Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hot Topics: Suicide

A recent incident with a friend inspired me to write this. Before you read further, if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, there is professional help out there for you. You are not alone.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

I recently had a fight with someone who I considered a friend, and a person I looked up to. As a disabled Veteran, that automatically earned my respect. However, she's also a self-published author, and we had a lot of similarities personality and interest wise. As my friend, she stood up for me and went out of her way when my stalker was harassing me. A wonderful woman in many ways.

However, a conversation with her turned into a fight. In my eyes, I was trying to support her in a moment of sadness and a threat of erasing a project she loved dearly. In her eyes, perhaps due to the emotional state she was in at the time, she felt I was giving her 'tough love' and felt attacked. It was implied to me that I was making her want to kill herself. A cruel thing you can say to anyone, by the way, especially a friend.

I wont go into further details of that incident in this blog. However, coming away from it I felt inspired to talk about suicide and my experiences with it. Suicide is very serious, and while some people might get the mindset that people just want attention when they talk about being suicidal, that's not always the case. And even if it is... by giving them that attention they need, you are helping them remember that they are not alone.

I've unfortunately had people close to me who died from suicide. Even as recently as last year. When you lose someone you know to suicide... it is a horrible feeling. You question if there was anything you could have done different to stop it. You wonder all kinds of "what if" thoughts. It torments you for a long time and... you'll never really settle on a right answer. There is no right answer for the tragedy of someone ending their life willingly prematurely. Its only sad.

I too, am a survivor of suicide. In my teen years, I went through some very horrible experiences. I also suffered from clinical manic depression, and was seeing therapists for it and taking meds. I was a cutter... cutting myself helped bring me back to reality when my head was drowning in depression. Was it good to do? No. But at the time, I did not know healthier ways of managing my depression. I also explained to friends a few times that I was feeling suicidal. They helped pull me back from the brink many, many times. I can only imagine the fear and sadness I must have caused them then.

One day however, the depression won. I had my sleeping pills. I'd had a fight with someone that day, and was feeling particularly alone. I thought... "I'll just take this many and hope it knocks me out for several days so I don't have to face the world. If it kills me... so be it." By 'this many' I'd taken half of the pills that were left... somewhere around six or seven I think. I just wanted to escape the world and escape my mind. I was willing to risk my life to try to coma through a few days. That is when things went bad.

The sleeping pills caused me a temporary case of amnesia, as the doctor told me. This means, I literally forgot that I had taken those pills... but remembered the intention to take them originally. Thus, I ended up taking the rest of the bottle thinking it was the first time still. So I swallowed somewhere around a dozen pills, partly by accident, partly on purpose. The only reason I can tell you the rest right now is because it was told to me by my mother, and the doctor, because that day is no longer in my memory. Its just... blank. A very scary feeling.

My heart had stopped at one point, but I was revived. Eventually I was 'aware' or conscious enough that the doctors decided to use the charcoal method to empty my stomach. That means, for hours, I was vomiting liquid charcoal like the exorcist. I ruined my favorite shirt too. All I remember is waking up in the hospital, and for another hour or two apparently I asked "what happened?" to my Mom 20+ times. The amnesia was still affecting me and my memory was all kinds of messed up. I've also had some memory issues since that incident.

The reason I'm sharing my personal story here, is because I hope to help others see that I understand, and can relate to their pain. I too, have done my best to talk some of my friends back from the ledge of suicide. Its not always an easy thing to deal with emotionally, but its important that you at least try. Even if you get it wrong, you'll be satisfied that you did your personal best.

I never attempted suicide again after that, but that doesn't mean suicidal thoughts hadn't remained in my mind. I just learned ways as I got older to manage it in a healthier way. I also finally got on some medications that helped take the edge off and make it easier for me to deal with and face. I'm thankful I didn't die that day, because there is still so much more left for me to experience in life, including this moment of sharing my story with you. Maybe it will help you, or help you to help someone you care about. You might not get it right... but just trying, can often be enough for someone. It was for me.

I'd like to now share this story which I saw recently. It reflects very well the thought process of someone about to commit suicide, and it comes from two viewpoints. Hopefully it can help someone out there understand better the mindset of those fighting depression. You are not alone, no matter how much it feels like it.

Article: "I survived jumping off the golden gate bridge."