My Suicide Story
*Trigger Warning: This post discusses major depression, suicidal ideation, anorexia and bulimia.*
It’s hard to say when sadness turned to depression, and when depression turned into wanting to die. It creeps up on you slowly. One bad week turns to two, turns to a bad year. Before you realize what’s happened, you look back and realize this has become your life. You can’t remember the last time you had a good day, the last time you felt happy, felt alive. Time has separated you from everything good in life. Time is a chasm, minutes feel like days and each day is spent the same. In bed, crying usually, or maybe completely catatonic, numb.
I can’t begin to say how it feels to feel so low all the time. I’m not a good enough writer to put the pain into words, and maybe no one is. It felt like I was only half alive, it felt like I was dragging myself around from task to task when even the simplest of things was overwhelming to me. My obligations pulled me along, but I wasn’t passionate about anything. Nothing had color and I couldn’t imagine a time when I’d been happy.
I was just a teenager, by the time I was 13 suicide was already on my mind. My adolescence was lost, spent not being excited about colleges or fawning over boys or anything else that normal teenage girls did. I didn’t look forward to the future with earnest, with anticipation. The future was a black hole, and each day brought me closer to what I thought was inevitable.
I genuinely didn't believe I would live to see my 18th birthday. Death seemed like the only option for me. I didn’t have worth or purpose or anything to offer anyone unlike everyone else. I wasn’t cut out for life, and I was convinced I had no options.
I was, at this time, not only severely depressed and suicidal, but also extremely eating disordered. Anorexia was my closest companion for a time, and then when my body finally overrode my mind in a desperate attempt at survival, I ate. And ate, and ate, and ate.
That’s when bulimia took over. My days revolved around binging and purging. I didn’t eat anything without the thought of when and where I would purge. Is the nearest bathroom a one person or are there stalls? How much will this hurt on the way up? Will I be gone long?
Bulimia gave me the momentary high of being able to eat whatever I wanted. After living on 500 calories a day for so long, of measuring and counting and weighing, I could eat whatever the hell I wanted and all I had to do was purge and my sins of the flesh would be forgiven. My eating disorder gave me some kind of twisted perverse purpose, something I’d been lacking for so many years.
But after a time it also made me extremely sick. My hair fell out in clumps, I bruised easily and bumped into things constantly, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and a few times I could feel my heart beating funny in my chest which scared the hell out of me. I think this was around the point I truly realized the consequences of this disorder and the fact that is was really and truly going to kill me. Either it would or I would do it first.
I had a note written, I had a tentative idea about how I’d kill myself. It was on my mind constantly. At the lowest point in my life I’d come so, so very close to trying to overdose on my Prozac pills. When my mother found out and called the police, I spent the next seven hours at the hospital where I talked to a very unsympathetic awful psychiatrist.
I had wanted to die for years, or so I thought. But then I saw the long tortuous death that bulimia would afford me and that scared me. I realized I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to live the life I’d been living. Either I was going to die, or something needed to change. And so I changed.
It didn’t happen overnight by any stretch. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. It came in small minuscule steps outside of my comfort zone. It started in the small simple act of opening a mouth that had been silenced and starved into submission for so long. It started with speaking. I told a school counselor, and he called my dad and I knew that was some kind of turning point.
I kept speaking. I spoke in therapy, then in group therapy. I spoke to doctors and nurses and nutritionists and family members and friends. So used to fighting this alone, I reached out. After so many years of silencing myself, I learned to tell my story. And I’ve been telling it since.
I’m open about my mental health because I know there are so many people who are exactly where I was not so long ago. Because I know what it’s like to have taken up permanent residence at Rock Bottom. I survived. I lived to see 18 and now I’m 20 and thriving. I’m so excited for what the future holds. I know I can make it through anything life throws at me because I’ve already survived so much.
And if I can, so can you. Life isn’t always kind or pretty or nice. But there’s goodness in the world still. And there’s beauty and goodness in you, even if you can’t see it. Hold onto the things that make you happy, the things you look forward to. Recovery is worth the hard work it took, it was worth taking a chance on life. I took a leap of faith on living and I’m happier than I’ve never been. And I know there’s happiness in this world for you too.
National Suicide Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please reach out. There is help out there. You are strong. You are loved. You are wonderful.
Image credits: propheticlight.org