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I Tried So Hard And Got So Far (but in the end it doesn’t even matter)
July 21, 2017, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A lot of people are talking about suicide today. They are trying to make sense of it, why someone–especially someone with so much to live for–would do such a thing. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it because really the only person who knows why is already dead.

I can’t rationalize why anyone else kills themselves. I cannot supply warning signs or techniques if you suspect someone close to you is nearing the edge of nothingness.

 

What I can do, however, is tell you about what my mind did when I brushed with suicide. This will be hard to write out. But I am going to do it anyway.

I remember being afraid; afraid of everything. Afraid of being alone because I didn’t trust myself. Afraid to drive my car alone. Afraid to be in the kitchen surrounded by blades.

I would line up all of my medications on the bathroom counter,  like a firing squad. I would google about lethal combinations. Google isn’t a great tool to find out how to kill yourself, by the way.

I would go through giant waves of emotion. I would sob for a whole day straight in a dark room in a lonely bed, curled up as small as I could make myself. I would sob and imagine everyone else out there in the world doing things. Making something of themselves. Breathing. Just breathing. I would sob knowing that I was damaging my daughter; knowing that I was not the kind of mother she deserved. She would bring me things as I remained bed ridden. Notes, stuffed animals, snacks. She would hold my hand, her skin cool to the touch and her large brown eyes showing no fear. This isn’t right, I would tell myself. This isn’t right at all. She is going to grow up damaged because she didn’t have a normal mother.

Other days, I would be numb. I would feel nothing and those were the days I was most afraid–not the hysterical days where I would tear at my skin screaming in a locked bathroom. The silence inside of my mind was terrifying. Those days I thought about leaving. Those were the usual days I thought about leaving.

Because, to me, suicide was not the idea of dying or killing myself. It was not some sort of cry for help.

The idea that lured me so close to the darkness was to just not exist anymore. To convince myself that I was doing more harm than good to the people around me, to the world. I would lie in bed and hope to sink into the mattress. I didn’t want some dramatic ending where someone would find my body. I didn’t want blood or vomit or mess or screams. I just wanted to fade away, go away, not be here anymore. The world felt like it was too much for me. I felt too small. I felt like I had no where that I belonged.

No amount of encouragement changed that, I am sad to say. I was surrounded by loved ones who would tell me to hold on. I convinced myself they were just being polite or felt obligated. They will get over it once you are gone, my brain would say to me each time. Lies. So many lies inside of my own head.

And what can you do when you’ve reached that point? When even your own mind has betrayed you? My psychiatrist tried everything. Every combination of medication she could think of; she even went onto a forum and asked for advice to save me.

I was sent to therapy. Therapy has never worked for me and this was no different. The therapist I was assigned wanted to do cognitive behavioral therapy–which sounded good during the initial pitch; to retrain my brain to react differently when intrusive thoughts forced themselves in. But there was no urgency. She wanted me to make a chart everyday of what seemed to trigger my suicidal thoughts and what I was doing to try and get through that moment. I felt like just handing her a piece of paper that said “EVERYTHING ALL OF THE THINGS” on it. I stopped going to see her after 3 appointments. I couldn’t deal with something like that. I needed a faster action plan. I was dying. I considered myself dying at that point.

Several times friends came close to bringing me back to the psychiatric hospital that I had been to years before. I thought about it. I legitimately thought about it. But no. I knew I would not get well in there. I would not be well in there.

I fell into despair. I know I blogged quite a bit about this while it was unraveling–how I felt like I was lost out at sea with no shore in sight, how I felt that I was face down in mud and someone kept pressing their boot against my back so that I continued to choke and suffocate slowly.

It was suffering beyond articulation. Everyday.

Entire churches prayed for me. Everyone was gentle to me. Everyone was trying the best they could to save me. But nothing was working and that made me feel like I was not meant to be saved.

Another lie.

I wanted to stay. I wanted to feel something stir inside of me to finally let some sort of joy in…some sort of lightening of the heart. Even a trip to Disney World could not bring me out of it. I remember walking through the park with my 4 year old who was all wide eyed and smiles and trying so hard to be happy. Trying to convince myself that I should be feeling happy right now. But it didn’t work. You can see it even in the pictures. I was a shell.

I don’t remember exactly how long I went through this. I don’t remember when it started or when it started to landslide. I have whole chunks of time that I can’t recall. I was put on so many different medications that I almost am not sure if the lack of memory is organic or a side effect. I still struggle with memory.

I didn’t wake up one day and realize there was so much to live for. I didn’t wake up and open the curtains and let the sun shine on my face and feel its warmth down to my bones.

The first thing that saved my life was my psychiatrist finally breaking down and throwing out her Hail Mary move–putting me on Lithium. Lots of it. That eventually stabilized me into at least not wanting to die. It was a painful drug. It messed with my entire body. But I didn’t kill myself.

What eventually brought me back to life wasn’t heavy medication, or a sense that I needed to take control of my mind and my life. It was much more nuanced than that.

It was a stirring of my soul. I had been trying to align my heart and my mind for so long that I had forgotten about my soul. C.S. Lewis has said that you do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.

My body had betrayed me, yes. In every sense. But something in my life surprisingly reached out and shook my soul a little bit, waking it up. That’s when I started to feel lighter. That’s when I started to think about changes I could make to myself and the life around me to keep myself safe.

 

I guess what I am saying is that everyone has something to live for, but a quiet or loud mind can blind you against that faster than you can imagine. Depression lies. I know everyone says that, but it really does. It makes you feel not just insignificant, but worse; it makes you feel like a burden. It convinces you that nothing in your life will ever work out. It will make you feel unworthy of the things in your life that somehow did work out. You will feel already half gone because you can no longer rely on your body to work in your favor. You will no longer be on your own side.

But allow your soul to be stirred by something–no matter how small. Your soul is your backup generator. The power may fail but you are not dead inside.

You need to find something that will remind yourself that you are worth saving.

 

Everyone is worth saving.

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