambulance arrived I was losing consciousness, and I woke up three days later in the intensive care unit. Then another ward. Waking again, mom at my side holding my arm, not looking me in the eye. She tells me that they’ve decided (she means he has) to boot me out of the house. She tells me lies for reasons.
I stayed in the locked ward for five days, three of those in a suicide room. A padded room with no fixtures, no furniture, just a mattress and an unrippable blanket I shivered under despite its thickness. There was a video camera in the top corner of the ceiling aimed down to take in the whole room, barely bigger than the mattress. I wondered who was watching. Just nurses?
Then I was gone, transferred to the unlocked ward and free to roam the halls as I arranged new living arrangements on the outside. It took longer to recover from the depressive episode but I no longer felt the acute urge to die. I was glad to be alive as things changed.
The betrayal I felt post-suicide attempt, facing a lack of education by my family, could have been prevented. We could have made contracts, shared information, and worked together. Sought help and psychoeducation. Instead they covered their ears and I didn’t speak, until it became a trauma for all of us.
That’s why on World Suicide Prevention Day we have to speak up, to tell our stories and reach out to those who are isolated. If you’ve been sort of thinking about it, read this first. If you feel an imminent urge to kill yourself, call 911 and go to an emergency room. I found that suicide is an impulsive thing, and you can endure by dealing with those impulses until things change. It always changes. Want help? Call 1-800-SUICIDE or another of many resources. There is help and hope.