The thoughts never truly end. They stick with me like my shadow, but appear not only when I step into the light. They carry a weight that pulls me back two steps for every one I move forward, hindering the progress I work so hard to achieve. They are like a nagging voice trapped in the back of my mind, calling me towards the darkness. An irrational voice that spends its time trying to negate every positive thought I have worked to achieve. Thoughts as strong as the tide nipping at my ankles, trying to pull me back out to the unknown depths of a vast sea. I have survived this battle three times physically, and mentally in the thousands, and although my last physical suicide attempt was years ago, the emotional battle is a daily ongoing.
Not too long ago, I was told I had chronic suicidal ideations, which I did not know was even a thing to have. Apparently because these thoughts began when I was so young, and have been so constant for so many years, they have become more of an innate nature than a learned behavior. My first attempt when I was eight years old certainly was not the first time I had thought about dying. It was, however, the beginning of me understanding the results that would come from my actions. It was when I realized that whatever this death thing really meant, it held one guarantee; I would be free of pain.
I am not sure the quantity of pills I swallowed that day. I do know that the entire incident was written off as a simple accident; a case of a child not listening, misbehaving, and testing the limits. In those days it would not have even been a fleeting thought that there could be any intention behind my actions. I was taken off to therapy to have a professional tell me it was not possible that I was suicidal. What possibly could I have gone through in eight short years that would prompt such an act of desperation? I was told I was confused, just feeling sad, and that it must have been a mistake. I certainly did not understand what death was. I was invalidated, judged, misunderstood and brushed aside.
As the years continued, dying became a regular part of my perception of life. The thoughts were increasingly darker and lasted longer and I had devised hundreds of plans in my head…the where, the when and the how. I had no remorse for the people I may hurt as none of them had protected me when I had needed it most, and perhaps they were the root cause of this unbearable pain I lived with hour after hour, day after day. My second attempt was significantly more serious and resulted in a hospitalization in which my stomach was pumped and my cuts stitched up. I was berated, chastised and again, invalidated by my parents and a team of health professionals. It wasn’t me wanting to end my life, it was a teenage act of rebellion; it was a selfish cry for attention that should not go unpunished. I was released three days later. There was no follow up appointment and no trips to therapists or social workers. The incident was a closed topic and was not spoken of again.
I gave up on the actions over my teenage years, but the thoughts and plans continued. I knew I would be unable to proceed until after my Mom had died, and the preoccupation with her battle with cancer had been the one thing that had kept me alive. The number of times I prayed to switch places with her was countless. In my mind, she could live and I could get the peace I was so desperately seeking. Watching the slow process of a loved one dying just reinforced the thoughts that lived in the darkness of my mind; suicide was the quickest and only way out.
My mom’s death destroyed my world and the thoughts of dying became increasingly welcome. The only person that loved me was gone, and I no longer had to live, or hold on to this overwhelming pain that was consuming my life. I could finally feel peaceful, free and safe. To this day, I am not sure what kept me going over the following years. I awoke to the sadness of having woken up and went to sleep praying not to wake. The thoughts were rampant and instinctual. If something bad happened, it was manageable only because if worse came to worse I could always just end my life. Suicide became the instant solution to anything and everything that caused me pain, and although I knew that one day I would lose my fight, I carried that as a sense of comfort.
I had one more attempt which was meticulously planned and carried out, and to this day I cannot understand why I am still here. It simply should not have been possible for me to survive and I have spent so much time analyzing why I did, but as I have come to learn over the years, I guess it simply was not my time. Perhaps my life had an underlying purpose which I had yet to discover.
Fast forward to present day, and I find myself still searching for that reason, that explanation as to why I lived. I would like to say I have no more thoughts, and no more plans, but that simply is not the case. I am not sure if I will ever experience a day when they don’t at least drift across my mind. The actions may be under control for now, but they can sneak up on me with the velocity and ferociousness of a tornado and I will always have to remain aware and alert to keep them at bay. I will always be searching for something to provide the same sense of relief and comfort as those thoughts do, but as long as I am searching, it means I am fighting, which means I have yet to give up.