I talk about suicide. A lot. It’s an important topic to me and I don’t turn away in shame or embarrassment when I discuss my experiences as a suicide attempt survivor. It wasn’t always this way. In the past, I hid my secret from everyone but my closest friends, afraid of the judgement and scorn that I believed people had for me. But as I move along in my recovery, it’s become increasingly important for me to be loud about the topic.
I’m so fortunate that I survived those attempts on my own life, and my heart breaks whenever I hear of someone who didn’t make it. I still feel guilty sometimes, wondering why fate stepped in and allowed me to keep living? I try not to dwell in those thoughts because to do so would send me back down into the rabbit hole that I work so hard to stay out of, but every so often they sneak in and wreak their havoc on me.
After my last attempt, I had made a vow that I was going to help others on their journey in any way I could. I’m doing that through my advocacy work and it’s given me a sense of purpose like nothing else has ever done before.
I’m getting a semicolon tattoo soon and this means so much to me. Every time I look down at that tattoo, I’m going to be reminded that my story could have ended, but fate stepped in and allowed it to go on. For whatever reasons I was given the opportunity to carry on, I’m not wasting it any more.
I still live with depression and will for the rest of my life. Serious mental illness doesn’t go away with a couple of pills and a few visits to a therapist. It requires a lifetime of learning to manage your condition so you can try to live the best life possible. Right now I’m in a “remission” of sorts and experiencing a good time in my life, but I live with the constant worry that the floor with drop out from under me and down the hole I’ll go again.
But because I choose to talk about suicide and reach out for the supports that are there for me, even if the floor does drop out, I think I’ll be ok. When the times are good, I plan for when the times might get tough and it helps me feel like I’m more in control of my illness.
The topic of suicide and suicidal ideation doesn’t have to be a dirty little secret anymore. It’s time for us to have real and honest conversations about our thoughts and feelings without being made to feel ashamed or embarrassed.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out. If you are in Canada this link will connect you to a crisis centre in your province Crisis Centres. Alternatively you can always call 911.
We are all in this fight together. Let’s keep the conversation going.