18 years ago, I attempted suicide. I know just mentioning the word makes people uncomfortable. I get it, but I’m hopeful that by not being afraid to post about it the stigma can be reduced. I want to offer a ray of hope to anyone who may be in a dark place.
It was my first year of marriage and my first year of teaching and the expectations I placed on myself to excel at both were unrealistic, so in my mind I was failing. I had committed to teaching for four years to pay off a scholarship and felt like I was trapped. I sank further into depression and hopelessness. I knew things weren’t right and wanted to go to counseling, but just continued keep waking up each day in despair. Finally—in an attempt to change my situation—I took a bottle of pills. I immediately regretted my choice. I’m not certain I ever really wanted to die, I just wanted the pain to stop. I woke my husband up and he rushed me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped.
By the grace of God and with the help of ECT I finally came back to myself and have struggled less with depression or mania. I feel like a walking miracle and I try to live each day like someone who has been given a second chance at life because I have been.
I don’t know if in the past 18 years I’ve impacted a lot of people’s lives. I’ve had five kids and spent a lot of those years in ministry so I know I have encouraged some people. I am currently working as a peer specialist in the mental health field and I feel like my experience offers some of my client’s hope. But more than the lives I’ve touched I think of all the life I would have missed and the people I would have never gotten to meet if I had been successful in my attempt at suicide.
I understand hopelessness. I understand darkness and pain and despair, but more than that I understand life and love and joy. Weeping may remain for night, but joy comes in the morning. Suicide is not the answer.
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