My story didn’t end in a hospital bed having my stomach pumped, my wrists stitched or someone grabbing my waist before I jumped. But still I have survived a suicide attempt.
I found myself on Google.
I typed: “How to kill myself and make it look like an accident”.
Google pulled up a large number of results, and quickly.
Today, I just typed in those same words – Google spat out 937 000 results in 0.75 seconds.
On the first page I read – "Making suicide look like an accident"; "what’s the best way to kill yourself but make it look like an accident"; "making a suicide like some random accident"; "top 20 suicide methods: fastest and painless suicide methods…"
My hands are sweaty and my stomach is twisted in knots. I have to close the browser now.
But back in 2014 I didn’t. I started down a very dark rabbit hole. For hours I searched for the perfect solution. I wanted to take my life, to end the pain, to release those who loved me from the torment I presented them with every time I had a depressive mood.
But it had to look like an accident so that they would mourn for me and remember me for who I was rather than the way I had ended it.
That they would never know that I had decided to take my own life.
That they wouldn’t see me as the failure I was convinced I was.
That I wouldn’t be remembered as a coward.
Life didn’t make sense. I was tired. I was angry. I was frustrated. I felt worthless. I was a failure. I was in pain and ending my life would take away that pain. But most importantly, I was depressed.
Still I kept searching for the answer I was so desperate to find. Slitting my wrists would be messy. An overdose of pills doesn’t always work and I couldn’t find any mention of exactly what to take and how many. Hanging would be a logistical nightmare.
But a car accident would be easy. I could drive off Chapman’s Peak and into the ocean… “She lost control around a bend,” they’d say.
It was convenient too as I could do it at any time.
Then something snapped. Why was I choosing this way out when I had so much to live for? I quickly shut down the 20 browsers I had open. The next day I found a psychiatrist and booked my first session.
Today marks International Survivors of Suicide Day and I find myself remembering that awful night in February 2014. I am one of so many people who have come close to suicide.
Once again, I turn to Google but this time to find stories of survival. I find many. And what surprises me most is how similar they all are to mine.
In September 2016 The Mighty, a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities, asked suicide attempt survivors what they wished people knew about their experiences.
Here are some of the responses that resonated with me:
“For me, it’s less about death and more about ceasing the pain. It’s difficult to explain how death would make you feel more alive than ever. I wasn’t running from my problems. I was desperately searching for a way to conquer them.” – Kacie S.
“It wasn’t really about dying. It was about escaping unbearable pain when I couldn’t see any other option. And I was convinced everyone would be happier if I was gone, that I was doing them a favor by unburdening them. This is why guilt trips like ‘think of what you’re doing to your loved ones’ don’t work for me… I’m so grateful to still be alive today. The pain did fade. I found other options. And I want to stick around, to see how this life of mine will play out.” – Erin L.
“My attempt had nothing to do with how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ my life is. It came from being tired. Tired of being me, tired of pretending, tired of being depressed.” – Valerie S.
“I shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for what I did. I tried the pills, exercise, getting out more, I worked through the lists of the ‘acceptable’ courses of action. It felt like my last resort.” – Lindsey G.
“I wish people knew that it didn’t mean I didn’t love them. At the time, I honestly believed I was doing everyone a favor. I wish people knew the thoughts will always be there for some, and we deal with it day by day. It can be a lifelong process, almost like a recovering addict. I don’t think I’ll ever fully heal. I wish people would stop calling it selfish. Stop acting like it is something we’re doing to smite you. It’s. Not. About. You.” – Moranda J.
“Some people ask, “how could you ever give up on life?” They don’t understand the fact that the will of a suicide is more than just a simple desire. Even though you try not to think about it, even though you don’t want to do it, there is this strong and hopeless feeling of just… doing it.” – Daniel S.
(You can read all 41 experiences here.)
'I am not a coward'
Suicide is not a cowardly act. It’s also not an easy decision to make.
Coming back from that dark place was a difficult journey. And there are still days when I think back on it – it brings me to tears to look at how great the last three years of my life have been. How much I actually did have to live for. What I would have given up.
Am I worthless? No.
Am I a coward? No.
Am I crazy? No.
Am I depressed. Yes.
I still battle my Black Dog every day but I know how to manage him.
Today, I choose to fight those dark thoughts but that’s all they are – thoughts. I choose life.
Image credit: iStock