Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I have many conflicting feelings about what this word ‘suicide’ stands for and I will share them with you in this post. You may agree disagree and I hope you will comment as you see fit. As many of you, dear readers, already know my story, I am going to share some of it again in hopes that it might help someone else.
A little over a decade ago I had my first suicide attempt in California. It was bad. I was taken to the emergency room late at night and ended up in intensive care. I really do not remember much. After that I went to the psych ward for a three day hold. A three day hold is customary if a person tries to kill him or herself. It gives the person a chance to stabilize. At the end of that period if everyone, being the case worker and psychiatrist and perhaps others, agrees then a judge rules if you go home or if you stay in the hospital. I was allowed to leave, partly because my parents had made arrangements to see a psychiatrist and therapist back in Oklahoma where I would resume living with them. It was in Oklahoma that I first learned I had an illness called bipolar disorder. Before that, I’d never heard of it.
My next attempt in Oklahoma was not as dramatic as my first, but it did require another emergency room visit, stitches, and the hospital psychologist. I had to stay in the psych ward, but this time it was for a longer period – five days. It was miserable there. No real therapy. Horrible food for the vegetarian I was at the time. But at least there was a visiting hour. My mom came every evening. Same kind of escape deal, the judge and all that. I remember as we left, looking out the window to the thirteenth floor of the hospital where I had stayed and was so happy to be out and free.
I attempted suicide two more times, that is right – a total of four. I was and am very sick. I will tell you why in the incidents I can remember choosing to die. I felt hopeless. I thought the horrible feeling I had was never going to go away. I felt isolated and alone. I thought no one could understand how badly I felt. I thought no one cared. I thought it would be better that way, that I finally would not be a burden to anyone anymore.
I will tell you what, I was full of shit. Everyone cared. Many people wanted to help. Yes, I felt horrible, but I would not feel that way forever.
If you ever consider suicide and I hope you do not, dear reader, keep these things in mind. Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary situation. Permanent. No second chances. There are people who will listen, complete strangers care and answer lifelines when you need to talk or text. (Find below that information). But friends, family, clergy, school counselors, teachers, therapists, your doctor – they care too and will try to help. If you are feeling suicidal talk to SOMEOONE! Remember that people and animals need you. How do you think the holidays will feel to your family and/or friends if you are not there to celebrate with them? One time the only thing holding me to this Earth was my dog. I thought if I go away, what will she think? No one can explain an owner’s death to an animal, so the animal is left to wonder the rest of its life why did you leave them. I have learned that suicide is selfish because of all you leave behind. You are one of a kind and cannot be replaced. Choose to live.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255
TEXT CONNECT TO 741741