I never intended to revisit this period in my life, but I’ve spent a lot of time talking about suicide this month. It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and I feel the need to share. Although this is not my finest hour as a human being, I know it’ll be helpful if I talk about my experience.
I’ve spent many hours thinking about the reasons I tried to kill myself. I’ve talked at length with my wife, who had the unfortunate job of calling the ambulance after she found me passed out on the floor the morning after my failed attempt.
What I’ve found is the feelings I was experiencing were many. There was almost too many to remember. I’ll be the first to admit that what I did was, in a way, a very selfish act. I say selfish because, among all the thoughts going through my head, one of them was, “Wait till they find me. This will really show them. They’ll be sorry!”
Most people won’t admit to the selfishness of the act, because when you live through something like this, it’s almost as if your sins get washed away. Whatever you did before is always forgiven, and many don’t want to tarnish their newfound clean slate.
Suicide is many things. I read at least 25 stories today from people who speak about the pain they felt before the attempt with way more eloquence than I can muster. But, all the stories I read (my own included), always mention the same elements: a cry for help, no other way, at the end of my rope, can’t go on living.
Let’s talk about the pink elephant
My attempt made the news because, right before I took three handfuls of pills, I sent out my suicide note to my blog and all my social media accounts. I even posted it on Reddit. It was anonymous on Reddit, but that didn’t stop people from trying to figure out who I was the night it happened.
After I was released from the hospital, I returned to Reddit and wrote a note to the people who cared enough to try to do something to stop me. Of the many supportive comments, there were, of course, negative ones. Many of those comments called me self-centered and an “attention whore.”
At first, I was hurt. I spent days as the victim, relishing every instance where people came to my defense. How could any of this be my fault? I was a victim of circumstances and my own mind. Right?
It took some time, and many frank discussions with my wife for me to see this act for what it was. It was selfish, and I was seeking attention. Bottom line. Why else would I go to all that trouble to carefully craft a 10-page suicide note and send it out to the world right before I ended my life? Yes, I was in pain, and I just wanted it to end, but why did I feel the need to punish everyone I love? Why did I have to “show everybody?”
Did I want them to suffer as much as I was suffering? Why was I blaming them?
The road back is full of realizations
My road to recovery started when I stopped blaming others and started taking responsibility for myself. Yes, I am mentally ill, and that’s not my fault. But, the amount of complaining I do, and the pity-parties I host are very well within my control.
It was unfortunate I was in so much pain that the only way I felt I could deal with it was to end my life. But I will always take responsibility for keeping it to myself until the end. I didn’t talk to my wife or my family about my feelings. I didn’t call a suicide hotline. I decided to kill myself without allowing anyone to help me and then blamed them because they didn’t.
Yes, that’s selfish.
Thankfully, I didn’t succeed, and my wife and all the other people I blamed had to opportunity to get me help. I realized that people did care about me after all.
I am not 100% healthy and may never be, but that single event in my life was the catalyst I needed to get me to where I am now.
Where I am now is happy and fulfilled.
To the people I called trolls who pointed out how selfish I was, I apologize. You were, for the most part, correct and received nothing but vitriol for your honesty.
Not what you expected
I know that I’m doing what I’m not supposed to do. I was the victim, and I had no blame. Right?
It’s been very healthy for me to take responsibility for my part in the decision to try and take my life. I have healed.
What I want to say to the people who may be suicidal is this:
Don’t do what I did. I was in pain, like you, and I didn’t want help from anyone. All I wanted to do was blame other people for what was happening to me. I found out that if I had succeeded, I would have ruined the lives of many people I love. I didn’t “show” anyone anything. All I did was hurt a lot of people.
Get help. If you can’t talk to your family, call a hotline! Talk to anyone. Give someone a chance to talk you out of what you are planning.
Every day I am glad that I didn’t succeed and I can show my love to all the people who I wanted to hurt. It’s been six years since this happened and it’s still imprinted on my mind. I remember the feeling as the pills I took away my ability to move, and all I was thinking was I wanted to be tucked in bed, next to my wife. I wanted to wake up in the morning and kiss my daughter.
I knew I couldn’t do that anymore because I made a bad decision. It was a horrible feeling to regret everything. If I had died, I would have missed out on so much love. I would never have known what it was like to be happy.
Please, don’t do what I did. Get help!
I know the last thing you want is another newsletter clogging up your inbox, but if you liked what you read here today, and you want to get exclusive (content), I promise I’ll never bore you. It’s called Beautifully Broken, and it may change your life!