Its been over a year since I attempted suicide and I am still struggling with some aspects of my experience. I decided to participate in this project because I think that suicidal people need a voice to speak about their experiences with, especially since there is an onslaught of media messages and peer pressure that distorts perceptions of suicide. Since I came through my attempt, I have decided to talk about it and hope that my story helps others, so here goes.
I’ve been suicidal for years. My Mom said that moodiness and sadness were all part of being a teenager and that it would pass, but it didn’t. I never said anything to anyone, because I couldn’t find the words to describe what I was feeling and if I ever felt brave enough to say something, I would hear messages about how depression is an illusion and how suicide is selfish, for pussies and weaklings. I kept silent under these conditions, because I never felt like it was acceptable to talk about these feelings. I couldn’t walk past a knife without seriously thinking about using it to open up an artery. These feelings persisted throughout my teenage years into my college years, where it got progressively worse.
At college, I was alone and no matter how many people there were around me, I always felt alone. There was this immense pressure to perform. Perform for my family, for my teachers, for my managers, for everyone except myself. It felt like no matter what I did, I failed someone and they were upset with me. I felt like I gave up everything for everyone around me to make them happy, at my own expense and it made no difference. I worked long hours at work, often times off the clock to make sure everything was done so my managers wouldn’t yell at me. I did their jobs for them, so they could continue to goof off, and I still got yelled at and received no recognition for my work. I couldn’t do any extracurricular activities because I was so busy with work and school. People think my GPA is low because I must have been partying all the time, but I rarely went out at all, and people still criticized me for goofing off. I spent my time in class, at work, or in bed asleep and nothing in between.
I lived for other people and not a single one appreciated what I did for, gave to, or sacrificed for them. It made no difference what I did. People only cared about if I could help them in some way. It didn’t matter that I was supremely unhappy and thoughts of dying were my only comfort. The only time I felt relief from the pressure of life was dreaming about dying. Leaping off the side of a bridge with a rope around my neck, putting a trash bag around my head and breathing deeply, taking a pocket knife to my wrists, these were the times that waves of peace, hope, and rest finally came over me.
When I finally attempted suicide, I was taking a knife to my wrists while I was on the phone with the suicide hotline. I was at work and devastated that yet another manager was yelling at me. I gave up so much for my work and it didn’t matter to them, but they still wanted me to sacrifice myself for my work. I had nothing in my life. No friends, family, or anyone who cared. And yet anytime I mentioned killing myself, they would be like “Oh, but so many people need you!” Need me for what? as a doormat to step on? to do whatever they want when they want it?
The cops arrived in time before I could hurt myself and they released me so long as I promised to go to counseling the next morning. From there it was a long journey with my therapist, group sessions, exercising, and soul searching that lead me out of my depression (for the most part). I still struggle with depression, but therapy gave me the tools to deal with it before it takes over my life. I remember my first group therapy sessions, where I could barely say a word. I spent so much of my life remaining silent about my depression and what I was feeling that I couldn’t say anything in group. After awhile though, I learned that there are many people just like me, who struggle with living and feel like their only way out is through death.
Some of the hardest things that I still struggle with after my suicide attempt are how easy it can be to prevent, and how society’s views on suicide make it difficult for people to come forward and seek treatment. People keep talking about how hard it is on suicide’s surviving family and how guilty they feel. All I can say is that they are feeling that way, because they should. Most suicidal people leave clues left and right about how they are feeling and leave hints for anyone to notice. In my case,Â I wasn’t just leaving breadcrumbs. I was flinging whole loaves of bread and people still didn’t notice or care. It was/is so aggravating because finding information about helping suicidal people is no further than a Google search away. If you care enough about someone, who seems suicidal, then you can certainly spend a few seconds doing internet searches to see what options are available to you. Society itself makes it difficult for people to come forward and seek treatment, because people with mental illnesses are stigmatized and demeaned.
You hear the messages all the time: “Suicide is coping out,” “Only weak, pussies commit suicide,” “How supremely selfish it is to commit suicide.” The problem is that it is not your life. People do not know how other people live their lives and what private anguish they might be going through. It is ridiculous for people to pass judement on those who think about commiting suicide or have attempted it.
I lived through my suicide attempt and even though I still struggle with depression and think about it occaisionally, I know I won’t try it again. I hope that anyone reading my suicide story will be helped by it and will hopefully seek treatment for their depression, regardless of what others may say. Just know that there are others who understand your pain and suffering and will listen and help you get through it, you just have to find the right people.