Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Today is a day to remember those that we have lost to suicide, to help those in the darkness, to educate ourselves, and to share our own personal stories. Sharing your own story, whether your own or someone you love, is a great step at healing from the pain. It is also a wonderful way to show people who have fallen into the darkness that They Are Not Alone. Just knowing that there is someone else in this world who feels and thinks just like them can make a world of difference, especially when it’s someone who has survived. There is hope. There is always hope.
My friend, Tiffany, was wonderful, and shared her story with me. She wants to share it with the world, in hopes it can help someone else. I love her for sharing.
To make a very long story short, my Dad re-married several years after my parents divorce to a young woman named Amy. They both struggled with substance abuse and later in life addiction. At that point, I wasnt present in either of their lives, but early on in the marriage I was a constant in my Dad and Step-Mom’s world. They were happy. She was vibrant and full of life. One of those people who never had a negative word to say about anyone, and always had a smile on her face. After years of marriage, my Dad and Amy divorced and I didn’t hear from either of them for almost 16 years.
My Senior year of Highschool I was reading the Sunday paper, because I’m a dork like that, and saw Amy’s obituary. It said she had been involved in a car accident in Florida. She loved the beach and Florida in general, I wasnt surprised she had ended up there. Just a few months later I learned through the grapevine (her siblings) that she had actually committed suicide. She had gone to drug rehab for abusing prescription drugs, completed the program, and was released 6 months later. She was completely clean and sober when she took a leather purse strap and tied herself to the train tracks. The thought of sitting on the tracks and waiting for the train to come, with your hands tied down, to assure your body wouldn’t be thrown away from the train (possibly sparing your life) is the most heart wrenching reality of what she did. Sober. She had written her family a letter and said she ‘just didnt know how to live sober’ and her constant battle with depression and what was believed to be a bi-polar disorder was too much to handle.
There are so many things that could have saved Amy. If her family and friends would have recognized her struggling, if the doctors and nurses would have recognised her addiction a way to self-medicate her own depression…would things have been different? She was the last person who anyone could have predicted doing something like this. She struggled on the inside, you never would have known the sadness and depression on the inside. I think the stigma that all depressed people cry and wallow constantly killed Amy. Her bright face a cheery attitude she wore, as a mask, killed her. Suicide education and prevention programs could have saved her. Doctors and nurses willing to look past her addiction, dug deeper past that, could have saved her. No one saw this coming, but Amy did. Amy watched that train come literally and figuratively. Everyone else pretended like it wasnt there.
I hope her story can help. Keep up the blogging. You never know who is going to find it….it might just talk someone off the tracks, someone like Amy.
With Tiffany’s story, I have been reflecting on my own. I never had a plan, or knew how I was going to end it. They were just thoughts, but they felt so real. Here is an excerpt from a previous entry on my story: Treatment, or Lack Thereof
The point of breaking down and going to a new doctor at the new Naval Hospital was at night. Husband was still gone on training, and kiddo was asleep in my room. I was watching some TV, and got bored with it. I shut it off, and just sat there thinking. I felt the pain I was in mentally. It started to get worse, and my headed even started pounding. I went into the bathroom, say on the side of the bathtub, and started crying again. I was having dark thoughts just speeding through my mind, one right after another. I wanted it to end so badly, I actually hit myself on the back of my head. It obviously did not work, and I started to think of other ways to make the thoughts go away. The only thing I could think of was making it end by shutting it down, and the only way I could think to shut it down was by killing myself. As soon as that thought came into my head, I heard kiddo yelling for me from my room. Her cries for me were enough to snap me out of it. It took me a moment to get up, as I was in shock at what had just happened. I go help kiddo, and once she is asleep I go back into the bathroom, fall on the floor, and cry. I cried so hard my head throbbed more, my eyes were swollen, and an hour had passed since kiddo woke up. When I finally stopped, I wrote myself a note and left it in the kitchen. It was a reminder for me to call my doctor the next morning.
Not everyone has a story to tell, but everyone does have the ability to listen. Listening can mean the difference between life and death for some. Some people just want someone to listen to them, someone to hear their calls for help. If you feel like someone is in the darkness, and in need of help, do not hesitate. Call 911, or take them to an emergency room. They may fight, and be angry, but in the end it will be worth it.
If you’re feeling down and out, and just want it to end, please know you’re not alone. There are people out there that want to help, that want to see you shine. You do not have to leave this world to end the pain. There are ways of healing, and moving past the darkness into the sunlight again. Do not hesitate to ask for help. There are numbers for you to call if you think that could help:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- The Trevor Project: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
Please do not give up. Keep sharing your stories, keep asking for help, and keep your ears open. We can begin the healing process through story, we can save a life through story, and we can bring hope back. If you have a story to share, let me know. I will highlight it here for all to see, in hopes that it can help just one person.
Never stop talking. Never stop listening. There is hope, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!