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The 7 Things I’ve Learned In The 7 Years Since Trying To Kill Myself

7Tonight’s a weird night. It is always a little weird this time of year. I have flashbacks to the day of the incident – the day I tried to kill myself. It is funny what the mind will remember – a beer at work, the Vice Presidential debate, smoking a cigarette with your new roommate. I honestly don’t remember why that was the particular night I decided to die. Why a Thursday night? Why then? Why there? Why at all!

Luckily, I lived past my stay in the ICU and the psych ward. I lived past the psych ward visits that were to come, and all the doctors, and all the therapists. Sigh.

But are here 7 truths, one for every year since that fateful night, that I found in life.

  1. People will surprise you.
    My suicide attempt pushed some people away. It drew others near to me. The guys that have made me laugh and feel amazing are not the men I expected. New friends will step-up to the plate of mental illness and bat for you when you can’t.
  2. You have a purpose.
    My purpose at the moment isn’t grandiose – be a good daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, girlfriend, and friend. Most importantly to be an amazing pet parent. Yes, I spoil her. Yes, I treat her as though she were a human child. She is my baby. But to her, I am the world and she NEEDS me and that gives me purpose.
  3. Sharing your story heals.
    I was a part of the debut cast of This Is My Brave and there was something so exhilarating about letting my secrets out. It is no different here on this blog. We are not singular, but a collection of a whole.
  4. People will love you in spite of your mental illness.
    As I write this a fine gentleman is snoring by my side. I have been “crazy” with him and he accepts that and loves me just the same. My previous, lengthy, relationship was the same way. I told him about my mental illnesses early in our relationship and he accepted me and loved me. Fiercely.
  5. Sometimes you just need your mom.
    Through all of the craziness of the past 7 years, my mom was always in my corner. She would buy me a coffee before every psych appointment knowing that I didn’t know what to do with my hands during those uncomfortable sessions. She (and, of course, my dad) took me in when I was “unwell.” She has taken me for stitches and Geodone shots. And she is there when I call because my anxiety is so high I can barely breathe.
  6. It is okay to take a break.
    While writing my memoir, there were periods – months – when I couldn’t sum up the energy to write. I tried to work. That didn’t work out. And some days, like yesterday, I need only to lay in my bed and be alone and that is okay. It is okay to take a break from the world – socially unplug, go on vacation, or just hole up in your house, not answering the door or phone.
  7. You have to take responsibility.
    7 years ago I didn’t almost just kill myself, but the hearts of my family and friends were at risk. I take responsibility for that. I nearly broke dozens of hearts and completely stopped mine from beating. I have acted irrationally because of my illness. I take responsibility for that – but I also know that faults should be carefully tallied. I am sick. I will make “sick” mistakes. But those are my mistakes and I take responsibility for them.

I am no sage. I don’t know much more about life than you do, but I can appreciate it with maybe a zest you will never know (and, God, I don’t want you to know). I know how precarious life is. I know that one time wasn’t the only time I was in danger.

I am growing. I am trying, these past 7 years, to not be so flippant when it comes to life. That sounds so silly, but I am serious. I don’t want to just willy-nilly leave this Earth. I am glad I am here all these years later and so thankful for the people I have met as well as the people who stood by my side.

Really, that’s what matters – love.


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The 7 Things I’ve Learned In The 7 Years Since Trying To Kill Myself

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2015). The 7 Things I’ve Learned In The 7 Years Since Trying To Kill Myself. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Oct 2015
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