You see I have made that choice – whether to continue living or to die. I have held my life in the palm of my hand in the form of many, many tiny pills. It is hard to explain because I don’t remember having a plan and, as far as I am concerned, I showed none of the signs – dwelling on death, giving away of my things, etc. I had been much more depressed in the past. For years I had struggled with depression before being diagnosed as beautifully bipolar. But that night, a week after starting my new job as a Style Editor, I decided to end my life. I swallowed all those tiny peach pills. I wrote a note and I lay down in my new bed, in my new apartment, and went to sleep for what I thought would be forever.
My new roommate found me passed out on the kitchen floor. An ambulance came for me and I ended up in Intensive Care. From there it was on to the psych ward for the first time.
When I was released I was so fragile, both physically and mentally. They had me on a mountain of meds and I had to be wheeled through the airport with my mother by my side as I headed back to Oklahoma from California to “rest and get well.”
Its been a rough road to wellness, one I hope to never travel again. I lived on the love seat in my parents’ living room. Sometimes I made it to the bed in the guest room. Sometimes I didn’t. I saw both a therapist and psychiatrist weekly.
That year of my life fucking sucked.
That was years ago and here I sit typing. What if I had died when I tried to commit suicide? There would be broken hearts – my mom, dad, brother and sister. My grandma and my cousins. My uncles. My best friends who had watched me struggle and had tried to help.
I had “Hope,” my gorgeous beast of a dog that was named entirely for that reason. She came along when things were dark and hard and in her I saw a hope, a future.
I would have never written my memoir – a book that I hope will find its way into the hands of others trying to navigate this illness.
All the birthdays and holidays and learning to cook a killer lasagna and minutes in the sun and days at the beach and kisses and hugs – I would have missed them all.
I would have never known that I was beautifully bipolar, that there was a reason for all the madness.
There would be no words here to encourage you, dear reader, to live. Because I can tell you – living is better than dying and that voice in your head that tells you any differently is lying. I know what it sounds like. Seductive. Convincing. Like it knows what the hell it is talking about. I have been suicidal many times. I KNOW that voice. But that voice is an amalgamation of chemical deficits in your brain, a bit of bad wiring. You are not meant to kill yourself. You are meant to live.
If you or someone you knows is contemplating suicide or maybe just needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
And as a final thought, here are the lyrics to Lady Antebellum’s song “One Day You Will,” appropriate on such a day as this.
“One Day You Will” by Lady Antebellum
Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks
Like no one would even notice
If you left this town and never came back
You walk outside and all you see is rain
You look inside and all you feel is pain
And you can’t see it now[Chorus]
But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will
What am I doing here anyway
With the weight of all those disappointments
Whispering in your ear
You’re just barely hanging by a thread
You wanna scream but you’re down to your last breath
And you don’t know it yet[Repeat Chorus]Find the strength to rise above
Find just what you’re made of, you’re made of[Repeat Chorus]
One day you will
Oh one day you will