Back in July, I decided I wanted to commit suicide.
I stayed at a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn for a few days at the time. Though by day, I enjoyed various parts of New York in Stupid Hot weather, I stared at the guest room ceiling at night, bawling uncontrollably over a past I could never change. Nightfall is when the Darkness set in and my mind would ruminate on the vast amount of reasons why life was never going to get better for me. I have depression and mood swings, so I would be laughing one minute, angry an hour later before becoming depressed or angry and so forth. And this all happened in one day. And it worsened at night because I don’t fall asleep very easily and my brain has the energy to play Ping Pong with my emotions.
The stay in Brooklyn was the breaking point. I was once again wide awake, my mind and emotions playing Ping Pong. Suddenly, I planted the idea in my mind to hang myself when I got back home. I even went so far as to search the Internet by phone to learn how to tie a noose (the Yahoo! Home and Gardening Chat Room was nooooooo help at all). When it was time to get home, I left the silent apartment, took a taxi to Penn Station and hopped on the train towards home. I immediately texted a suicide note/apology letter to my ex-boyfriend, who lives in another state, and told him straight out that when I reached my destination, I would end my life. I thought nothing of my actions after I pressed “Send” and turned off my phone. I cried covering my ears, stopped crying gnawing away at my fingernails, laughed at anime downloaded on my laptop, stared out the window silently.
Unbeknownst to me, he cared enough to call our mutual friends, Corrine and Susan. When I turned my phone back on, they left voice mails trying to find out what was happening. When I called them back (it took me a few minutes to do so), Corrine and Sue were trying to find out the time I was arriving. They asked me what my plan was and where I was going to hang myself. I told them what I was thinking about: about heading to the beach in the middle of the night and hanging myself in my car with one of my scarves. No one would be able to find me because I would not say which beach in particular. I told them I was tired of being depressed, of being depressing and that people would be better off if I were not here. My head was telling me nothing I did served a purpose.
To make a long story short, my two friends met me at the train station. At first, I cringed because I just wanted to do what I needed to do and get it over with. But when I saw them, Sue and Corrine wrapped their arms around me and that was when I broke down crying. We walked to my car, which was parked at the train station, got in, and talked about what was going on. I was not only moody, but depressed because I felt so unstable. I was just sick of everything, of not knowing what/how I was going to feel next. As she held my hand, Corrine looked me straight in the eye and said in a serious tone:
“Dearie. Listen to me–suicide is not an option. There are many options, but suicide isn’t one of them.”
For as long as I have breath in my body and a brain in my head, I will never forgot those words. She was right: suicide is not going to do anything but take me away from the people who truly care about my well-being and who enjoy my presence in their lives. My mental illness is treatable. Therefore something can be done about it.
Why am I telling you all this, you ask? Because many sexual abuse survivors have experienced what I have a couple of months ago. Bass and Davis (2008) write that “Sometimes you [the survivor] feel so bad, you want to die. The pain is so great, your feelings of self-loathing so strong, the fear so intense, or you are so weary of the battle that you really don’t want to live” (p. 36). Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and Post-tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are common among those who were sexually abused in their lifetime. While many develop certain coping mechanisms to deal with the abuse, others just become suicidal and sadly act on their ideations.
Yes, I was tired: I was tired of feeling like damaged goods, going to therapy and taking medication. I was tired of searching for meaning behind the sexual abuse. I was emotionally, physically, mentally and exhausted and–though that reaction is common–wanting to kill myself is not. So I did something about it. I reached out to my therapist, who recommended I see a psychiatrist because I may have Rapid Cycling–which is usually associated with Manic Depression. Up to the day of my appointment with the psychiatrist, I stayed with Corrine and Sue because they wanted to make sure I stayed safe (which I’m eternally grateful for).
Since that night, I started a new medication that evens out my moods to a degree. I still feel Stormy Gray every once in a while, but it is not to the point where I was before. And when the thoughts do come, I reach out to my support system or meditate to find out what my head is trying to make me do. If you having thoughts about harming yourself in any way, please speak to a therapist and/or psychiatrist to see what can be done for you. Call the Lifeline Network in your area, reach out to your Higher Spirit. Or reach out to your support system–hell, I’LL be your support system. But DO NOT HARM YOURSELF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Suicide is NOTHING to play with and you don’t have to go that route because you’re worth the breath in your body.
So I’m channeling Corrine when I say this to you: “Dearie. Listen to me–suicide is not an option. There are many options, but suicide isn’t one of them.”
Bass, E. & Davis, L. (2008). The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (4th Ed.). New York, NY: Harper-Collins Publishers