*Trigger/Content Warning: suicide, self-harm, depression, alcohol abuse, mention of blood and death*
I never know how to start these kinds of things, so I’m going to just tell you a story. One day in the fall of 2014, my brain made the executive decision that my time here was up. That was it; I had reached the end, couldn’t bear to go on any longer, hated myself, and wanted the hurt to be over. My depression was at the worst it had been in my whole life. Normally people would say here “I won’t go into detail but—“, however, I am going to go into detail because I never have before and I think this is something I need to do for you to understand the reality of mental illness.
I would sleep in as long as I could to avoid existing as myself. On really bad days, I wouldn’t turn the lights on when I had to use the bathroom because I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. I would brush my teeth in the dark. I would shower in the dark. I would pee in the dark. Sometimes I would smash my head against the wall or the floor. Sometimes I would hit myself in the head over and over until my knuckles swelled up. A lot of times I would cut myself. I used box cutters that I had in my bedroom leftover from moving in a few months prior. I would cut my arms, my legs, my stomach, one time I cut my face. I always regretted it after, but this would happen once a month or so. Whenever people would ask about the marks, I would have the most bizarre excuses. “Hopped a fence and fell on it” was one I used for the scars on my legs. I remember someone saw the cuts on my stomach and I told them a dresser drawer fell out of its tracks and scratched me up. Unfortunately for me, it was a lot easier to lie than it was to ask for help. I didn’t eat much, but I drank a lot. I wasn’t able to do anything without having a buzz or being completely drunk. Anything. I would drink before I went to get groceries, before taking transit, before handing out resumes, before job interviews, literally before anything.
I hated being me and when I was drunk I didn't have to deal with that reality as hard. I remember being on the bus one night, drunk and sobbing uncontrollably. Like the kind of cry when you can’t really breathe, and I remember the bus lighting, so bright and harsh, and everyone just staring at me. Like I was in a T.V. show. And I remember thinking, holy shit, this is my pathetic fucking life. On display, for everyone to see. This is who I am and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less—just sad. All of the time. Fast forward to the next day, that’s when I decided that that was it; I just wanted it all to be over. I didn’t write a note because I didn’t know what to say. I had a few journals in my bedside table that already had everything I could possibly say in them. If I’m being honest, I was really selfish during this whole thought process. I didn’t think of anyone else. My roommates who would find me, my parents who would find out over the phone that their daughter had died, my brother who would lose his little sister, my friends who would miss me. I couldn’t think about these things because then I wouldn’t do it. And I wanted to do it. I really did. I took two pills, had a bottle of wine, ran a bath, stood over the tub with my box cutters, and let my legs have it.
I sat in the bathtub, crying, with red water all around me, and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath in and I remember thinking “I will finally know peace.” At that moment, I thought that would be the last feeling I would ever have. I don’t remember how much time passed by, as it felt like I was caught in this middle realm of existence where I was about to pass from one world to another. I remember feeling a lot of things that night, but fear was not one of them. I wasn’t scared; I was sure of myself and I was ready. I’m sure by this point (if you’ve made it this far) you’re wondering what happened that changed my desired outcome because I am obviously sitting here, alive, typing this right now. Well, let me tell you. My phone was on the floor beside the bathtub, and as I laid there in the dark, all of a sudden the room was illuminated. I honestly do not know what inside of me told me to check what it was, I could only think that I wanted to humour myself and have it be just another reminder of how sad my life is. Who knows. Anyways, this is the crucial moment where my life changed. It was really simple, but it genuinely saved my life. Like, literally. I picked up the phone with my wet hands to check what it was; my friend Hannah texted me to say hi and ask me how I was doing.
I remember sighing, possibly of some relief, putting the phone down, stepping out of the bathtub, and draining the water. I cleaned up my wounds, bandaged them, texted her back, and then went to bed with wet hair and a small bit of hope for tomorrow. And that was that. I can’t tell you if I had any huge epiphanies or newfound lust for life, I just know that I had one last try in me and I was going to use it. And I did, and here we are six years later. I’m now 28 and I didn’t think I would make it to see 23. I beat my own odds, with myself and with some help from others. But at the end of the day, I did this. I went from the very lowest of lows to where I am now. It’s been a journey, a hard one, and it will always be for me. I have depression and I have anxiety. I experience panic attacks. I don’t have a “normal” brain. I’ve learned to accept that because it’s who I am. I didn’t choose to be suicidal, but I chose suicide as a last resort to find some solace I was so direly in desperation of. Despite those two things, I ended up choosing to live. And I am really damn grateful that I did.
Alright, so we’ve made it to the moral of the story. I do believe I am alive today because my dear friend Hannah cares about me and checked in on me. So, this is me, caring about you and checking in on you. This is me texting you and asking you how you’re doing. This is me telling you that you are important and that you are loved. Please don’t kill yourself. Please don’t leave. I know it can get unbearable, trust me I really know. I am here for you, I understand you, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your struggles. I share those struggles with you, and I wish I could relieve you of them. I have grown strong enough to tell you that it gets better. It takes time, but it gets better. I never thought it would, I really didn’t. I thought it was all going to be sad forever. Incase you haven’t heard it in a while, you are strong, you are resilient, you are not your mental illness. You are you, and you are loved. You are needed here. You are doing your best. Please keep trying. I really hope this helps you.
Just as I never know how to start these things, it’s probably no surprise that I don’t know how to end them either. If you’ve made it all the way to the end, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am now five years clean from self-harm. I am still friends with Hannah, and we still check on each other. I always saw myself to be unlovable and alone, but now I live happily in my home with my loving partner and our dog. I still have my bad days, I still have my scars, I still have my memories, but I am able to carry them now instead of letting them drag me behind. I often find myself questioning my purpose here on earth, and right now I think it is to tell you to stay here with me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I was, and it almost cost me my life. Keep going, okay? We can do it, I believe in us.
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