Despite the rapid increase in numbers in the past few years, suicide still remains a taboo subject, something we don’t want to talk about and generally don’t until it hits close to home. Despite the recent and ongoing efforts of the media to increase general social awareness on the topic, it is most often spoken of as a statistic rather than in terms of preventative measures, and those numbers will continue to rise as long as we, as a society keep looking away. Talking about it does not encourage it but instead helps to opens minds and lines of communication and promotes understanding and empathy.
As you may, or may not know, I have survived three suicide attempts, the details of which are irrelevant right now, as the causes take prevalence. I did not just wake up on three separate occasions and impulsively decide to kill myself, rather the combination of years of abuse and the consequent depression, BPD, dysthymia and anxiety wore me down to the point of seeing no other option to end the pain. That is the depth that some illnesses go, convincing your mind and lying to you to shatter and leave only a glimpse of hope, if anything at all, and without that, what do we have to hold on to.
Being a victim of childhood abuse, be it sexual or otherwise is the ultimate loss of control for a child. It is not only the trauma of the acts themselves but the sheer terror that accompanies it. In most cases the perpetrator is someone we know or at least are familiar with, and the fear of repercussions is almost insurmountable. This loss of control is one thing that has carried over into numerous areas of my life for years. No one likes things that are completely out of their control, but for the survivor, that is enhanced tenfold, to the point of becoming a trigger of the past, that is how it is for me anyway. Any situation that I have little to no control over triggers my mind back to the childhood traumas when I was also helpless, and amplifies the intensity of my depression and anxiety to a level I cannot explain.
The years of domestic abuse I watched was just another thing that was completely out of my regulation. No matter what efforts I put forth to try and interrupt or cause a distraction failed and with that another major loss of control in my life. When the domestic abuse stopped, the cancer began, and dealing with my mom’s six year battle and her impending death was the ultimate loss of control. Having to just sit helplessly and watch someone you love die a slow, lengthy death is a torture I would not wish on anyone. Even going through the process of recovery requires a relinquishment of control by having to “follow the lead” of a therapist. Often when I am trying to try to heal a past trauma in therapy, the resulting triggers bring your mind right back to the times when I had no control and that feeling consumes my present and adds to the fear of the future.
Suicide is in my control.
As unorthodox as this may seem to someone else, the thought of having complete control over whether I live or die has provided me, many times, with enough of a sense of comfort to make it through what may have been an otherwise unsafe night. While it seems like the rest of my world is turning into chaos and growing further out of my management, the fact that I can control something as essential to life as a breath gives me a sense of strength. I do realize in essence, everyone is in the same position, being able to end their lives, but being passively suicidal most of the time, I often feel that is truly the only thing that is in my control; and just knowing that provides enough hope and comfort to get through those nights, and live to fight another day.