Suicide is a topic that has been so taboo for too long and lately it is bursting into the spotlight for some attention to prevention. Good. It’s about time.
I’ve never shared my story with more than a couple people because I always felt like people who talk about “the one time I almost killed myself” were seeking negative attention. But since today is Suicide Prevention Day and after years of working with troubled teens who struggle with suicide ideation, I thought I’d share.
The difference between me living a happy, healthy life where I’m following my dreams and am happier than I could have ever imagined, and not even being on this earth anymore, comes down to one day. One decision.
The day I decided to kill myself was thoroughly planned out. I hadn’t made the decision lightly and truly my only concern was that someone would have to find me. I planned that very well also, so that there would be minimal trauma for those left after I was gone.
I think a huge misconception about suicide is that it is always for attention. It’s always rash and reactionary. Sometimes, sure. Sometimes a suicide attempt is a cry for help and nothing more. But usually, if a person wants to kill themselves, it’s because that is the last motherfucking option they think they have.
I’m not going to go into why I felt I needed this. It doesn’t matter anymore. And it doesn’t matter for others going through their trials. Whatever the struggle, if a person feels they can’t cope, then they can’t. They won’t.
So I picked the day. I decided on the method. I deliberated over the details. I was ready.
The people I was living with were going to a movie that night and I was only sad that for what they would return home to. They were nice people and didn’t really deserve what they were going to have to deal with. They asked me to join them at the movie a few times but I adamantly objected, I had other plans.
But then, right as they were leaving the house, a friend, Jesse, from the neighborhood stopped by and they invited her to the movie. She readily agreed under the impression that I was also going. When I told her I was not going she begged me because it would be awkward for her to go without me.
See I lived with a married couple from my church. For various reasons I couldn’t live at home anymore and they had graciously taken me in. They were young and fun and I really did like living with them. Jesse was also from my church and knew the couple… but not necessarily well enough to want to spend the evening with them alone.
Over and over I refused. My excuses knew no limits. I. Was. Busy.
But somehow Jesse talked me into going.
That girl saved my life.
It was that one day. That one moment. That one persistent little blonde girl changed the course of my life.
I had such a good time with the three of them at that movie. I was able to legitimately forget my problems that evening; a feat I thought impossible.
When we returned home I thought about following through with my plans anyway but found I wasn’t in the mood. I had been contemplating suicide for MONTHS and all of a sudden I wasn’t in the mood?
Not that I was magically cured of my problems in one night. The feelings returned the next day and for months afterward, but my view had changed. If I could have one good night through it all, there was hope that things would eventually change permanently.
The night of the movie with Jesse I had rushed out of the house because she harried me into going so I didn’t bring a jacket. At one point I was cold and she gave me her sweater. I wore that thing every day. I used that sweater as a reminder that there is light in the darkness.
A couple years later I threw the sweater away. I didn’t need it anymore. It had been a talisman for hope but it was beginning to do the opposite, reminding me of the times when I needed the sweatshirt. I could now remind myself that no matter how hard things got, there would be better times.
I don’t know how sharing this story will help those trying to help teenagers in pain. It was really just chance and kismet that Jesse came over and MADE me go to that movie. But maybe this story can be a source of perspective for those currently struggling.
To look at my life now, no one could imagine that I could have ever been at such a low point. I am truly, genuinely happy, successful, and positive. But it wasn’t always like this. And it won’t always be. Through it all, though, I remember that it always gets better.
And it takes just one moment to turn it all around.
*** If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help!! Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Someone is there to help 24/7. 1-800-273-8255 ***