Seven years ago–February 12, 2010–was a day much like today: it was dark, dreary, and cold. Forecasters were calling for snow, and a thin layer of fog blanketed the sky, creating a palpable sense of heaviness and uneasiness. A perfect storm was brewing.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the day I tried to die.
For some people, the thought of someone actively trying to kill themselves is unfathomable–it goes against ever innate response in the human body. Our bodies try so hard to keep us alive, and, most of the time, doctors try to prolong life as long as possible. But sometimes our body’s will to survive can be overpowered by the brain: mind over matter, as some people would say.
For some people, their suicide is carefully planned: the day, the hour, the method are all accounted for; arrangements are made; goodbyes are said. For some people, like me, it’s sudden, unplanned, a split second decision (or lack thereof), a brief moment of your brain saying, “I can’t do this anymore,” a moment where your brain turns off.
Those of you who know me, know my story. Those of you who don’t, reading any of my blog posts will fill you in on the events that lead up to my suicide attempt. This post is not the place.
This post is about the moments right before, during, right after, and years later. This post is me, trying to make sense of everything, seven years later.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about the events leading up to and the moments immediately following my suicide attempt. Trying to recall them is like trying to remember the one movie you saw once a long time ago, and when you try to describe it to your friends you’re like, “You know that one movie with that one scene where such-and-such a thing happens,” and you start to get frustrated because you can see what happened but you can’t quite put it into words. It’s kind of like that. Or it’s kind of like the time you knock yourself out when you go sledding with your Youth Group and get a concussion: you can remember being at the top of the hill and then being back at the top of the hill, but everything in between is kind of fuzzy.
I don’t remember writing the note, swallowing the pills, or even how many I took. I can’t even tell you how long I laid there before I threw the pills back up. Time has a way of being distorted: some moments seem like forever, and some seem like no time at all. It’s like that time I was raped, and it felt like I was lying there for hours, but in reality, it only took fifteen minutes.
I don’t remember how long I laid on my bed. But I remember watching the snow fall outside my window; the moon was bright that night, casting shadows of falling snow on the opposite wall. I remember feeling so heavy and so tired that I closed my eyes. I remember being jolted awake by a quiet whispering voice, like a gentle breeze on a hot summer day. “You’ll be ok.” (if I ever get a tattoo, that will be the one.)
I remember throwing up the pills, shoving the letter I wrote into one of my many notebooks, and then not telling anybody what happened for a while. If I pretended it never happened, maybe I would just forget that it ever did.
But the thing about secrets is that keeping them is so hard–they’re hard to carry.
Eventually, they start bubbling up to the surface, threatening to pour out of your mouth at the wrong times. I remember the first person I told, and then the second. I remember sitting down in the teen room at my church with my Youth Pastor and a youth leader telling my parents, with the snow lightly falling outside.
I remember the look on my parents’ faces; my dad pulling me into a bear hug, squeezing me tight as if he never wanted to let me go.
I remember telling my friends and then my Youth Group (some of the relationships have never been the same but I’ve also made so many new ones). And now I’m sitting here, telling random people on the internet, although if you’re reading this, we can be friends, too.
I remember the years since that day: the good times and the bad. The healing and the step-backs.
For all the things I don’t remember, there are a million things that I do, whether I want to or not.
I have more questions than I have answers: Why did I get a second chance when so many others do not? Why did this happen? What was the point of all this?
Sometimes the guilt I feel for surviving when so many others do not makes it hard to get out of bed. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve a second chance; maybe I’ll mess it up, but sometimes, I’m ever so grateful.
It’s been seven years since that night, and I’m trying to make the most of every moment. I have faith that God has a marvelous plan for my future, one that I cannot even begin to comprehend. I try to remember my past because it makes me grateful for the moments I’ve been given, the moments yet to come.
A few years ago, I found the suicide note. I ripped it up and threw it out the car window while I was driving, watching the pieces of who I once was blow around in the wind.
It’s been seven years, and the scar on my wrist (that I don’t remember cutting) from that night is not really a scar anymore. It’s more of a faint line of lighter skin among skin that’s slightly darker: light in the darkness, reminding me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.
It’s supposed to snow tonight. And I hope there’s a moon. Something about the way that the moonlight reflects off the snow making the night seem brighter than it should be is so beautiful.
I live for the beauty, and I hope the world is more beautiful with me in it because I know it is with you.