Previous blog posts have only grazed the surface of all that is me. Up until this point I feel I have posted in third person; gently knocking on truths door. I have confronted the demons that poured my foundation, all except one; myself.
This is one moment, a single snap decision, an impulse post that if I don’t type fast I will never type it up. It also requires a prequel; a bit of history to understand why it is a story that has to be told and why it is so important as well as scary. Hidden within these words are memories that I am afraid of, monsters that I have kept far away from my conscious mind. If My mind is like a map then this post is leading me to an end goal of healing and wholeness. As such, Certain destinations require me to cross swampy memories in order to move forward.
Death. Is surrounds me and inhales my spirit as if it were nothing more than particles in the air. I can’t out run generational curses that find us despite my ability to keep a secret. I wonder who told? Who taught us that when life gets rough death is always around, stalking and provoking; tempting us to indulge? It is an answer that has been passed down three generations and it stops now. Not just for the sake of my family and future generations but for those that stumble across this blog and read these words; suicide is not a cushion to which we can turn to when life hands us a crap hand.
Too many people in my life have been stolen by suicide but their stories are not mine and I can not tell them. I can only offer my story in hope the devastating truth and realization can save a life.
“There but for the grace of God, go I”
I had two suicide attempts as a teenager. The first, I took my mother’s lead (she overdosed when I was eight, remember generational curses?) and overdosed on a couple bottles of tylenol. I was 13 at the time and a fight with my mother triggered the impulse; sad I can’t remember what the fight was about. I can recount details of the event but the only emotions that has left an imprint were sadness and hopelessness. I remember feeling like the sadness would forever be biting at my heels like a rabid dog and to fight it was hopeless. I can remember a sense of desperation to get my mother to see me, to see what she was doing to me but it is a vague memory of a feeling.
The second time I was 14 and angry, very angry. I was a cutter for years before the day I cut too deep; but on this day my anger had no outlet other than my wrists, it fueled the depth of the razor. I started in the kitchen on the phone with my aunt trying to calm down from a fight I had had with my mother. Talking and venting was not enough, I wanted to be heard, to be seen. I was tired of hiding her abuse, her illness; and I was tired of everyone around me blowing her mental illness off as well because they had the ability to walk away from her and distance themselves. I did not have that luxury.
On the phone in the kitchen is when I made the first cut, the one that went too deep. It was an accident, all I wanted to do was calm down enough to talk to my aunt. Stunned, I held the phone to my ear and walked to the bathroom and ran my wrist under the bathtub faucet. I watched the blood flow down the drain and I was no longer afraid, stunned, or regretted going to deep. The blood offered a promise of peace, a reprieve from my tortured mind.
I hung up the phone with my aunt, held my wrist against my chest and followed the trail of blood back to the kitchen. I stood there in a trance like state with a dark, twisted sense of peace. I then backtracked to the backyard where I knelt down to cut my other wrist. As I watched to droplets of blood drop and mix with the dirt my german shepherd, abby, came and stood next to me. She began to whimper then licked my wrists and that is when I began to cry. Not because of what had happened but because she was the first and only one that really saw me. In the days, months, and years to come not one person saw my pain and understood it like abby. All the anger and hurt that drove me to such a desperate place was washed away by her understanding, connection, and love for me. Why can’t we all be more like that?
I have to believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a point to one person’s pain. I want my past suicide attempts, my story, to serve a greater purpose than that of death and sickness. I don’t want to be haunted or ashamed, nor do I want my family’s curse to be passed down. This is my story and the only one I can tell.
I want to be an Abby to those on the edge. To remind anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts that they are not alone, it is more common than the general population realizes. It is the cancer that silently plagues our society and people die everyday because it is such a taboo subject. I am sharing my story because I want to break that silence and offer hope for anyone that still feels they have to suffer alone; because you don’t. There is always hope.