I have struggled with suicidal thoughts since I was six years old. I remember vividly how difficult first grade was for me. The weather was extremely cold that year and I had several bouts with pneumonia and bronchitis. So I was out of school a lot and never was able to make connections with other students in my class. Therefore, I was alone and it was so hard on me. I tried several times to bury my face in my pillow so that I would die of suffocation, but it never worked. Somehow, I would always turn over and wake up still breathing, but with a really bad headache!
Over the years, whenever I would face a series of difficult times or if I would be overwhelmed, my first thoughts always lingered to suicide. I could never seem to problem solve a way out of my issues. What I learned during those formative years is that no one was going to help me through my problems or save me from my situations. I would have to do it all by myself. I realized that if I could wait out my problems, I would probably be able to survive. Yet, the pain was so great that waiting things out were hard. I resolved to cutting the inside of my arms and legs as a way to redirect that pain I was feeling on the inside to something that was more focused and seemingly more real on the outside.
After my abuse, depression and suicide plagued me almost daily. There were times when I was so exhausted from trying to regulate my feelings while simultaneously working to be the “perfect” young man, that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was a great actor and could hide my true feelings and emotions from even those closest to me. As an abuse survivor, this is a skill that we develop and perfect so that no one will discover the shameful acts that have been done to us. I think I did a really good job at hiding things; probably a fact that I shouldn’t be proud of.
Fortunately, I think it was my depressive lows that saved me from succeeding in ending my life. I just didn’t have the energy nor the focus to be able to carry it out. Most survivors and others who struggle with suicide will seem perfectly fine and almost like their lives are at their best right before they end their lives. It’s at that moment that they have the energy to carry out the act and the peace to know that their pain will be coming to an end.
Watch out for those who indicate they may have some thoughts of suicide. It’s a very real, and very scary fact to have to deal with. However, I believe that if we are watching out for each other, it will help us to be open when we truly need the help.