Personal Stories

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health, suicide or substance use crisis or emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at to connect to a trained crisis counselor. You can also get crisis text support via the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741.

How Can I Explain How I Feel?

by Terri Phoenix

I am a survivor of a suicide attempt. I am also someone who, at times, feels the pull for the peace of death due to the pain, nightmares and memories that I live with. 
How can I explain the experience of heavy-heartedness, weariness, depression and anxiety that I experience even as I have built a life full of friends, loved ones, family, meaningful work and moments of extreme happiness? 
How can I explain the feeling of going to sleep at night hoping that the next day won’t come and waking up in the morning feeling overwhelmed by the awaiting demands of the day? 
How can I explain the times when a regular length lifespan feels like it might not be doable? That I feel I may not be able to fulfill all the expectations of life while simultaneously experiencing ongoing nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts from a childhood filled with repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of multiple perpetrators and family members? 
Through therapy and sobriety, I have developed coping tools that help and that have allowed me to build a wonderful life. I am grateful for the treatment team and friends and family that I have. They are amazing. Yet I still worry sometimes that they may not want to hear about these difficult feelings. 
I need reminders that I am not alone. I need reminders that those who love me want to hear how I feel, that they don’t believe I should “be over that now” or “focus only on the good things in life.” My focus on gratitude for the good things and people in my life is what keeps me from another suicide attempt. But there are days I need understanding and support for how difficult life feels in my skin. Please don’t get tired of offering that support, because feeling isolated and alone with a sense of unabated pain and weariness is the most dangerous place for me to be.