The following is an excerpt from Sex, Suicide and Serotonin: Taking Myself Apart, Putting Myself Back Together:
I knew that I was going to have to get drunk to take my life.
Even though it was only a little after 10:00 a.m., I started swigging my favorite cheap Shiraz right out of the bottle. The room temperature liquid glided smoothly down my throat until I had drained that bottle and started chugging another. This was no time to worry about looking like a wino. Besides, I rather liked the pathetic image that drinking right out of the bottle evoked. In my mind, it was most fitting for the occasion.
I added a bottle of my antidepressants and a bottle of Tylenol PM to the assortment I’d taken from Julie. With my heart thundering in my chest, I wondered if I could really do it. Cramming a handful of pills in my mouth, I quickly spit them back out. Once. Twice. A third time.
While tears rolled down my cheeks, dripped off of my chin, and made little dark spots on my shirt, I felt crushed that it had come to this point. I didn’t want to do it, but at the same time, I did. I knew that if I did it, I’d regret it, but I also knew that if I didn’t do it, I’d regret it.
My mind raced. The boys will be better off without me. I’m no good for them. I’m a sad excuse for a mother. I can’t even handle them now. It’s only going to get worse. I don’t earn any money. Never have. I never did anything with my college degree. How will I support them? What kind of pitiful example am I? My marriage ended in a hellacious mess that never stops. They deserve better than this. Now, I can’t even keep a boyfriend. What’s the point? I’m so tired of it all.
Washing them down with gulps of wine, I quickly swallowed handful after handful of the happy-colored pills. They looked like candy, but there was no sweet taste. I knew that you weren’t supposed to mix meds with alcohol, but in this case, it didn’t matter.
That should do it. I felt calmer, triumphant, and proud even for having had the guts to actually pull the trigger. Once the deed was done, the snarly bitch in my mind finally shut up. The mental movie of the hideous past and dreaded future reached the end of the reel, and it was eerily quiet inside my head for the first time in a long time.
Peace and quiet. That’s what I really wanted. A break from the non-stop chatter, all the “should haves” and “what ifs.” My inner voice never shut up long enough to even let me sleep. Like the energizer bunny after a Starbucks Grande, my brain hopped tirelessly from panic-inducing thoughts to harsh self-criticisms to an endless supply of regrets — even though it knew damn well that it was 4:00 a.m. and I had to get up early, get the kids to school, and go to real estate sales training all day the next day. Stressing about being too stressed to sleep only made me more anxious and more unable to go to sleep.
It took years of wrong turns, things not working out, and being flat-out disappointed and disgusted with life to get to this point. My life was like a pile of laundry that never got washed and had grown to an overwhelming heap, as more dirty clothes kept being thrown on the top of the stack. Growing deep within the mountain of fabric were bacteria, mold, and God-only-knows what else. The soiled mound reeked with a sour, foul odor that stung my nostrils. I didn’t know where to begin to sort it, and I didn’t have the energy to begin to try.
I was way too young to feel this old and tired. Mentally and emotionally exhausted, I was just plain worn out and had nothing left.
Suicide Affects Us All
I’ve tried to end my life three times. Unfortunately, I’m not alone in this distinction.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide every year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide in 2012, making it the 15th leading cause of death, and the second leading killer among 15-29-year-olds globally in the same year.
In the United States, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that 117 persons take their lives every day on average. For every death, there are 25 attempts.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with the goal of promoting resources and awareness around suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.
So, let’s talk about it.
Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. A 2006 study of 26,000 college students showed that over half had considered suicide at some point. Eighteen percent of the undergraduates had thought seriously about it.
When I tell my experiences, I often get a “me too” story from people relaying that they found themselves in a similar dark, hopeless place at one time in their life. By sharing our stories, we can take away some of the shame and help each other accept ourselves and heal.
Just thinking about suicide is fairly common. Taking the thoughts seriously is an indication that someone needs help.
And, here’s further reading:
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk of Suicide
- How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal
- Preventing Suicide as a Family Member or Caregiver
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
Please check out these helpful resources:
- If you are in crisis or experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts call: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
- For more information, referrals or support call: NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 911 immediately.