Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I wanted to say something about this because it’s important, and people need to know that there is no shame in having these thoughts or in seeking help. But on the other hand, it almost seems like a foreign topic to me. It feels like a forgotten language or past life with which I can no longer connect.

For the longest time, suicide was my biggest fear. I was afraid that one day I would not be strong enough to hold back the urges, and I would lose my fight with suicide and chronic depression. Suicide was the single most constant in my life. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to die. It is the subject of many of my earliest memories. And I don’t know why.

But now that I am on an antidepressant that inhibits depression and suicidal thoughts, they come much more rarely and even then, as fleeting moments that last no more than a breeze of wind passing by. Suicide is no longer a constant in my life. Part of that is due to therapy. Another part is due to friends and loved ones. The last part is due to antidepressants and personal choices to take care of myself.

Each part has taken years to build to get me to this point. And I guess the point of all this is that it is possible. It is possible to go from years, even decades, of suicidal thoughts to it being little more than a memory. I don’t know how it happens. For me, it was a million little things that led up to this point. It was friends and family and therapists and counselors and medications that drove me past of the point of insanity to medicine that changed my thoughts in ways I never knew were possible.

As someone that once contemplated suicide on a daily to hourly basis, I just want you to know there is hope. There is hope that it won’t always be this way. It may not feel like it now, but things really can get better. You just have to make it through this. And please know you don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to do this alone. It is never too late to reach out and get the help you need to feel better.


Why I Keep Trying

If those of us who felt like we don’t belong stopped trying, the world would lose something beautiful that it desperately needs.

I have been suicidal for as long as I can remember. My earliest childhood memories are of wanting to open the car door on the freeway. I knew from an early age that I did not belong. I was different. I could not explain how or why at the time and there are still things that I cannot explain that make me different, but I have a deep, persistent, aching feeling that I can never belong in this world.

There are days when I wonder why I keep trying. I consider all my options and ask myself why I should stay where I am and continue trying to live this life. There have been a lot of suicides in the news over the last few years. More people of prominence, that are well-known and adored by family, friends, and fans, are taking their lives. And it makes me wonder, why not me? I have thought about suicide all my life. Why should I stay when others are leaving?

I have come to the conclusion that people who don’t belong are more needed than ever. It is in this turmoil and drowning world that those of us who are drowning internally are most needed. We know what it is like to lose everything. We know what it is like to hurt in ways we could never explain. We are experienced in ways that others are not. We see things in ways others do not.

I recently watched “Tomorrow Land” and thought that if there was a satellite making our thoughts dwell on our impending doom, it would make sense to want to “abandon ship” by leaving this world behind. But I wonder if instead, we can be like the girl in the movie who saved the world by believing that it could be changed. We can consign ourselves to our fate. We can leave. We can stop trying so hard. But… What if we didn’t?

What if the ones who didn’t belong just kept not belonging, but stopped pretending? What if we just let people know we don’t belong? I know it is not easy to tell someone to stay when everything in them is ready to leave, but… We’re needed. The ones who don’t belong are needed. And maybe that is a reason to stay.


People who are thinking clearly do not want to die. Even those who consistently think about dying do not really want to die; they just want the pain to be over.

I think about suicide a lot- nearly every day, usually multiple times a day. However, it is just a thought. It comes and goes like a wave on the shore. And as long as I have moments of peace in between, I’m okay and I won’t hurt myself. But every once in a while, the tides are high and the waves don’t really leave and you drown in it.

Last night was one of those times. I had done everything to feel okay. I had read scriptures and prayed and read positive notes from friends and colored and ate chocolate. I did everything I could think of to save myself, but at the end of the night, it was not enough. I looked up the suicide hotline and wrestled with the thought of calling for half an hour. But when you can’t call the suicide prevention line because you’re crying too much before you even dial the number, you know things are bad.

I kept telling myself I don’t normally feel like this. It’s just a night. It’s just a moment. Maybe I should call to get me through… But once I finally pushed the button and saw the call going through, I panicked.
“I can’t really be calling the suicide hotline… That means these thoughts are real. That means I’m actually considering acting on how I feel.” That means that I’m not as well as I think I should be.
These were the thoughts going through my head.

But I have made promises to stay safe. I have made promises that if I am ever in danger or think I might be in danger, I will let someone know. So I did. I didn’t know if they could help or how they could help, but I knew that if something happened and I didn’t at least tell them, they would be hurt.

It took another half hour of talking with them before I felt okay again. I kept hearing in my head that I had a friend and that things were going to be okay until the darkness dispersed. I felt the thickness and weight of a dark fog lift off me. I still hurt beyond belief, but I no longer felt like I was drowning.

I know you can’t completely understand unless you’ve been through this, but I want you to know that we try. Anyone who has depression and attempts to end their life or contemplates suicide tries to be okay. We try to find ways out of the darkness. We try to get help. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work, or we don’t know what resources to turn to, or we can’t seem to find the capacity to use the resources.

They say that suicide is selfish, and maybe it is, but I want you to know that getting to that point doesn’t just come. It’s a struggle. It’s a fight for your life. And if you know someone that loses that fight, I hope you also know that they probably tried everything to be okay. They just didn’t know what else they could do.

If I Had Died

At the beginning of 2009, I tried to take my life. Something happened that made me stay.

I was thinking today about all the things I would have missed out on if I had died that day.

I never would have made my current best friend or my best friend before her.

I never would have met any of my nieces or my nephew, or had the chance to play with any of them or love them.

I never would have graduated from college.

I never would have gone to work at the humanitarian center, where I influenced hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people.

I never would have seen my siblings and friends get married.

I never would have done so many things and taught so many people and made so many friends. I never would have been able to be such an influence for good.

For some of us, it doesn’t get better.

Some of us have had depression for as long as we can remember and it may never go away.

But… just because it doesn’t get easier, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth it.

Sometimes life is hell. It feels like torture and every breath is agony and you desperately long for relief. But… between the agonizing moments, between the gasping for air, between the uncontrollable crying bouts, there are beautiful, amazing, remarkable moments of pure bliss. There are moments that take your breath away and make you cry or leap for joy.

No, it may not get easier, but… it is worth it.

I Still Want to Die

Life is good. Life is super good. Everything is going well. I got into college with the major I want for my second bachelor’s degree. I got into the classes I need. My previous school work transferred well. My job is good. My family is great. I have more friends than ever, and they are completely amazing. Life couldn’t be much better.

Yet, I still lie in bed wanting to die sometimes. I’m not saying this for you to feel sorry for me or worry about me or reach out to me. I’m saying this because it’s real. And maybe because it’s real, I’m not alone. Maybe someone will understand and relate and connect. Maybe someone will not feel so alone after reading this, knowing that someone else feels this way too.

The hardest part about feeling this way is feeling like you can’t tell anyone. Because your life is good and you have no reason, no right to hurt… As if you were in control… And you break because you don’t know why, and you cry because there’s no excuse, and it makes you want to die more because you don’t deserve to feel sorry for yourself, you don’t deserve to be loved because you can’t even make yourself happy when you have every reason to be.

And the problem is that you are happy. You’re incredibly happy. And most of the time you feel like it. But you still want to die. In the darkness of your room, the darkness of your mind, you still think of death. And it seems so beautiful. And you don’t understand the fear because death seems like the only escape. But you are happy. I am happy. You keep repeating it to yourself because it doesn’t make any sense. Why do I want to die when I’m happy?

But it’s okay. It’s just a bad day. It’s just a bad night. Tomorrow will be better. Just go to sleep. Just sleep. Tomorrow will be better.

This was sort of written in a stream of consciousness style. I didn’t edit it. So hopefully it makes sense.

Six Years Later

Six years ago today, I woke up in a  psychiatric hospital for attempting suicide.

I’m not big on anniversaries. I would hardly remember my birthday if Facebook didn’t remind me. And so it is today. Facebook said I had memories. So I went to check them out and saw all the posts of people looking for me because I didn’t realize they take away literally everything when you go to a hospital for attempting suicide, and I hadn’t planned for that by telling people where I was.

Normally I wouldn’t even mention this or bring it back up, but it felt strange to look back at these memories today. It felt strange because I was thinking about suicide again. Not in a serious, I want to do it way. I just still have the thoughts. I still want to die more often than anyone probably realizes.

It’s why I started going back to therapy again. It’s why I’m trying so hard to stay busy all the time. Because I just can’t stop. I can’t stop doing because I can’t stop thinking about suicide. They told us in the hospital, you don’t control the thoughts that come into your mind, but you control what you do with them.

It’s been six years since I have hurt myself. Six years of no self injury whatsoever, no matter how much I wanted to do it or how many times the thoughts have come. I made the decision six years ago today that I would never make people worry about me like they did that day. I would never again take the chance of hurting someone else by hurting myself.

And in all honesty, it’s been hard. It’s hard not to self injure when it comes to mind so often and it seems so easy.

I don’t know why I wrote this other than just to say, if you’re still struggling, keep going. You’re not alone. If you have mostly overcome self injury or a mental illness, but the thoughts are still there, it’s okay. You are not broken just because you have these thoughts. Having thoughts of suicide or self injury does not mean you have to listen to them or that you will do it again or never recover. There is hope. You are not alone. And you can get help.

I may always have thoughts of suicide and self injury, and I have accepted that. I will, however, never again act on those thoughts. Maybe that is inspiring or maybe it’s depressing, I’ll let you decide how you feel about it. For me though, it mostly just is.