Mental Health

I Am a Suicide Attempt Survivor: My Story

Note before I start writing: This post is possibly triggering if you struggle with suicidal thoughts. Please read at your own risk and be safe.

Although Mental Health Awareness Month is now over, I’m aware of my mental health every. single. day. I have been dealing with my mental health since I was aged 6, when I had a panic attack about telling a lie. And worse, I’ve been dealing with suicide since I was 8, having my first suicidal thought then.

I am part of the rare minority of people who have persistent suicidal thoughts. That means every single day, no matter what I’m doing, a voice in my head – my voice – tells me it might just be better to kill myself. If a tough situation comes up at work, or the house needs cleaning and I’m tired, or even when I first wake up in the morning, something is telling me to end it all. It takes everything within me not to listen to that voice, but I have on a few occasions, which I’m not proud of.

My first two suicide attempts were sometime during my sophomore year of college, shortly before I broke up with my longtime boyfriend (and fiancé by the end of that year) who was mentally and sexually abusive. They were cursory attempts, more a cry for help than something that really could have threatened my life. But at the same time, I was truly willing for it all to end.

My third suicide attempt was more serious, during my senior year of college – it caused me to become very sick to my stomach and my boyfriend at the time convinced me to go to the ER the next day to have my liver checked (it was perfectly normal, which surprised me). I was thankful they didn’t send me straight into inpatient, even though I wonder if they should have. I didn’t stop feeling suicidal when I finished throwing up. If anything the thoughts became worse, telling me I hadn’t done it right and that I needed to try again. I did not, but I went through a period of worse mental health immediately afterwards.

I have not had another suicide attempt since then, although I have come close several times. I was hospitalized in March for suicidal thoughts (among other things), and once before that during my sophomore year of high school. Even today my fiancé said he had to have a contingency plan in case I did give in and end up killing myself. I don’t keep large amounts of medication in the house, nor guns. But I know that I could find the means if I was desperate enough, which scares me. I try not to spend too much time alone, especially if I’m not feeling well mentally, because I know my mind will go straight to suicide.

I’ve been through a lot of treatment for all of this and my main mental illnesses (borderline personality disorder, depression, and anxiety, among others), recently starting dialectical behavioral therapy and working on self care. It hasn’t seemed to help quite yet, but my DBT group is six months long and I’m only in the second month.

I wish I had a happier ending to this story, something about how I’ve finally found the right treatment and am not having suicidal thoughts anymore. But to be honest, my psychiatrist no longer asks me if I am having suicidal thoughts – she asks me if they are any worse than normal. Doesn’t that suck, having it be normal? No one should have to feel like killing themselves ever, let alone every single day.

Do you struggle with suicidal thoughts, ideation, or actions?

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