My Silent Attempt At Suicide Taught Me That Speaking Out About Mental Health Can No Longer Be Taboo
Speaking up can save a life.
Today was denial waiting to be confronted. Truth wanting to be faced. Old stories needing to be addressed. Wounds waiting for answers. As the numbness slowly thawed, one by one, these realizations crept to the surface, making it very clear that something had to be done, today. Today. Is. Just. Not. IT.
I woke up in a nasty funk; suffocated by sadness, paralyzed by thought. I physically did not want to get out of bed and to be quite honest, if I wasn’t in a hotel room with check out quickly approaching, I probably wouldn’t have. I cried on the phone for approximately fifty-one minutes before my partner finally convinced me to get breakfast with them. I cried the entire time driving there, hell I even cried while eating breakfast. The more that I cried, the worse that I felt. Nothing was helping, nothing I read, nothing I watched, nothing anyone said. Death was the only promising solution today.
I’ve visited the idea of death many times before but never actually acted on the thought. So I shocked myself when I began shoving painkillers down my throat, using alcohol to help push them down. My partner was furious when I told her what I had done. But in that moment I was so desperate, I didn’t even care. She threatened to take me to the hospital and when we stopped by her house, unbeknownst to her, I drove off when she went inside. “I’m sorry,” being the only words I could muster up. I drove to the cemetery across the street from my house, I didn’t want her to come after me. I found a random tombstone, shoved more pills down my throat, and just laid there.
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I couldn’t stop crying. I was tired of hating myself, tired of staring at my reflection and so badly wanting to see the me that everyone else saw. I grew envious of the ways I would so eloquently touch others with my words. I no longer had the desire to write my pain onto pages that would never talk back to me. I felt so empty, cold, and alone. I wanted so badly to trade places with this person underneath the ground. I wanted so badly to bury this pain once and for all. In that moment, death was the only thing that made me feel anything because I felt it so deep on the inside. I had hit my version of rock bottom.
When I woke up, I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I didn’t remember passing out. It took me a few minutes to recollect everything that took place. I began to feel guilt and shame and embarrassment as the magnitude of what I had actually tried to do hit me. But with it also came mercy because, for reasons beyond me, I had survived.
I find myself lost in the chaos of my own mind more times than I like to admit. I never thought that one day I would be the mastermind behind my own demise. Every day is an internal battle for my life, slaying demons masked in insecurities and trauma. I’ve come to learn that it’s not ME that I want to physically kill, but rather these pervasive thoughts that haunt me and make me feel like the only way to stop them is to die. That’s how much power they have over me. They make me forget all of life as I know it. They make me forget memories, accomplishments, my beautiful dreams, and most importantly, they make me forget about how deeply and immensely loved I am. They make me feel as if death is all there is.
Although we are breaking the stigma on mental health, the issue is still taboo, especially when it comes to suicide. People are so afraid to talk about it; you can’t even mention the word without people getting all weird, which in part only contributes to the problem of actual suicide. People commit suicide because they do not feel free to be who they really are, dark thoughts and all. They fear speaking out due to the stigmas of being locked up in a mental institution or put on pills. They fear being dismissed, pitied, or deemed crazy, so they suffer in silence.
Desire for death, at least to me, is a natural response to the world we live in. Every day we are bombarded with messages that glorify violence, separation, and all around hate. We are rewarded for negative traits such as selfishness which in turn makes us cold and aloof. We have mastered hiding so well, that oftentimes we don’t even know who we are. This lack of true connection and self-expression tangled with our own experiences and trauma gets internalized and ends up messing with our psyche. And even though everyone may not necessarily want to kill themselves, we have a funny way of running from our feelings. Whether through work, drugs, food, buying things, alcohol, or toxic relationships, we attempt to numb ourselves in order to survive.
For so long, that’s exactly what I tried to do until it no longer became substantial, and death became my only escape. I wanted so desperately to rid myself of my pain not knowing that my pain only wanted so desperately to be felt. In truth, I wanted, and still want, to be seen, in totality, as a human being, agony and all. I no longer wish to carry the burden of hurting in silence. So this is me suffering out loud.
This is me screaming with you, whoever you are, that today is not it. It's not your last.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has free resources to help.