mental health

Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Suicide and Existence

Talk about procrastination! I knew I had to post this today and I knew what I wanted to talk about but there was something about this post that just bugged me, especially considering its placement this month. In fact, I also considered not talking about this topic but decided against it. One, it would leave a huge gap in the story I’m trying to tell and more importantly, it’s actually the reason why I decided to do this project on my blog. Plus, the point of this project is to talk about the topics that people don’t want to talk about and suicide isn’t talked about as much as I think it should be discussed

The title of this post is pretty much a trigger warning on its own, but yes, there will be talking about suicide and destructive thoughts. This might be one of the darker posts this month

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It’s hard to pinpoint the time when my first suicide attempt happened. Everyone keeps asking me and I’ll just guestimate. I had already started college, but I’m not sure where in the process I was at. Was it my last year at the community college? Or was it my first year at DePaul? In conclusion, I was about 19 or 20

At this point in my life, I had been struggling with what to do with myself. I didn’t feel like I could choose what I wanted to do with my life, what with my dad constantly butting into my studies by demanding I help him with his work and by causing me financial stress. This caused strain with all of my family members. My parents were on one side, urging me to go into the “family business” and my younger brother didn’t understand what I was going through (he wasn’t entangled in this mess at the time)

I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone in my family. I also didn’t have any friends as I was the type to just go to class, get my work done, and then head home or to work. Classes began to take their toll on me with presentations and my own mind was betraying me.

This was all before I took a break and with everything weighing down on me, I cracked. One night when I was home I broke down crying in my room, which was located in the basement of my then residence. This wasn’t uncommon. I often found myself breaking down after so much stress and I would cry myself to sleep, but this time was different

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I’ve always had frequent headaches and during those years I had them almost daily. I had a habit of keeping a Tylenol bottle in my room and sometimes I would even carry it around for emergencies. After all, my headaches would sometimes get so unbearable that it hurt to be awake. That day I was beyond hope and I took a handful of Tylenol because I just wanted everything to END

I’ve been asked if I ever went to the hospital and my mom asked me how she didn’t realize I’d done this

The answers are pretty simple. No, I didn’t go to the hospital. It seems I didn’t take the appropriate dose, leaving this incident as a failed attempt. And the reason my mom didn’t know about this is that my family is fairly isolated. I often stayed in my room after coming home, only emerging for food, bathroom breaks, and if I had to leave the house. It wasn’t strange for me not to leave my room, especially if I had a tiring day.

I believe this is what happened that day because when I woke up…well, I woke up. I put it behind me and tried to pretend it hadn’t happened.

Suicide is a word I can’t bring myself to say out loud. I feel shame for having attempted to hurt myself because that’s what society presents. In my own household, I was constantly hearing that suicide was a sin because only God had the right to take lives away. We weren’t supposed to hurt ourselves so I never felt like I could tell my parents that I had felt so cornered that I attempted suicide. And so life went on for me

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This stress that caused me to attempt suicide never really went away until very recently (debatable but I’ll get to that later). Because of this, I was constantly wondering, what would be the best way to commit suicide. I didn’t want it to hurt and I didn’t want another failed attempt. I didn’t have access to a gun and I wouldn’t be able to hide something like that. Cutting was immediately discarded because my pain tolerance is very low. Hanging also meant pain

I began to wish something bad would happen to me

I’d never been good at crossing streets, having been almost run over on multiple occasions as a kid, I got into the habit of only crossing when the light turned green (even when the streets were empty). Now I wished I could just get hit so badly it killed me. Or perhaps going to a sketchy area and hoping I’d get shot (those happened frequently enough). Later on, I got into a couple of car collisions and I wondered, what if I caused a collision? Not with someone else, even the thought of hurting someone else makes me sick, but perhaps against a pole or jumping off a freeway bridge…Would I leave a letter? Would it just say bye or would I be resentful? How would my family react? I didn’t dwell on this question for too long, figuring they would move on with time

I didn’t think like this all the time but when I was at my lowest, this was my pattern. My lowest moments began to become more frequent

Then I took that break and I seemed to calm down

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Then the fall of 2018 happened. This was around the time I went back to school and again, I was feeling stressed. While I could now file my own FAFSA (Financial Aid) and I’d gotten better with presentations and speaking, something wasn’t right. I would randomly have days where I just didn’t have the energy to do anything. Where I would be walking to class and I’d suddenly feel the urge to break down. I began to wonder

It was around this time that I finally sought help

I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. Ideally, I was to see my therapist on a weekly basis and my psychiatrist, after I decided to start taking medication, every 3-4 weeks. This was the first time I had opened up verbally to someone about what was happening and it felt good and bad. There were days when I didn’t want to go to my appointments because I felt so ashamed. Why couldn’t I fix my own life? Why did I need the help of medication and doctors? I went to my appointments anyway, but I went in not really believing in my doctors’ goodwill. It was their job, they were actually judging me, talking about me when I was there, thinking I was whining, that I was taking too long to open up, that I was lying or hiding something.

But I also knew I needed to TRY. I tried being as honest as I could and sometimes it went well and usually I felt so drained after a session with my doctors (especially my therapist)

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Then one day it went from thinking to planning. I was going to try overdosing again and this time I’d researched how much Tylenol I had to take in order for it to work. Granted, things could backfire and turn to hell if I didn’t do things right but I was confident. Then I began to write. I hadn’t planned for it to be a suicide letter and I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I was basically saying goodbye to the people I felt were important (in some way, good or bad) in my life. It’s still on my drive

As for what triggered this…it was a few things but it started with my teacher. It was finals week and I went out to see her to talk about my grade and projects. While we were having a talk she said that maybe I should be an artist. That art wasn’t for me. Those words devastated me. I had been at DePaul for so long and now a professional artist was saying it was all a waste of time? That six years of my life had been wasted?

I didn’t say anything to my teacher but that night I cried myself to sleep. It had been a while since I’d last done this

As the weeks and months passed, I was also rejected for art opportunities and this brought my teacher’s words back. Perhaps she was right? Now, I know that job opportunities usually result in failures and that we need to keep trying, but combined with her words, my projects, and financial stress, it brought me to a low I hadn’t felt in years

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This time I didn’t get a chance to hurt myself

On March 19th at 10:47pm, after my family had gone to bed and I had cried quietly in our living room, I sent this email to my doctors:

Lately I’ve been feeling low. I keep thinking about how I just want it all to end. In like a year or two. I keep thinking about how I would say bye to some people. And how I’ll be sad to not see other people anymore but also that I’ll just be glad to be done with things. I feel very tired.

Saying I was tired became a secret message and a way to let my feelings out whenever I was low. I would tell my mom, knowing she would just think I lacked sleep when in reality I just felt tired of living. At this point, my doctors knew this as I’d mentioned it to them before. It almost seems lucky I had an appointment with my therapist the next day and when I arrived, I ended up meeting up with both of my doctors

We discussed my message and it was recommended that I seek more help, which I will talk more about later this week

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Right now I’m in a tricky spot. I haven’t exactly thought about suicide since the end of April, but my thoughts haven’t been exactly healthy. I feel a sense of emptiness in my chest (akin to Megan’s Empty days I’m sure) and I still have moments where I cry (my most recent episode was on Mother’s Day weekend). I feel like I’ve lost interest in everything that used to bring me happiness and when I go to bed, I hope that I just won’t wake up. That I’ll just magically disappear and that the people who will notice will soon forget. And yes, I’ve thought of a plan for this blogging community but I won’t divulge that

My parents know about my suicide attempt and my suicidal thoughts, and there’s something freeing about that. Now, if I disappear, it won’t take them by surprise, is what I keep thinking

There are events that are coming up that people tell me I should be excited for but I can’t even muster that feeling. Most of what I do in life, I do for others. In a sense, I feel like I don’t know how to do something for myself anymore. I don’t have the same stressors that I had before but at this point, I’m just so tired and I feel so broken that it doesn’t matter. I just can’t keep it together anymore

This is a general disclaimer. I am not a doctor or professional of any kind. I am just sharing and talking about my own experiences. If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please seek help! You can receive help at your nearest ER or by calling the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If there is someone that you trust to help you, also contact them to seek help! Remember that you are important, one of a kind, and to take care. Self-care is important for everyone!

 

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Suicide and Existence

  1. Thank you for opening up about this and sharing your story. That was extremely brave of you. ❤ Sending you tons of love and warm wishes. I look forward to reading your next blog post! ❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

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