We need to talk about suicide.
*The following post contains details about suicide and self-harm that may be triggering to some.
I’m here today to talk to you about suicide.
Since I first started working on this website a couple months ago, I have debated whether or not I want to speak publicly about my suicide attempt. There is so much stigma around the topic of suicide that it scares me immensely to speak about my experience with it.
Despite all my fears, I know that it is important for me to share this story. I believe that if I am to effectively advocate for mental health issues, one of the best ways I can help break the stigma surrounding it is by owning my story completely.
My suicide story is unique to me, and as with any mental health issue, my experiences are not the same as anyone else’s. Nonetheless, I hope that my story can speak to those who may have experienced something similar, and that it can help people to understand why killing yourself can feel like a necessary and sometimes only option for some.
It was just over 6 months ago that I tried to kill myself.
I see my suicide attempt as my most desperate cry for help.
My way of trying to put a stop to the feelings of worthlessness, torment, and inferiority that I tried but failed to escape for so long. My way of trying to put a stop to the ever consuming thoughts that my depression ensued on me throughout much of my life.
My suicide attempt occurred at a slightly surprising time in relation to my struggle with depression. In the months prior to my attempt, I was actually the happiest I had ever been in a very long time. Just less than a year before, I had finally gotten a strong hold over my depression and I was managing my mental health better than I ever had before. I had found a good medication, I was seeing a trusted therapist regularly, and I was becoming more open with my friends and family about the mental health challenges that I was dealing with. For the first time in a very long time, I felt truly happy.
But as with most things, recovery is not a straight line.
After several months of finally feeling good and on top of my mental health, I began to neglect many of the things that were necessary for me in maintaining it. I became lazy at taking my medication, I stopped seeing my therapist, and I ignored the obvious signs that my mental health was worsening. I started to resort back to the negative thought patterns and habits that I had worked so hard at unlearning. And when I started to notice significant changes in my mood and motivation, I kept it a secret.
Everything that I had just spent the past year working at I seemed to completely neglect. I was so relieved that I was finally feeling good after so long, that I took my positive mental state for granted. I forgot to take care of my mental health, and as a result, I relapsed back into a deep depression.
When my depression came back it hit me really hard.
I remember feeling super angry with myself for feeling so down after all the improvements I had been making with my mental health. It felt like all the advances I had made had gone completely down the drain. I could hardly remember how good I had been feeling just a couple short months ago.
It didn’t even matter that my depression had been so well managed for quite some time. Because when it came back, this low mood and these feelings of worthlessness completely consumed me. I suddenly didn’t have any motivation for anything and was only seeing the negatives in the world and in myself.
When my depression came back, it felt different from the depression I had become so familiar with in the years prior. Rather than feeling completely unmotivated and numb as I had for many years, I felt more impulsive, more angry, and like a failure at everything I did.
Since I first started feeling depressed at age 11, I have struggled with self harm and suicidal thoughts on and off. But until 6 months ago, I had never actually acted upon these urges.
In the years prior, I was always too emotionally empty and numb to go through with my thoughts of suicide. But this time around, the negative emotions I felt so strongly were combined with a motivation and desire to actually act on them.
This active urge made my suicidal thoughts so much more dangerous and real.
I desperately needed help.
Unfortunately, I did not ask for it. And I gave no reason for those around me to worry or wonder if I was okay.
I told nobody what was going through my head, and I kept my thoughts of suicide completely to myself.
Looking back on the day of my suicide attempt, I don’t think I actually wanted to die. But I wanted the suffocating emotional pain I felt to stop.
My depression didn’t allow me to think logically. I could only focus on how worthless and terrible I felt about my abilities and my worth.
Killing myself was the only option I could envision as a way out of my pain.
It feels impossible to accurately explain what I was thinking or feeling the morning of my suicide attempt. I have tried numerous times to put into words what was going through my head on this day, but everything that I have come up with does not capture the darkness that was weighing over me.
I’ve decided not to talk about specific details of my suicide attempt as it is quite difficult for me to discuss and I realize that it may be quite triggering for some people to read.
I do however want to highlight how incredibly fortunate I am to have the support system and healthcare that I do. I recognize that not everyone has this same privilege or support.
I am beyond grateful to be alive today. No words can express how thankful I am to be alive and healthy.
My suicide attempt has acted as a huge wake up call for me. It has been a big turning point in my life that has ultimately motivated me to be a mental health advocate for teens and anyone else looking for support. I don’t want to be ashamed of my suicide attempt. And I won’t be ashamed about my challenges with my mental health.
By sharing my suicide story, I hope to bring light to this stigmatized issue - a subject that a surprising amount of people have close experiences with, but nobody talks about.
I would also like to make it clear that my suicide attempt was nobody’s fault.
It was not my fault. It was not my parents’ faults. It was not my friends’ faults.
It’s very difficult to tell if someone is feeling suicidal. And it’s equally as challenging to know what to do if you are in fact aware that someone you know is contemplating it.
This is why if you ever have the slightest suspicion that someone you know is thinking of suicide or of harming themselves, please call 911. When someone is at the point of actively wanting to end their life, they need to be in emergency care with professionals who are trained to help them.
Never hesitate to contact emergency if you or someone you know might be a danger to themselves.
Likewise, if you suspect someone is suicidal, do not hesitate to ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Asking is one of the best things you can do, and it’s not going to make someone more likely to go through with their suicide plan. If anything, it will show the suicidal person that someone is listening and that someone cares.
Another thing that I want to emphasize is the importance of prevention. Prevention is something that everyone can play a part in every single day. And it can have a very positive impact.
There is so much that can be done to help someone before they reach the point of wanting to kill themselves. Yet unfortunately, when someone has already reached the point of wanting to end their life, it gets a lot more challenging.
Reach out to your loved ones. Ask genuine questions. Trust your gut instinct if you suspect something’s wrong. And educate yourself and those in your life about mental health issues.
These simple things can go a very long way! Make a habit of them.
The roughly 4000 lives that are lost every year in Canada to suicide are proof that the mental health system is in need of improvement, and that we must continue to provide better support for those struggling with mental health issues.
No words can be said to truly honour the lives that have been lost to suicide, but the support we provide to all those who are still here with us can go great lengths in preventing others from considering suicide as an option themselves.
We need to encourage more authentic conversations about suicide so that those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and urges can feel more comfortable talking about their feelings and in accessing the help they need.
I would like every one of you reading this to take a moment to appreciate your life.
As cheesy as it sounds, things do get better. Life may feel completely pointless and hopeless right now, but it is not going to be this bad forever. I know this might sound like the shittiest promise ever, but it is actually true. Even thought it may not seem like it.
I can promise that if you keep hanging in there, a day will come where things are brighter.
I am living proof that you can and you will find things that motivate, inspire, and excite you no matter how low of a point you are at right now.
If you are feeling suicidal, please promise me that you will hold onto your life. Take it hour by hour, day by day. And if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for me. No matter how bad it gets, please keep on breathing. The relief you may be seeking does not lie in death.
Most importantly, please, please, please, reach out to someone. Whether you are feeling suicidal, or simply worried about your mental health.
If there is someone you trust, tell them how you’re feeling! The people in your life care about you much more than you probably realize.
You are valuable to this world and to everyone that has and who will have the privilege of knowing you. Even if you cannot see this for yourself right now.
I love you all. Thank you for listening to my story. I hope this has given you some strength and insight.