Feb. 26th, 2010

qzeebrella: (butterflyonflower)
In light of Andrew Koenig's untimely death "through suicide" I will speak of something I've talked about here once, a few years ago.

When I was in high school I went through a period in which I was incredibly depressed and suicidal. I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain. My heart ached so much, all the time and all I could think of was, that if I was dead I wouldn't be in pain anymore. I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I saw no future for me. No possibility of the pain ever going away. All I could focus on, in my mind, was the pain I was feeling. Of how all the things in my life at the time just increased the pain I felt. And worse, I didn't think there was anyone I could talk to about it at the time.

My parents were screaming and fighting with each other almost every time they were in the same room. My older sister was going through a rebellious teen age phaze and taking it out on me a bit because I was "the good, quiet" kid by being a bit of a bully. My brother was acting out through minor acts of violence and an anger that I was sometimes terrified of (besides he's younger and, really, how many teen girls would confide in their younger brother?) My younger sister was only 7 or eight. None of the teachers I had at the time were of the sort I would have felt comfortable confiding in what I so desperately needed to confide and, as far as I knew at the time there was no one else I could talk to.

We weren't religious, so no minister, and even if we had a minister would have been a virtual stranger so that would likely have been out for me too. Just one really close friend, but her family situation was worse than mine in so many ways that I couldn't see me "burdening" her with how hopeless I was feeling.

While I was feeling all of this hopeless, endless, depthless pain, I kept going to the knives we had and fingering them (when no one was around) and wondering if I could stand the pain of killing myself that way. For various reasons, that method did not appeal to me. Too much potential pain. I just wanted to go to sleep. After several months feeling this way and thinking of other ways I could end it all (step in front of a vehicle on a nearby highway, jumping off a building head first, etc.) I was taken by my mother to the doctor for bronchitis or pneumonia. He prescribed a heavy antibiotic and prescription strength sleeping pills. We went home.

I wrote a lot of angsty poetry, wrote a goodbye note that I hid under the huge mess in my room, and two days after I was given the prescription strength sleeping pills I headed out with all the pills that were left and headed for one of my "thinking spots." One that was fairly secluded. I had around 20 to 30 pills and some water. I took all of the pills. Lay down and waited to fall asleep. Thinking I would never wake up. I got really, really tired. Nearly fell asleep, when I heard voices nearby. I didn't want to be found, so I struggled to my feet, intending on just getting away, to somewhere more secluded where I could lay down and sleep and not be interrupted. I kept stumbling, falling to the ground, ever so tempted just to lay wherever I fell and then hearing a car or something and thinking, "I can't stop here." Stumbling back to my feet and going on. After falling a few times, I suddenly felt a surge of happiness flow through me. A surge of hope and I realized that maybe, just maybe life was worth it. Maybe it was worth giving a chance.

So I began fighting how tired I felt. Walking, stumbling, walking, stumbling. Hours later, when it was nearly dark (I had taken the pills around lunch) I stumbled back home where my mom was in the truck, about to head into town for groceries. I went with her. That night I fought sleep hard. The next day, around noon I fell asleep and slept nearly 24 hours. I really do not know what would have happened if I had just stayed where I was in the beginning, what would have happened if I had ignored the voices and just let myself fall asleep, but I still think if I had ignored the voices I would be dead now and I am so glad I am not. That I am alive.

Now, being glad to be alive didn't happen overnight. It was a struggle. A struggle for months later not to try again. A struggle to fight the pain and anguish I was feeling. But I held tightly to the memory of that surge of happiness and hope. I kept looking for little things to be happy for and holding onto those little things as tightly as I could. Slowly I crawled out of the deep hole of depression. Slowly I began seeing the good in life. Slowly I began to see that life could be mostly good.

In the over twenty years since then I have struggled on and off with depression. I've even struggled against the temptation of taking up a knife and ending it all. But, even in my darkest hours since then, I've remembered there is hope. Life can get better. I can have happiness in my life. It may be that I am in a low wage job, doing menial work, I may be a loner with just a whole bunch of online friends and a family that loves me and a cat that bosses me around, but I do make a difference in life. Every day I work, I make a difference to the patient I help. Every time I do a random act of kindness for someone, I make a difference. Everytime I do my best to live a life where I do meaningful to me work, allow myself to find joy and fullfillment in learning something new even though it will never lead to a degree, everytime I write or am creative in some other way I find enjoyment (is that a word?), everytime I just do the "same old, same old" its worth it. For each day brings something I'm grateful for, even if only that "hey I got to read (or reread) that great story and daydream a bit and just be me." It's worth it. For I think just being me is a great thing to be, even if I make only the tiniest difference as I pass through life.

"suicide prevention links" for Canada and the U.S.

"suicide prevention tips"
Also has tips on helping a suicidal person reach out for life.

"Warning signs"

If outside of North America and know of links for suicide prevention, link them here and I'll add them to the post.

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qzeebrella

November 2012

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