It’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. You are probably seeing lots of posts and memes about suicide, the warning signs and what you can do to prevent someone from killing themselves. They are important, and I hope you are paying attention to them. But they can also be hurtful to a certain group of people—those who have lost someone to suicide. This article is for them.
I was twelve years old the first time I contemplated suicide. Things were pretty bad at home. My step-father was being inappropriate, so I had moved up north with my father and his family. I had just finished the worst school year of my life. I was constantly being bullied and ostracized. One girl even told me, in front of the entire school bus, that I had to change my name, because she wasn’t sharing her name with someone so disgusting.
Lying on the floor of the living room, I wracked my brain, trying to figure out the best way to kill myself. Guns were out, because I didn’t want to leave that kind of mess for my step-mom. I thought about pills, but was afraid they would just find me and pump my stomach and then I’d be in trouble. Slitting my wrists was scary, I didn’t think I was brave enough. In the end, I muddled through the darkness and survived. I never told a soul what I was thinking.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it. I didn’t realize until much later in life, but I was suffering from bi-polar disorder. My brain was malfunctioning. That is why I was having those thoughts.
The suffering continued for many years. Some days I would just lie on the couch, face to the wall, crying. I was useless. I couldn’t do anything right. Everything was a mess and nothing I did made it any better. But I had children and a husband, so I’d get up and drag myself through the muck and the darkness and keep going.
Suicide From The Inside
After my divorce, I found myself buried deep. Every single day was a struggle just to survive. One night my ex said something that cut me to the core. I plummeted over the ledge. Tears poured down my face, I couldn’t make them stop. All I could think was I am worthless, I am horrible, nothing is ever going to be right again, I should just end it all. I put myself in the car and headed for the doctor’s office. On the way, I had to fight to keep myself from driving into the river. Somehow I managed to take a left instead of a right and I got help.
Here’s the part I want you to hear and understand: It wasn’t my ex’s fault. It wasn’t my children’s fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. My brain was malfunctioning and telling me lies. I wasn’t worthless. I wasn’t horrible. In fact, I hadn’t done anything wrong. But my brain: It was locked in darkness so deep and powerful, the light couldn’t penetrate it anymore. Click To Tweet Hugs from my children barely made it through. And even then, all I could think was they would be better off without me.
If you are reading this and you have lost a loved one to suicide, I have a message for you. It was not your fault. A tiny part of their brain knew you loved them, but the other part just used that against them. It told them they were hurting you, that you’d be better off without them. It told them they were no good. And the voice was so loud, so persistent, they believed it. Over all the other voices in their life, they believed the liar, the destroyer, the darkness. It wasn’t because you weren’t there for them, it wasn’t because you didn’t love them enough. It was because suicide is that strong, that powerful, that it drowns out all the good. The pain is so great, death seems to be the only answer.
I’ve walked that line so many times. Sometimes I pushed through it and sometimes I asked for help. Walking into the ER and announcing you want to kill yourself is scary and intimidating, but on at least 3 occasions it saved my life. Where the strength came from, I couldn’t tell you, but I am thankful it came. One day I may not be so lucky.
If you are a survivor of a loved one’s suicide, please stop blaming yourself. Click To Tweet They lost a fight against a deadly foe. Their brain betrayed them, you didn’t. Please know that they loved you. They just couldn’t take the pain anymore.
If you are having thoughts of suicide please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
If you have lost a loved one to suicide, here is one resource that may help: http://www.suicidology.org