I am glad there’s a lot of attention being paid to suicide right now. It’s a topic I understand intimately.
Here’s what I know.
Getting to a place where suicide seems like a reasonable option is a complex process. It’s not simple like breathing in a virus and catching a cold. It takes time and a series of events that overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. The individual struggles through somehow. He/She manages to just make it from one day to the next.
Then one day, something happens that seems insurmountable to the individual. It just seems like too much. The pain is too great.
Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds the resources for coping with pain.
I did not write those words, but I understand them. In 2003, I was in great pain. Life hurt. Each day brought new pain. I struggled through, until an event added that extra pain that made the whole pile of pain too much to bear. I was in a black pit. The pit’s walls were made of slick mud. There was nothing to grasp to pull myself up and out. All was blackness. There was no light. I made a plan, and I was on the verge of carrying it out when the phone rang.
Miraculously, I answered the phone, and I sobbed to the person on the other end of the line what was going on. Like the majority of suicidal people, I did not want to die. I wanted help. I wanted the pain to end. My sobbing words to the other person opened the possibility of getting help. I called my sister who came and took me to the hospital. I got help there.
Slowly, over a period of years, I healed. That bears repeating: I healed. Today, I do not have suicidal thoughts. Today, I live in recovery from mental illness. I practice a regimen to maintain my stability. I take medicine, I talk to a therapist regularly, I exercise, I eat healthy food, and I try to get good sleep. It takes discipline. I am not perfect, but I’m damn good at making sure I do what’s necessary to stay stable.
I’ll continue to take the necessary steps to be well. I like being well. That’s a good indicator of recovery: I like being well.
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I want you to know that I understand.
Here are some resources for getting help with suicidal thoughts.
Here are more resources for mental illness.
I wish you well.