Did you ever have one of those days when you just felt like, “What the fuck is the point? I mean, really. What is the damn point?” I have had a few (dozen) throughout my life and the worst part of that is when I feel really low… like really low that I want to reach out to someone but I already know how the conversation will go because I have had the conversation multiple times with several different people.
One person I had that conversation with was my mother when I was thirteen years old. 13.
I told her how sad I was and that I wanted to die, hell, I even cut my wrists a little (this was before cutting actually became recognized not so long ago) and my cries were swept under the rug… yes. I was whisked off to my paternal grandmother’s house and they gave me Vitamin E pills to open up and put on my scars. No one asked me what was wrong or why I was so sad.
See, when people blatantly fail an attempt, it is indeed a cry for help. And there are signs that someone is thinking of taking their own life. Things like:
They stop paying bills.
They reconnect with old friends.
They start ticking things off of their “bucket list” when they are still fairly young.
They become distant and maybe moody.
They may start engaging in dangerous behaviors.
They start talking about things like what the world would be like without them or asking people ‘what would you do if I disappeared?’ (Not verbatim – just along those lines… reflecting on the world without their presence).
The second time I slit my wrists was a little more severe and I still have the giant scar on my right wrist (I’m left-handed). I was taken to the hospital, stitched up and then sent off to EPPI (Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute). I actually had a decent time there with all the other crazy people. My room-mate was a fifty year old manic-depressive whose family had pretty much given up on her. I’m still not so sure I was serious then… I just wanted someone to LISTEN. Just fucking LISTEN to me for God’s sake.
I can think of one time I was serious about taking my own life. It was in the summer of 1996, I had four children, was recently separated from my husband at the time and had just found out he knocked up his underage girlfriend.
Well, isn’t that just fucking great?
Anyway, this is how it went down:
I started using a lot of drugs (stimulants).
I stopped talking to my friends.
I stopped eating.
I stopped caring.
The scariest part of this is that while all the signs were there, I told no one I wanted to die in the weeks leading up to the event. I took a handful of Ultram (a muscle relaxer) and in about fifteen minutes I started to feel sick and light-headed… I ran to the sink to try to puke the pills up because my life (and the lives of those I loved literally flashed before my eyes), but it was too late and I stumbled into the living room. That was the last thing I remembered before waking up in Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia some days later.
I died. I literally died and somehow 911 was called, EMT’s showed up and worked on me for a solid thirty minutes before they got a pulse. There was no oxygen to my brain for thirty minutes. I now suffer from short-term memory loss, strange thoughts that realistically no sane person has, and can finally remember some of the dreams I have at night.
My suicide attempt was on July 19, 1996.
So, that is where the kicker is… when a suicidal person is set on taking their own life, they aren’t telling anyone which is why it is so important to have an awareness about those we love and care for; especially if they have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts and ideation.
Because here is the even scarier part about suicide:
We aren’t going to say shit to anyone because of the stigma that revolves around suicide.
It’s true and it’s sad.
The most recent episode I had with suicidal ideation was in the middle of September 2014 after an acute episode of sadness. I sat here rocking myself and crying and wanting to die and even went in the basement to test a beam to see if it would hold me when I hanged myself. I sobbed as I begged for a sign from God to hold on… nothing. I thought of calling someone, but wait.
They’ll laugh at me. They’ll tell me to grow up. They’ll tell me I need to stop being so fucking selfish and look at the good in my life.
Do you think if I saw the good in my life that I’d be thinking of ending my life?! Here are some of the things people say to those that actually take a deep breath and tell someone they are thinking of taking their own life:
- Everybody goes through that
- You have so much to live for
- Grow up
- Get a real problem
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself
These types of responses make a suicidal person feel little, unworthy and embarrassed. Ultimately, they solidify all the reasons why they want to end their life in the first place.
So if you think someone you know or love is dangerously close to ending it all in a fleeting moment (or even a planned moment)… just listen to them without judgement. Please. It is the difference between life and death.
Check out some links below if you’d like to learn more about prevention and bereavement.