I tried to kill myself.

I always felt like the world was going on and I was just observing it — like I could never quite join in.

I felt like a fraud; an alien from another universe stuck on some strange Terrestrial planet as an experiment. I participated in activities, photography, softball, cheer, dance, gymnastics, basketball, drill team, journalism… I was trying to find my place, but I never could.

I thought about killing myself for essentially the entire year of the 10th grade.

I also had a knack for sabotaging myself. I guess even though I wanted to fit in and be liked, I was so afraid to, that I’d destroy the relationships I started to build before I could get hurt.

I found myself searching the internet at the library for “what do normal people have in their houses” and “what do normal people have for food”.

I went back to my high school job at KFC and got a job at a salon nearby. I had gained 15–20 pounds while I was in Arizona from all the drinking and fast food, and suddenly, it bothered me. It really bothered me. I had toyed with calorie restricting in the past, off and on from the 4th grade when people started commenting on my breasts, but this was full-blown anorexia nervosa. I subjected myself to only eating celery and obsessed over groups that were pro-ED. This would only last for a couple of weeks, followed by a binging and purging session. I don’t remember everything from this time period, but I lost a lot of weight, hooked up with a lot of random strangers from the internet out of loneliness, and fought with my mother constantly.

She grabbed the pills, pushed me to the floor, and shoved them in my mouth.

I managed to hide them under my tongue and spit them out, maybe in her face, I don’t know, but she left me alone after that. I planned my escape that night. I had very little money, as I frequently purchased ridiculously overpriced makeup and hair products from the salon I worked at.

They simply can’t believe that I don’t want to have sex with them. They are positive that I want to and that I’m just toying with them.

I never was. Quite frankly, up until I met my kid’s dad, I had never been interested in having sex with anyone at all. All of my experiences had been abuse, assault, guilt, or coercion; I sincerely believed that this was the way of the world. Women didn’t want to have sex, and men just took what they wanted.

It had only been a few months, and here I was, still being used for just sex, another person telling me that’s all I was good for, and me believing it.

I didn’t even want him. I didn’t even like him romantically. My life was just so intertwined with his, and he was sleeping with me whenever he wanted. I should have been thrilled he liked someone else so that I could start to build my own life. But I wasn’t ready to do that.

Everything around me was on fire and the only way to escape was to jump out the only window I had, these pills.

Handful by handful, I swallowed the sleeping pills. Gagging on the potent Irish lager with each pile of pills, until I passed out.

The next 24 hours were undoubtedly some of the worst in my entire life.

BJC Christian Hospital, my hell away from home for a month and a half in 2005.

I was genuinely confused about what was going on, where I was, and why I was there.

They asked me about the pills, so I responded I had a headache. They told me they were sleeping pills, not pain pills, and showed me both of the empty bottles. I froze. It clicked, and I remembered wanting to die. I was terrified. What had I to sabotage my life even further?! I didn’t know what to say, so I just didn’t respond. I felt so alone.

‘I wanted to die. Isn’t that why anyone tries to kill themselves?’

He took more notes. He asked me if I still wanted to die. I lied. ‘No.’ It seemed like this doctor was writing a novel, and I felt like I was failing the test. I answered all of his questions, some truths, some lies, until he excused me. A nurse led me to my room, which I had to share with a pregnant woman.

I cried every time my friends left. In fact, I spent the majority of my time there crying.

I was immediately diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1. I was put on Lithium for the mood stabilizer, an anti-psychotic (which caused insomnia), a sleeping pill (which caused nightmares), a pill to reduce nightmares (which caused anxiety), and valium for my anxiety (which made me pass out for hours). For someone who tried to kill themselves with pills, taking this many pills was a nightmare.

Your friends and family have to clean it up the mess you make.

I didn’t continue seeing the doctor, or taking the drug cocktail he prescribed me. Because I hadn’t shared my past with him, I didn’t believe he diagnosed me correctly. I hated him. No, I didn’t have a renewed zest for life or sudden positive outlook.

Thinking about wanting to die and actually wanting to die aren’t the same.

It’s extremely difficult to express the difference when you’re in it — to anyone at all, especially crisis volunteers. They are trained to get you under observation when you bring up suicidal thoughts. It’s easier when you have a support system that understands the difference between needing to express how awful life is and how you shouldn’t have been born and you want to die, and staying supportive, in spite of how mentally draining this kind of exchange can be.

The overwhelming majority of people who suffer from depression do not attempt suicide.

Facts:

  • 80% of successful suicide attempts are preceded by at least one failed attempt.
  • Youth incarcerated with adults are 19 times more likely to commit suicide, and adults are 6 times more likely commit suicide if they’ve been incarcerated.
  • Adults who suffered childhood abuse and neglect are at more than 10 times greater risk to commit suicide.
  • Victims of sexual assault account for more than 13% of suicide attempts.
  • LGB individuals are more than 5 times more likely to commit suicide, the majority occurring in youth. LGB youth coming from families that reject them based on their sexual orientation are nearly 9 times more likely.
  • 40% of transgendered adults have attempted or successfully committed suicide.
  • Each act of LGBT victimization on an individual increases the chances of a suicide attempt by 2.5 times.
  • 23% of survivors of domestic abuse have attempted to commit suicide.
  • Victims of bullying are up to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • People living in poverty account for 75% of world-wide suicides, and data suggests that poverty is a high predictor of suicide, especially among students and men over the age of 45.
  • Youth exposed to suicide and attempts by friends, family, and sensational news are nearly 7 times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • People with substance abuse problems, including alcoholism, are 6 times more likely to commit suicide.
  • Youth without enough food in their homes are 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
  • Youth in foster care are nearly 4 times at risk to committing suicide, they are also at the greatest risk of abuse, neglect, and malnourishment, increasing the risks up to 10 fold.
  • 1 in 4 retired veterans suffers from PTSD, putting veterans at at least 4 times higher risk for suicide.
  • Unexpected unemployment resulting in financial ruin increases suicide risk by nearly 3 times.
  • Parents who survive the death of a child are twice as likely to commit suicide.
  • Women are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. (Though men are far more likely to do so successfully, accounting for nearly 75% of all suicides. This is known as the ‘gender suicidality paradox’.)

You cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good you can do.

If you want to be a champion against suicide, choose something here you’re passionate about, and fight to change it. I personally fight to help against childhood hunger and abuse, and for socioeconomic change.

My tattoo reminding me to love myself.

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