For most people, today is just a Saturday. For me and many others who you don't even know are going through this, it is National Survivors of Suicide Day.
Today is a day where my survivors guilt is usually so painful that I block out the world and get lost in mindless TV and binge eating. Everyday, I miss my friends terribly and yet today, I miss them even more. I have lost 9 spectacular humans to suicide and many more acquaintances that I made during my 21 psychiatric hospitalizations. They were my people. They are my people. They will always be my people. They just didn't have the support I did and so today, I mourn them and I celebrate them and today, I am writing this to you.
Five years ago, I committed suicide. I was home alone in my childhood bedroom and the slices on my arms were not alleviating the extreme desperation I felt to escape my reality. The hallucinations, mood lability, isolation, confusion and physical toil were just too much for me to take any longer. I wanted out and I wanted out for good. I had wanted out for many years but for some reason, on that day, something inside me broke. I could not fight any longer. I just hurt too much.
In that moment, I turned to my pill box and swallowed as much as I could get my hands on. I swallowed anti-psychotics, lithium, ambien and clonapin. As the calm drifted over my entire being, I re-read my note. It was short and beautiful and perfect. I began to cry, to sob tears of relief. It was over. I was done. I didn’t have to fight anymore. I didn't have to hide anymore. I didn't have to pretend anymore. I didn’t have to hate myself anymore. I could just be gone and be free and be at peace, for once.
The drugs wooed me into a state of la-la land. And yet, in the peace, I found the first bit of hope I had discovered in years. I was breathing. I was alive and I was at peace. Peace in life was possible. My brain flicked on.
I stumbled up, drunkenly clutched the walls for support before falling to my knees. I crawled my way to my childhood bathroom while stuttering, ’Peace is possible. Peace is possible.’ I somehow got into the shower and turned on the cold water. I looked down to see blood everywhere, as the cuts on my arms turned the bathtub into a hue of blood red.
Pulsing with toxins, I began to purge in desperation. I repeated my words,
‘Peace is possible. Peace is possible.’ I had never been more grateful to be skilled at bulimic tendencies than at that moment for I knew how to purge my entire stomach. I purged and I drank water and I purged more. And I repeated the words, ‘Peace is possible. Peace is possible.’
After hours or purging, I very dangerously drove sedated to the Emergency Department. I walked in, hair wet, fog in my eyes and said the most powerful words we, as humans, possess.
‘I need help.’
I have never told anyone this story. My memory hid it from me until just last week. I think it knew I wasn't ready to process it until recently. And yet, now, today, I need you all to know this story. I need you to hear it. I need you to remember it. I need you to see my face, my humanity and realize that anyone is possible of getting to this point. I need you to remember how important it is to love loudly and accept fully. In this time of divisive labels and hate speech, remember the humanity behind each face, the humanity deep within our cores that binds us not the characteristics that separate us.
May today, we all love each other loudly, not in spite of our differences or because of our differences. May we love each other loudly just as we are. And may we share that peace is possible - that with love and help and work, we can find it together.