I wanted to share my story with suicidality for the Art is Survival month of September which is self-harm and suicide awareness month (on their website). I’d encourage you to do the same too, and you can be international, too. Plus you get a painting out of it, that’s awesome!!
Any who, it took me nearly 1 whole week before I have finally submitted my story, seven tries later.
As such, I have a ton of attempts before that golden 7th one (from what I kept) so I’m going to be sharing them with you all here. For this one, it is attempt #1.
I don’t know what the official title for Number 7 will be on their website, but for now I am calling this the series of “Voice from the Darkness”.
I hope it gives another look into my experiences, as I know I’ve talked about some of this before, I think, but also not at all. Only briefly mentioned.
Also, of course, TRIGGER WARNING: This piece and series deals with explicit mention of suicidality and self-harm. Proceed with caution, my friends.
Also, random update, I totally finished reading another book and will have some book reviews coming later next week. Also, this is part of what I’ll be doing for the month of September for suicide prevention awareness.
As for the first attempt writing this part of my story, I was struggling to come up with an objective for the story, and got very detailed in this first attempt. I begrudgingly had to realize I wouldn’t complete the story in one-go, and in fact, it would take many tries later.
Also, it should be known that I kept a good amount of the information from attempt 5 and 6 and just reworded and re-stylized the piece around them. Anywho, without further ado.
I’ve tried to kill myself.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
I’ve tried to kill myself.
There, that’s a bit more accurate.
I don’t often talk about my suicide attempts.
When I do my NAMI In Our Own Voice presentations, there’s just not enough time to squish them in. On my blog it’s mentioned in my about section, but I haven’t often talked about it in other posts.
I’ve spoken out about the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder I live with that focuses on self-harm and suicide obsessions. I’ve spoken about the genuine suicidal thoughts, how bad things got for me, and about the things that I did (i.e. acting on the suicidal thoughts and scratching myself). I’ve talked about my three hospitalizations. I’ve talked about the secondary depression–hell, I’ve even talked about suicide prevention.
But I don’t often talk about the suicide attempts, themselves.
They’re pretty damn important though, so I don’t know why it is I don’t mention them.
But I’ll mention them here. And this piece will be about them. And maybe, maybe that will help just a little bit. Because it’s an important topic, one society should be engaging with more than it is.
I first tried to kill myself on Tuesday, January 6th 2015. I overdosed on a three year old painkiller that I had been prescribed from my latest spinal fusion surgery. I took five of the pills. I put them in a plastic zip-lock bag and stored them in my school backpack. This was four days before I tried to kill myself.
On the day of my essay to be due, I went to school without said essay in hand but with the pills instead. I considered, in my procrastinated state of mind that I could still try and work on the paper and pass it in, or that I could kill myself and then not have to worry about the paper at all.
That’s right; I attempted suicide on my college campus. This is because my rule of thumb was not to kill myself at home, as I didn’t want my parents to find me.
I had been dealing with the OCD for three months since it flared up after I was diagnosed in fall 2014. But it was within that winter break when the secondary depression set in. And it was that night before New Year’s Eve where for four hours I tried every possible positive coping strategy I could think of just so I could finally, finally get to blissful sleep–but none of it worked.
And so my brain told me nothing would ever work, that there was nothing that I could do. And in that moment, the light switch went off again, click! And I knew then that killing myself was the answer. The only answer. Nothing else would stop the OCD, and for that moment of time, frozen in space, I knew what I had to do–even though I didn’t want to act on it at all.
All of a sudden suicide turned into this fantastic idea and I hadn’t had a clue how I never thought of it before then.
So, six days later, I ingested the pills.
I overdosed with a small amount, because I knew my true self would recognize a larger amount of pills as a genuine threat to myself, and therefore prevent me from acting on my suicidal thoughts. So, I had to trick myself. I had to get myself to ingest some amount because… I had to “prove” to myself that I was a genuine danger to myself.
My brain told me that if I didn’t ingest the pills, what I was dealing with was “just” OCD. But, if I ingested the pills, then it was something else. So, was it “just” OCD or was it something else?
I knew that if I gave myself access to the pills that I would ingest them impulsively. So I planned for it. I kept a select few in my possession and I waited until I’d be at school, out of the house, to kill myself.
It would be so easy, my brain told me. It was what I was meant to do. It meant freedom from the OCD.
I just couldn’t tell anyone, my brain said, because they wouldn’t understand and they would try to stop me. And I didn’t want them to stop me, did I? Not when I was so close… so close to proving that I was a danger to myself. I had known it all along. I was a danger to myself and I needed to prove it. The only way I could communicate how serious things had gotten for me was if I killed myself.
And only in death would that suicide be considered serious. Because if any action leading up to that suicide didn’t result in death, it wasn’t serious, my brain said.
I forced myself to remember how I had felt those six days prior. I played and replayed the emotions, the thoughts, and the sickening degree of distaste about the state of my life crumbling in my mouth.
And that’s when I opened the bag and ingested a pill. I struggled to get it down, but I managed. And I took another three. I waited on the last one, but eventually, after about half an hour, ingested that one, too.
And no one knew.
In that third floor hallway, separate from the main hallway of the science building, in a hall between the door to the stairwell, I sat.
And no one knew where I was, or what I had done, and they wouldn’t know until it was too late.
And the white snow fell from the sky and I knew I wasn’t going to get my essay written. So with an hour into my attempt, I giddily called the office where I’d have to pass in my essay and made up some excuse, that I couldn’t bring it in and to reach me at X number.
And again, I was alone.
But I didn’t want to be.
So I told a friend that I was high–just leaving out the part where I was intending to die. The world tilted and my footfalls fell unevenly. And I decided it was time to move to another building. So I trekked from the science building to the administration building. I tried not to laugh too much as my brain felt like it was getting a tingly massage, as I was wary someone might notice me.
I kept moving so I wouldn’t appear suspicious, trying to mask my wobbly stance. My mind was quiet and peaceful, for the first time in ages, there was no OCD in my brain. It was gone, as it should have always been, and it was a relief.
I felt nauseous when I tried to eat something, so I wandered to the bathroom, thinking I was going to puke. I sat in the last stall closest to the door, maybe thirty feet away from the counseling center on my campus. Even less feet away from the medical health services.
I still felt awfully lonesome as I sat on that small tiled floor. I couldn’t bear the silence any longer, so I set a round of texts to a list of friends. I didn’t say I had attempted suicide, but instead that I was feeling unwell and wanted someone to talk to.
Nobody was able to answer.
So I texted another friend of mine, and I kept up the casual façade for about two texts before my fingers began typing and typing up what had happened, what I had done.
She called me immediately. My cell phone service is shit, so I told her I’d call her back.
I proceeded to stand outside in the January snowfall, speaking with my friend on speaker phone. Anybody could hear me talking about suicide. I wasn’t being shy about it, I was filling in my friend on what had transpired, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a year.
Only one person who walked by and heard me say ‘suicide’ on that phone call, stopped, turned around and looked in my direction. Then, they moved on.
I remember telling my friend that I had intended to die, and with a pause I asked, “Do you think this is considered a suicide attempt?” And just as I did, she knew the answer was yes.