When I was 16, I attempted suicide. For months I thought about dying, it was almost a day-dream. I longed for it, and I felt confident I was ready. I planned the day and time almost a week and a half before I attempted suicide. The plan was set so I could know if I was going to change my mind. It was Sunday morning, and I hadn’t. I went to my parent’s room to the drawer I’d visited many times before–where they kept the handgun, but it wasn’t there. I had never been angrier, and so I kept living.
Things were kind of a blur from there, and they came back into focus when I was at the hospital. I spent hours being interviewed by who I assume were doctors. I still felt so angry that there wasn’t a gun in that drawer. I was finally told that I was being admitted to the behavioral unit, and I was handcuffed to a wheelchair. I was pushed by a tall man to a door that opened into a long hallway. We entered the hallway, and as the heavy doors locked shut, I thought about how I could die. The hallway was long, and there were no windows. My mind raced through every way I could act out to get this man to kill me. There would be no witnesses because it was only us in a long hallway…what could I do or say that would get him to do what I wanted to so badly? Nothing. The exit door swung open, and we were at the entrance of the behavioral unit, and so I kept living.
At that point, living was not my choice, but one day it was. After I had returned home from my mission, I thought about what I wanted and what I needed. I had spent the more part of five years wanting to die, but I was still here. I realized that I believed in very little. I didn’t believe in people, and I didn’t believe I’d have support in my future. I realized that hadn’t changed since my first suicide attempt, and then I thought that if I wanted to keep living, I NEEDED to believe in something. I believed in God; I was sure of that, so I asked God what I needed. I found I needed to believe that my future could be happy and that support would surround me, and that’s when things changed. I kept living because I knew what I needed. It was not what I wanted, but for now, it would do.
Today I can recognize that I always had support and that I always had a bright future, and I’m glad I kept living. There were times that I felt others were so selfish for making me live–If they knew what I was feeling, they would not force me to stay. There were times when I felt lonely, and others moments I was angry. I even had times that I felt happy, but it never really stayed around very long. But, today I can say that I have others around me, and they support me. When I find myself crying, I have people to help me. I find God’s love for me in the hard-working hands of my husband. I find happiness in the squeals of my daughter, and I find joy in living.
Don’t get me wrong; my life is not perfect. My life is not always happy, and I’m not always confident in myself or others. I have more sad days than I’d like to admit, and way more than I’d like to have…but I’m not angry I’m alive anymore. I’ve found that “and so I kept living” has turned into “I’m glad I am living.” And more than anything, I want that for everyone else. I know that it gets hard and that the thought of living one more minute with all of that pain feels too exhausting. I can never fully know your story or your struggle, and I’m sorry for that. One thing I know for sure, though; I will never know enough of your story if you don’t live. No one else can tell your story the way you can, and I want to hear it. The world wants to hear it, and so I’m hoping you’ll stay. I am hoping you’ll find that what you need is to believe that you have a happy future. I’m hoping you’ll stay long enough to find your people. I am hoping you’ll find joy in living, and I’m hoping you’ll tell me how. The world needs your life as inspiration, not your death.