Suicide is a central aspect of my entire existence. It’s not just about my own life, though I’ve tried to end it many times. It’s also about the lives of others. Ironically, I work in a psychiatric facility, and just when I think I’ve seen everything, someone else comes along with a near-death experience that leaves me feeling 1. Sad for them, and 2. Cowardly for not trying as hard as they did to kill myself.
My first attempt was at age 11. I had just been accused of a terrible act that tore my family apart, and I was left traumatized and alone. So I slipped into my parents’ bathroom, collected about five or six pills each from several different bottles (vitamins, OTC pain relievers, prescription muscle relaxants, etc.) so they wouldn’t notice that a whole bottle of pills was missing, locked myself in my bathroom, and took them all.
The results were gruesome. I hugged the toilet, vomiting so violently that partially digested tablets were coming out of my NOSE. Then, I passed out in my own puke. When I woke up the next morning, I kept it a secret though I was in excruciating pain. I said I had the stomach flu. My parents bought it, and I was livid that I had survived.
In 2009, I tried CO2 (carbon monoxide) poisoning to escape from my mother’s constant abuse. I was in the garage for no more than five minutes when my mother realized her car keys were missing and came out, found me, and told me that if I was going to kill myself, I’d better not leave a mess for her to clean up. I checked myself into a hospital a couple of days later, just to get away from her.
Flash forward a year. My best friend shot and killed himself. I fell apart and decided to pick a very lethal way to commit suicide. The campus police at my university stopped me right before I leapt from the top of an eight-story parking garage. I went to a hospital that changed my life. A combination of medication and therapy saved me. It was such an incredible and positive transformation that I vowed to recover and land myself a job in that same facility. Just over a year later, I did. I even had the hospital’s logo tattooed on the nape of my neck. It was easily the happiest time of my life. I had my college degree and dream job, working alongside my former treatment team as a success story. I felt almost invincible. But another year later, I relapsed again due to a combination of factors and was institutionalized for a total of 34 days over three separate hospitalizations. Medication failed. Therapy failed. I lost thirty pounds in only a couple of months because I was too depressed to care for myself. Since age 14, I’d been cutting myself on and off, and at that point, I was requiring stitches on a regular basis.
This past February, I took a serrated knife to my arm and sliced it open, severing my radial artery. I was overcome with instant terror and regret, and called 911. Six cops showed up because they thought my fiancé did it. I told them I slipped in the kitchen so I wouldn’t be committed. Then, I passed out from blood loss. Eight surgical staples and three days later, I voluntarily went to a mental health facility. On my second day there, staff caught me trying to hang myself with a sheet. I was there for 13 days.
At this point, I was taking time off from my job because I’d never work in a mental hospital in such a state of mind. In May, I wanted to kill myself again and was researching how to obtain a gun. But I let my fiancé drive me to a hospital two hours away (I was sick of running into various coworkers at all the surrounding facilities–tons of them work two or more jobs at different hospitals). The place was GREAT. Unbelievably, I ran into ANOTHER coworker there, ugh! But all in all, it was a five-star place. I stabilized on Risperdal and stayed inpatient for 17 days.
Two months later, I was off the Risperdal because of massive weight gain. Withdrawing made me go crazy one night, so I went to yet ANOTHER hospital. I slept the entire two days I was there.
My last hospital stay was this past August. My fiancée’s mother said that I wasn’t worth sticking around for, that I was a hopeless case making everyone’s lives miserable. I thought, “well, I can spare everyone if I die”, so I downed an entire bottle of Klonopin. My fiancé found my suicide note and rushed me to the ER, where the doctor told me I was going to go into a coma. NOTHING HAPPENED. No symptoms other than dizziness. I took way more than a lethal dose of Klonopin and didn’t even get sick. They sent me to yet another psych ward via ambulance. My attending psychiatrist turned out to be a coworker. Thankfully he discharged me two days later.
Now, I’m back at work and doing moderately better. I’ve seen hundreds of people come in after attempting suicide in every way possible: ODs, drowning, hanging, slit throats, even gunshot wounds. Sometimes they suffer permanent consequences, like losing the use of a limb, or becoming disfigured. Now I focus on doing everything I can do to help them, and that makes me feel better. Deep down, I feel as though I will eventually die by suicide. Until then, I’ll be fighting for myself and others. And that could include you, if you want to talk.