I didn’t jump. I lived to see my 16th birthday! :-)

September 19th, 2017by Dawnstar

Broken Arch

I’m not suicidal at this time, and this story, although true, has taken place in the past. Perhaps writing this is part of my own integration process, and maybe it can help somebody else, I don’t know? Anyway, hello everyone, and to quote Hannah from 13 Reasons Why, “It’s me, live and in stereo”! πŸ˜‰

Unlike the Netflix series, I wish I could list specific reasons why I became suicidal. I wasn’t raped by a family member or anything like that, and I really have a life which (although certainly far from perfect) I’m sure many would be envious of. All I know is that I “got tired” and had a rather quick “collapse” so to speak, and in a period of about a month went from an “A” student to dropping out of school. The subsequent stress of being 15 years old and having basically screwed up my life, was enough to push me to the edge (literally, in my case). πŸ˜›

Although I’ve long had a certain death ideation, such as even at age 7 or so saying I was going to go poison myself, I’ve never really labeled myself “suicidal”. However, I did at this time proceed to do the Big Three of suicide risk: Pick a chosen method (jumping), a date, and a specific location to KMS, and I did go to that location on the date in question. Therefore, I should probably admit to myself that counts as being suicidal. Seriously, if I had told a therapist or Crisis Line any of this, that would probably be serious enough to get the cops called on me. πŸ™

But I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing. Ok, I mentioned a bit of how I was feeling to my big sister, and she went and told my mom. Annoying, but I know she was just being caring and trying to look out for me. The shit almost hit the fan, but I managed to convince them I wasn’t serious. Yes, I’m a very private person, and my suicide was going to be a more or less complete surprise to those left behind.Β  Sorry, but you don’t really think of other people when in a strange mental state! πŸ™

My chosen location was jumping from the top of Broken Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, located semi-near the main campground where I would be staying. It’s like jumping off a bridge, just it’s a natural bridge, and therefore much prettier. I’ve always liked natural arches, and see them as one of nature’s best creations, and they’re like magic portals into another world, and therefore a suitable place to leave the unpleasantness of this one. Broken Arch is about 60 feet high, which should beΒ enough to be in the “death zone”, especially landing on solid rock. The arch isn’t actually broken, but rather has a large crack through the middle of the arch that’s resealed. I like that the arch has been through a lot and isn’t afraid to show its scars! Yes, I realize I’m personifying and connecting with inanimate objects, which is much easier than dealing with people! πŸ˜› Anyway, a picture is worth 1000 words, so see above for where I intended to die.

By the way, what is it with suicidal people that we seem to identify with being “broken”? πŸ™ For example, famous suicide victim Katelyn Nicole Davis had the username “dollyisbroken” and had her “Diary of a Broken Doll”.

Anyway, off to the side it’s possible to climb up and get on top of the arch. It’s not really safe and you’re not really supposed to, but as a jumper that didn’t stop me. I could sit right on the crack and look straight down to the ground, and you can even sit and dangle your legs over the edge. I was completely alone, and everything was still on a perfectly clear day, extremely peaceful actually. Nobody even knew I was there, and I didn’t leave a note or anything. (If you do leave a note and it’s found, people might come and try to stop you, and also if you don’t do it then going back becomes VERY awkward because the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.)

I’m still here (obviously) so that means I eventually went off my arch and climbed back down. Maybe I wasn’t really serious, a part of me wants to live, or maybe I’m just too chickenshit to actually do it? A video is worth 1000 pictures, and this funny video reminds me of me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZkk2ZYhz0cΒ πŸ˜‰ I’m the girl in it (not actually) but her hesitating at the top of the cliff for 13 minutes is like me not jumping, and the words in it are not too dissimilar from my own internal dialog.

A strange thing happened while climbing Broken Arch. I discovered a second arch! It was small and patheticΒ (looking like how I was feeling) and was basically just a delicate separated layer of rock lifted slightly from the slope behind it, resulting in an opening a few feet wide and not much wider than a crack. But at the same time I noticed it, my foot landed on it, breaking it off. In other words, at Broken Arch I “broke an arch”! It’s like something had to die that day, and an ugly little arch sacrificed itself so I didn’t have to. πŸ™ I found this surprisingly sad, and it of all things broke through my numb shell and made me feel the preciousness of life, even for something seemingly worthless like a bit of rock. By feeling for this arch and being sad it died, it made me by extension see some value in human life too, and therefore I could care more about my own.

It has occurred to me that there are several reasons why I didn’t go through with it. I love natural arches, and being in a favorite location is likely to make one feel better. The Utah desert is sunny, and sunshine is known to improve mood. Also, hiking out to and then climbing a natural arch is decent exercise, and physical activity is a great antidepressant. In summary, favorite environment + sunshine + exercise + the feels for a broken arch = didn’t jump! Remember this for good coping methods. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I returned back to the campground, and nobody I was with knew what could have happened. Yes, if I had jumped, it’s likely they or the Park Service would have been the first, after a search, to find my body. I wasn’t thinking of anybody else at the time. Sorry, I don’t mean to be such a selfish and horrible person! πŸ™ But I am alive, cracks and all, and so soon got to experience my 16th birthday, which actually didn’t suck! πŸ™‚ To quote Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life – It goes on.”

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