Gone Too Soon… My Suicidal Confession

Gone Too Soon… My Suicidal Confession

This is a bit off my typical topics but with another loss of a young one too close to home, I want to take a second to acknowledge suicide. This one is for the girls, boys, women, men, mamas, and papas. I apologize if I offend but that is not my intention. My intention is for you to feel…

I am contemplating the content of this post while thinking over the course of my life.  I’ve been suicidal so I know that suicidal thoughts can be as real as the setting sun. (No, I am not suicidal these days so don’t feel a need to worry.) It’s hard to picture and put back into words, but I often hear people condemning those who either attempt or succeed in suicide to hell, there’s typically talk about how the depressed soul was actually only seeking attention, that they had a choice… yes, there is always a choice, but the rest… ok, let me start from the beginning… I can think of 2 true points in my life where I had nothing left to give.  If you are or have been depressed or know someone who is or has suffered from depression, if you’ve ever been affected by suicide, if you’re a hater, you’ll want to read this…

When I was younger, probably about 15, I had my first battle with true depression that left me truly contemplating the pros and cons of my existence and plotting a pheasable escape from my tormenting teenage life. See, I wasn’t huge but I was plump vs the typical highschool beauty queen and suffered tormenting, and sometimes relentless bullying. Thing is, I was very strong so I as naturally larger but my brain didn’t wrap around that at the time. I would go home with memories of the days miseries from a “thunder thighs” chant in gym class to snickers from peers in the hallway when I’d be red in the face from running from one wing of the school to the other, but they assumed I struggled with the stairs because they assumed I was overweight.  I had a best friend as a kid, but she quickly became popular, and I became the awkward, plump, poor girl.  My flaws ate at me so I worked hard to make myself what people wanted me to be. I thought that if I could only be skinny… so I worked out. Hard. But I didn’t know at that age HOW to work out to achieve weight loss rather than to gain muscle mass so I did what I thought people did and lifted intense weights in the highschool weight room and stopped eating unless I HAD too. When I appeared to be larger after months of working out and actually gained weight, my heart broke and I couldn’t get my mind around how and why I couldn’t look like everybody else. Like the pretty girls… so I stopped working out and started attempting to throw up everything I ate. I didn’t have much progress that way (of course since most of my bulk was muscle but I didn’t know that then…) and it hurt so I gave up. I stopped eating until I was so hungry I was actually dizzy, sometimes for days, for a few weeks before my young mind decided I couldn’t do it. I decided I was doing an injustice to the world making everyone look at me because I thought I looked like I couldn’t even take care of myself, nothing more than an eye sore. I felt at the time like I had no friends, with lots of siblings my parents were often broke and I felt like a burden, my teachers seemed cold towards me vs other students, and my grades began to slip as I inverted, dressed all in black and shunned the world because I thought I didn’t fit in ANYWHERE. I began to conform around people I thought I WANTED as friends to br the person I thought they wanted and expected me to be and completely lost track of who I once was. At 15, this consumed my entire world. My depression stacked until I hit a point where I convinced myself that everyone around me would be better off if I were gone. I didn’t cry to people about my feelings or threaten suicide, I didn’t guilt people or give my prized possessions away, I didn’t write a note, it wasn’t about anybody else, it was just me, not in any way for attention, I just felt entirely hollow. Void of emotion, nothing made me happy, nothing made me sad, I just didn’t give a fuck and it didn’t seem worth sticking around for my parents to waste money feeding and housing me and for my peers to have to suffer being around me. I just decided. So one afternoon after many sleepless nights of contemplation as to what the most decent and clean way to kill myself would be, out of respect for my younger siblings and parents, I went to the basement and grabbed a solo cup and a gallon of bleach that sat on the laundry detergent shelf. I climbed up on the dryer and just sat, bleach and cup in hand. I don’t know how long I sat but it felt like an eternity as I willed myself to feel anything. I thought of my “friends”, my parents, my grandparents, my kitten, sunsets, Christmas mornings passed, but when I didn’t feel anything, I was sure it was time. I unscrewed the cap on the bleach and thought about the process. This was before Google so I didn’t have a way to KNOW what would happen so I decided it would taste really bad, burn and hurt like a mofo but I should only suffer for about a half hour or so and figured that was nothing in comparison to the prize at the end of the tunnel. I was looking forward to peace rather than misery and no more haunting others with my presence.  I have no problem now admitting that I was scared shitless but I was committed. I lifted the jug to pour my last breaths into my cup, when the door at the top of the stairs opened. Out of all people, it was my mother and I was caught red-handed. She came down to do laundry with a smile on her face and asked what I was doing. I said, “nothing”, so she loaded the washer and went back upstairs. I thought I escaped my mothers wrath and that she didn’t put things together enough to realize my intentions, but I put the bleach back, threw away the cup, and sulked up to my room. I knew my mom would be back down for laundry so there was a chance she would come down and “save” me before I got a chance to die so I had to wait. I planned to finish my mission once my parents went to bed and I knew I’d have a few hours before I risked anyone stumbling upon my body. I was scared of the pain I’d have to temporarily endure but at peace with my decision, thinking I was contributing to the world being a better place.  Please realize, this wasn’t a spur of the moment, rash decision I made because I was just a moody teenager who didn’t get her way, it was a decision I came to after what felt like a couple of YEARS of being the odd one out and not being accepted or wanted or needed by fellow humans.  I went through the remainder of that day quiet and withdrawn like every other day, finally feeling like I was getting wisps of fresh air thinking of an actual end to my plaguing life. I felt like there was far more weight on my shoulders than I could carry alone and that I didn’t have a right to burden anyone else with my selfish problems because I knew I should be thankful for what I had, I just didn’t feel it. After dinner I retreated to my bedroom one last time to listen to some music while I pumped myself up to go through with it, all I had to do was wait a couple more hours till I could hear my parents snoring in their bedroom a couple of doors down. But then, life sent me a game changer. At the time my mom was typically climbing into bed, she came into my room with a pile of laundry and busied herself with putting it away. Mind you, this was NOT something she usually did, putting away my clothes was my responsibility but there she was. At first I was irritated because she was interfering in my space and with my plan but I didn’t have any fight left so I silently watched her shuffle through drawers and shelves, organizing what seemed like every garment I had ever owned. I thought her visit was about laundry but then she changed my world. My sweet, innocent, nagging mother whose objective  I thought was to make me miserable, with her back to me said, “I tried it once too ya know”.  I stayed silent but my mind began racing. My mom didn’t ever do anything wrong, adults and children alike seemed to enjoy her presence and she was well respected, there was no way she had ever been as I was at that moment, but then she kept going without so much as a twitch of acknowledgement from me. My mom began to slowly, quietly, describe pieces of the desperation I was feeling through her own experiences. Where her path to depression was far different than mine, the result and feelings of hollow loss of all things happy was similar enough that I somehow connected and it clicked, I realized if my mom felt this way all those years ago, there was NO way I could be alone with how I felt. I thought that maybe I needed to change my perspective a bit vs the world changing for me. I don’t remember her words exactly but I do remember her telling me about her attempt to cut her wrists in her youth and the profound wave of oxygen the realization that I was only human provided me with, as my brain wrapped around her confession. When she ran out of the laundry that was providing such a welcomed barrier between mother and daughter and the emotions that were on the verge of explosion, she simply sat of the far edge of my bed and and finished her story. when she finished she said she loved me, sweet dreams, and then, “it’s a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem, everything can always be fixed somehow”, before walking out shutting, my door behind her. She never said outright that she knew what I was doing in the basement, she never asked me what was wrong or probed me for an explanation.  She simply gave me the best gift a mother could give her child at what was an entirely critical moment in my life, she gave me herself and a better understanding for the fact that we are more alike than I ever thought possible. She gave me enough of herself that I realized I REALLY wasn’t alone because NOBODY is perfect and NOBODY is happy 24/7 in the real world but that every low as an even higher high, NOT EVEN MY MOOOOTHER was without flaws.  I’m not sure she even remembers this incident anymore or knows how profound her words and her impeccable timing were that night.  I’m not sure what she was feeling at that moment or if she knew how close she was to losing me, but her momstincts (instincts unique to motherhood, I experience them often these days) kicked in and she single-handedly saved my life that night. Her confession didn’t solve or end the problems I thought I had, but they did make me think I may be strong enough to stay in the game just a little longer, until days became weeks, became months and then years and life shifted enough so that I didn’t feel like I was being choked by my hollow sorrow because I moved on, without even realizing I had, like humans often do.

Depression is real in a way you can’t fathom if you don’t suffer from it personally. Text book symptoms are bad enough between fatigue, lack of enjoyment in everyday activities, mood swings, physical pain, the list goes on and on but the worst of it is what isn’t on that list because it’s almost impossible to put into words. You know that feeling when you’re holding back real tears, maybe after the death of a loved one or when you’ve REALLY gotten hurt in front of a crowd or something equally embarrassingly emotional or so unbearable that you literally feel like you’re choking on your tears that haven’t quite started flowing yet?  That choking feeling… you feel like you can’t breathe, it feels like your throat is literally clenching dangerously tight to where it can actually feel hard to breathe, sometimes it even burns a little. That choking is depression. Only with depression deep enough that it leads to suicidal thoughts or actions, that choking feeling is somehow in your throat, around your heart and wrapped tightly around your brain so that EVERYTHING hurts. Every thought becomes lost in the distracting pain of being choked out throughout your entire body, every physical move hurts the muscles that have locked from the physical pain and muscle fatigue of “staying afloat” while fighting just to breathe. The biggest problem is that with depression, a good cry won’t loosen the feeling of being choked but rather make it worse and the grip tighter. There becomes a feeling of desperation at a point where you just can’t bear anymore constant pain, pain that is as real as the sun is hot.  I was one of the lucky ones. I was never medicated because somehow the small circle of humans I keep in my life always somehow eventually manage to tough things out with me long enough that I have time to force my perspective to change enough to eventually breathe again and find happiness, although it ever fleeting, in the little things in life.

The second time I nearly killed myself was much more dramatically violent and I may have been even closer to going through with it than with the bleach. I had been with the same man for years. We had a couple of kids, had suffered through rough patches but always came through. That was our thing, no matter how bad things for we never ran from each other so he in essence made me sane, like I had a place where I belonged. I was entirely in love with him and considering the kids, despite our not being married, I assumed we would grow old together. After a few years we drifted apart some, dates, sex, talks, it all seemed to dwindle and things would become awkward after I started assuming he was having an affair. He swore he wasn’t over the course of a couple more years and I knew better. One day he stopped trying to hide his girlfriend from me but still slept in my bed every night until he finally admitted he had been sleeping with her in the same sentence that he revealed that she was pregnant.  My world came crashing down around me as every dream I’d ever dreamt shattered at my feet and I was instantly drowning again, being choked by my own sorrow and regret. I blamed myself, then I blamed her, then I blamed him, then I blamed the kids, it all came in stages and most of it i just hashed out in my head, never expressing my current thoughts in the blame game. It was terrible to think such things of me and my children but I couldn’t wrap my mind around how I just wasn’t good enough. Not good enough to stay close to him, not good enough to keep him, not good enough to provide for my babies on my own and not good enough to deserve to be their mother and shape young minds to be… like me!?  Depression hit me HARD. I would sit up for hours and hours while the kids slept, wondering where he was and what he was doing, contemplating what I could do to make him want me again, to want our family and nitpicking my parenting in an attempt to figure out how I could love them so little that I found a way to blame THEM for a while in my head when I had thought they were my whole world and parallel to their fathers importance in my life if not even more so than him. I was broken and taking people around me down fast. I pushed friends away, lies to my family telling them everything was great and making up wonderful things he had done for me so that they wouldn’t judge my children’s daddy, and thus me. I felt stupid, inadequate, like a waste of space again. I began to think that by being sad around my kids, they would become less than they were meant to be and that they deserved better. I convinced myself over the course of about 6 months that I couldn’t live not being loved and I couldn’t live in a world where I was less than another woman to a man who I loved unconditionally. Somewhere towards the end of he girlfriends pregnancy I lost it. I couldn’t bear t anymore because he kept telling me to wait and he’d be home but would throw me under the bus if I confronted him in front of her, being intimate all along because I loved him enough to WANT to believe anything he told me about us getting beyond that point. I forgave him but somehow couldn’t forgive myself for having done nothing wrong but at the time, I couldn’t see that.  I felt like a third wheel who was ruining the people I loved so one day I left the kids with their grandmother and went to the woods. I think I told her I had a work thing to get her to babysit… I didn’t bring much with me. A belt, a bottle of booze, a pack of cigarettes and a blanket. I started out with my phone but must have left it in the car or something because I know I didn’t have only in the woods. It was light out when I got there but daylight was quickly fading so I went about attaching the belt to a tree limb, noose style. Once it was secure I dragged forest debris over to make a pile just short enough for me to reach my noose to slip it around my neck if I stood on my tippy toes. My plan was to kick the debris away as I swung by the belt so I wouldn’t be able to change my mind and obtain footing. With my set up.complete, I sat down to drink and smoke my last pack while I reminisced over what had brought me to where I was. All I could think of was how it had to be me, I knew it when I was kid, I knew it then, I just wasn’t “normal”. I wasn’t HAPPY like other people and for whatever reason, somehow didn’t deserve to be. I thought of the years of both of our lives I had wasted being naive, and the damage I had already done being the main influence in my children’s lives. Enough was enough. As I drank and the world became cloudy I began to weep and then bawl uncontrollably. All the pain and loss and screw ups and emptiness and inferiority all bundled into a weight that felt like it was forcing every breath out of my lungs before I even finished taking in a full breath. I felt as though I was at the end of a tunnel and I owed it to those I truly loved to not exist so that they could move on and somehow find happiness.  I decided the only way they could be happy was if I stopped weighing them down. My eyes full to the brim with tears, I screamed at the sky about how I couldn’t do it anymore (there weren’t any humans for miles so I wasn’t a raging lunatic in he middle of a city block just fyi) and the sky exploded with literally no warning. It began to pour and I chocked it up to my shitty luck. The rain stopped while I was walking back to my spot in the woods but the lightning in the clouds didn’t.  It was an uncommon site, but the blackened night clouds against a nearly full moon that casted every shadows everywhere, seemed to light up individually as their electrical charges couldn’t contain themselves any longer but seriously only WITHIN the clouds.  The harder I cried, the more the clouds seemed to flicker and it almost felt like a cosmic response, like the night sky was responding to my pleas to not hurt people, like I was being told to look at the bigger picture. By the time I made it back to my tree, it had started to sprinkle again and I decided if I was drunk enough to be receiving universal messages I was drunk enough to finish what I started. I climbed onto the pile of debris, rose to my tippy toes to slip the noose around my neck, and I slipped. I made a few more useless attempts to fasten the noose and became frustrated enough to wait till it stopped raining, cursing the unpredicted weather for making my “step” slick. Feeling defeated I crawled under my blanket, cheek to earth and went over all my logic for completing my mission. All the people who would be better off and the great service I was doing for them, the promise of no more pain or deceit, no more ruining lives by existing… amongst my recounting my reasoning, I drifted into a deep alcohol and depression induced sleep right there in the soggy forest floor. No tent or flashlight or fire, just me, the dark and the creatures of the woods. I don’t remember dreaming but I was jolted awake by something and the feeling that I was being watched. I opened one eye, and hovering above me, in the middle of the dark woods in the middle of the night, lit only by a faint mist of moonlight through the clouds an trees, was him. I hadn’t told him where I was but somehow he found me under my blanket in the dark and once again, it was the one person I needed who showed up. I know it sounds stupid because he’s the one that created my depressive spiral but there has been enough heavy shit over the duration of our very long relationship that we weren’t just a couple, he was my best friend. I didn’t know how to talk to anybody else when I was hurting.  Our being done had taken all that out from under me so I felt like I had no stability and thus no stability to offer those around me.  He showed up not as my x as my best friend, held out his hand, told me I looked ridiculous, giggled a little and pulled me up from the ground pulling leaves and sticks from my hair.  He hugged me and said we should go catch a movie so we could talk and we did. We hashed things out while he reminded me of the good I gave our kids, apologizing for our drifted relationship as a couple not ending correctly, but never shamed me for the noose he has to have seen or for being too dramatic or accused me of seeking attention. He was just there, I was LITERALLY not alone because he was still right there and our end didn’t negate my value. I don’t know if he knew then or ever realize that he saved my life that night, that I had made up my mind and was going to grant what I thought was his wish and in the best interest of my family but was merely halted by the weather and then his choice to not ignore signs he must have seen I didn’t know I was portraying, maybe it WAS the universes storm… who knows, but his timing was as impeccable as my mother’s all those years before. I assume one of the true pieces of magic that make love real is that super power. The ability to see through the guises of the people you love so you can be where you need to be for them when they need you most, even when YOU don’t know you’re doing it…

To those who are depressed, especially those considering suicide you need to know, even if you feel entirely alone and helpless, you aren’t, as cliché as it sounds.  You have affected people in your lifetime, most you are likely not considering.  Family near and far, even those you thought were estranged, old class mates and teachers, siblings parents, cousins, children and in-laws if you have them, aunts and uncles, co workers, clients you never knew you impacted with a friendly smile or hello… the list is endless. The last two funerals I attended as a result of suicide were packed to the point of there being no standing room left, both people who thought they were alone… I know it seems pointless and not worth it but just get through today. You can deal with tomorrow, tomorrow and so forth. I won’t tell you its easy or that everything will just be ok because you’re going to hurt along the way but time changes everything.  If i succeeded the first time, I never would have met my kids. I would  have missed vacations and thousands of laughs. If i had succeeded the second time there would be nice as and nephews I never would have met and Christmas mornings I wouldn’t have enjoyed.  If you’ve already struggled this far, you might as well hold on a bit longer because chances are, the best times of your life are yet to come. You’ve got this. Trust me, it can be done and as impossible as it seems, it can be worth it. Yes, YOU are worth it and no, the world wouldn’t be better off without you even though it may seem obvious that it would to you… depression is real. If you feel as though you can’t make it, seek help, get meds, it’s not you, it’s a disease just like the flu.  And no you don’t burden the ones around you. They’d likely rather spoon feed you for life than attend your funeral so don’t forget to put that into perspective. You never know what tomorrow could bring until you get there so do what you have to, to get there.  Please don’t be afraid to let your people in. They love you in such a way, that they could just be the answer you never you needed but you’ll never know if you don’t let them try. Try to listen and trust their words the best you can even though I know it’s hard. They aren’t trying because they don’t want you… think about that…

To the haters, I need you to get out of your own heads and understand that everything in the world isn’t as it seems to you. Those who attempt or commit suicide aren’t selfish or attention seeking, they are individuals who have lost all hope and honestly believe whole heartedly that they are doing the world a great justice eliminating themselves. They suffer from a medical ailment that is as real and as deadly as cancer. It is typically not a choice for those afflicted with depression, you need to practice empathy, you need to understand that their pain is very real to them and rather than putting them down, lift them up, be positive, be present, CARE. IF YOU CAN’T DO THESE THINGS, JUST KEEP YOUR DISTANCE while keeping your opinions to yourself. Give the depressed a chance to mend themselves if you can’t help them heal. A suicidal person is at their all time low and don’t need to be reminded of anythig negative, trust me, they already know it all. You can do it, just walk away.

To the innocent civilians who don’t hate but don’t know what to do, be kind.  Be kind to those around you because depression lends great masks to its victims and you likely won’t be around to tell who is at their breaking point when.  You never know when I a kind smile or word may make all the difference to someone.  The truth is, NOBODY knows the trials the man next to them has been through in their entirety. You CAN’T know, besides, what could you lose paying it forward if in the end, you could be saving lives and never even know it. Be humble and kind my friends, make the world a better place, keep a few more deserving souls here and reap the karmic rewards. Be someones person, we can make it through this life if we all work together, hold each other up, refraining from knocking each other down. Yes, it’s worth the effort!  In my experience, those who are the closest to an individual are the ones who have the best chance in changing a person’s outlook during a bleak point in their life. Your best chance to be heard by your loved ones you are concerned about is to be present as a neutral party. Don’t ask if they want company, don’t wait for them to call or ask for help, don’t repeatedly ask them what’s wrongor profess your distaste in their behavior. Show up or call, prepares to be what they need. You may end up sitting silently, telling stories about yourself or listening to them vent, do what fits, most often it’s silence or a distracting activity like watching a movie together. Your presence means you care enough to take the time to BE THERE  when you don’t necessarily have to be and it will count more than you could ever know. Let your loved one slowly accept what is, just stay close enough to catch them in they fall and neutral enough to not form opinions or judgement. Yes it can take time and effort and be frustrating for you,bthat’s why it’s easiest to work with those you love, the love you have for them should make it worth it, just remember, you could be saving them. Don’t think I’m suggesting hovering, just be a regular face, not a forgotten one.

For those of you mourning the loss of a loved one who committed suicide, first of all, I am so so so sorry for your loss. I know you likely didn’t see this coming and if you did, you likely felt helpless. There are a few things you should know.  First and foremost, this is NOT your fault and you CANNOT ever blame yourself. Depression is crippling and makes things that seem unrealistic to you, perfectly reasonable to them. When one becomes deeply depressed, they struggle to see their worth and although words may go right through them, love never ceases.  Despite your loss, you were entirely loved. It’s possible they even thought they were making your life better in the process of making their own pain free because it’s easy to lose touch with reality and forget you have value to people.  None the less, love, TRUE LOVE, is the one emotion that is such a part if who we are, it’s always the last thing we will think of on the way out of this world. They didn’t do this to hurt you or because they stopped loving you or because YOU weren’t enough. The pain of depression can become unbearable and it has so many masks it can be nearly impossible to see. Your loves one is gone but they feel no more pain and that’s what they wanted even though it was far too soon for them to go. They are at peace and want the same for you.  Your love will carry their soul to the place where they need to be so never fear. Rejoice in the time you did have together, remember their spirit so they can live on in your heart always and find a way to enjoy life in their honor like I’m sure they’d want for you. I would like to tell you that it gets easier, that eventually it will hurt less but I make it a point to not lie to my readers so I won’t fill your head with things I’ve seen proven false. I will however tell you that time will lighten the load. What I mean by that is, the more time that passes, the more practiced you will become at coping, so the better you be at controlling your fired for your loved one. You will not forget, you will never love them less, you will never stop missing them, but in time, you will think of them when you choose rather than morning at night, you’ll find things that drive you to get out of bed despite your grief. You WILL smile again, and don’t worry if it takes time, there are no rules, you will find a way in your own time. And if your passed love one got a chance to see you one last time, if they were able to plan a goodbye, I’m sure the first words off their lips would be, “I Love You”.

Remember boys and girls, you all deserve a happy life! 

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