In this piece, I am sharing my fifth attempt at writing what would later become my seventh attempt at sharing my suicidality story for the Art is Survival website in honor of September being featured as self-harm and suicide month.
Again, there will be familiar elements to this piece if you’ve seen the first attempt at writing it.
My aim for this short series is to show how sometimes the work we do takes a few flawed editions before we come into our golden pieces. Also, there’s a bit of different perspectives and information in each attempt, and some of them give more depth and insight into my story that I haven’t often told regarding suicidality for you guys to learn about.
Of course, TRIGGER WARNING explicit mentions of suicide are contained in this piece.
I wrote this part 8/26 as well.
As my fifth time writing this piece, I think I just want to talk.
I think I just want to share with you the time in my life where I wasn’t okay. The period of time where I thought being dead was a part of my destiny and the only way for me to be free from the damnation that is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I sit here, typing this, with twenty different directions of thoughts on how to tell this part of my story. It’s difficult to admit there is no wrong or right way. I don’t often talk about this part of my story, due to time limits and censorship issues.
I feel nauseous just thinking about it, as I’ve been writing and re-writing and detailing and deleting my words for hours now. What is the right way to tell my story? What is the right thing to say?
Maybe it’s time that I admit that there is no right or wrong way. That my story just is. That suicide just is.
To share my story, I feel that I have to open up the vault. The vault that separates myself of the present moment to myself that struggled in all-encompassing whiteouts of desperation. To open the vault is to be vulnerable. To open the vault is to face emotions locked away.
Why did I take the pills? Why didn’t I take more?
Pain. To open the vault is to be close again with pain. A pain I fear that I will act on again.
It doesn’t matter if I don’t want to, I never did before and I was still able to act on my suicidal thoughts.
I remember the OCD telling me to kill myself, for hours on end. I remember my brain’s suggestions on ways to hurt myself: so many options, so many choices.
I remember the discussion between my brain and myself. I remember it taunting me, telling me 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 remember my own self-awareness that I knew my true self would recognize that ten pills, twenty pills would be a genuine threat to me, and therefore I would step in to prevent myself from acting on my suicidal thoughts. So, I had to trick myself. I had to get myself to ingest some smaller amount because… I had to “prove” to myself that I was a genuine danger to myself.
It was the only way. The only way to prove that I was serious about suicide was to follow through and be dead. Any action taken that didn’t result in my being dead therefore was not serious. Suicide was the only way to end my emotional pain.
Suicide meant being free. Suicide had to be better than the hell that I was struggling to breathe in. Breathing was exhausting, moving was exhausting, everything had just become exhausting.
I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk, and I couldn’t open my damn mouth to let somebody know–anybody! The secondary depression stole my voice, the OCD my sanity. There had to be a way out of that life and the only alternative that was always on my mind, playing like a charred weapon throwing out bullets, was suicide.
Death would be a relief.
But first I had to convince myself to let go of life. Before I could act on my suicidal thoughts, I had to ask myself permission to kill myself.
I knew the first hour of the OCD telling me to kill myself would be met with a firm no. But after the three hundredth time, then, then I would waver. And then a little more time after that and I’d be considering and I’d finally, finally give myself that sweet, glistening allowance: Okay, I’ll do what you say.
All in the disillusionment that the OCD would give me reprieve if I just did what it said.
So I tricked myself, and on Tuesday January 6th 2015 I took five pills of an old prescribed painkiller.
It was “only” five pills, I reasoned. It was no big deal. It wasn’t even a suicide attempt, not really. And because I didn’t die, it definitely wasn’t serious.
But I had caved during my attempt. I told a friend. And that friend confirmed my fears that I had just attempted to take my own life. It was an action that as someone dealing with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions–by the textbook would never have acted on.
But desperation is a powerful force, especially when it became all that I knew.
I’m still struggling to get the words out. I can tell you all about the suicide rehearsals that I did–the times of which I acted on my suicidal thoughts but not in an intention of killing myself right then and there, more of just….testing out the waters.
I could tell you about how my second plan to kill myself involved drowning in the pond in the center of my town. I had already scoped out the area, been there physically, even had the opportunity of dying on that thin ice one late evening.
I could tell you about the time I brought two methods to my therapy appointment on campus, and considered half an hour before my appointment to kill myself right then and there. How I tried slitting my wrist on the toilet paper dispenser after I placed the bag over my head for ten seconds.
I could tell you about the time I skipped class because I was trying to hang myself in the bathroom about ten feet away from the classroom. Or the times I waited in bathroom stalls for everyone to leave so I could scratch myself and sob.
But what I’d really like you to know, beyond all of that, is that to this day, I still don’t think I consider myself a suicide attempt survivor. Maybe it’s all of my brain bullshit sneaking up on me again; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
But it doesn’t feel like my attempts were real (alternatively, read ‘real’ as ‘serious’). Not even the second suicide attempt I made at the end of June 2015 when I overdosed on some other medication.
My second suicide attempt was more impactful than my first, however. Because with my second suicide attempt I immediately felt regret. I was filled to the brim of the thoughts: “Oh shit, what did I do? What if I die? I don’t want to die.” And I had broken my promise to myself: I attempted suicide at my home.
That fear was palpable when I thought I might die, and I found out that the OCD, the depression, everything in my brain had LIED to me.
Suicide wasn’t freedom. Suicide wasn’t relief. Suicide was painful. Suicide was shit. Suicide meant releasing pain onto others and taking away any chance of the future possibilities of life getting better. Suicide meant never seeing some god damn rock formations in the future, not getting to smile again, to laugh, to listen to music, to just feel and be and breathe. Suicide was painful and sickening and meant ending my life just when I realized how much I had to live for.
For six months I had been lied to, and I had believed those lies. And when I found this out, when I found the truth, I was beyond pissed off. I was also disappointed, because now the one thing I had believed in so much wasn’t true, and there was a loss in that.