To the Person Sitting in a Hospital After a Suicide Attempt
I was you.
I sat in the ambulance watching my heartbeat on the screen. Hoping it would stop. Knowing I was caught. Knowing it would keep going. Looking at my vitals I knew weren’t normal. So many questions, so many emotions, so many thoughts. I wanted it all to just stop. I was you. In the hospital, staring at the walls. Wondering how I got there. Wondering why I was there and alive instead of at home and gone.
I know you’ve got five million thoughts in your mind right now. Please take a minute to catch your breath. Let the swarm of chaos in your mind settle down as you come back to your senses and breathe.
I know you’re hurting.
I’m so sorry it got to this point. I’m so sorry you didn’t find help before you felt this hopeless. I hope now things will change for the better. I know they can. Please give them a chance. Take a few minutes to just breathe. In and out, slow and steady. Feel that little tiny bit of peace coming into your mind. Cling to it. Let your raging thoughts calm and your emotions settle. Take a minute to process everything that just happened. A lot can happen in a short amount of time. You won’t be able to process everything right away. That’s OK.
Please give yourself another chance. Please give life another chance. Please keep trying. You’re worth something in this world. You’re treasured and valued more than you know and more than I can put in words. You’re a wonderful person, I have no doubts you are capable of doing amazing things.
Don’t worry about anyone else for a while. Focus on you. Tell anyone and everyone around you what you think you need. You know your body and you know yourself. You’ve got to speak up. You’ll probably be in the hospital for a while. Find a nurse or clinician or social worker or chaplain with whom you feel comfortable opening up to. Talk about how you’re really feeling and what you need to change so that gets better.
Don’t be afraid to cry. There’s no time more emotionally intense than right now. You ran out of hope. You tried to give up. It didn’t work. You’re here and you didn’t plan to be. Life can feel very confusing and directionless at this point. That’s OK. I know there’s a seemingly endless stream of questions in your mind, but you can’t even get past the first one to figure out the rest. It’s OK to fall apart. It’s OK to vent. It’s OK to sob into your pillow. It’s OK to not be OK. You’re allowed to be selfish right now. You’re allowed to be real. You don’t have to hold it all together. There’s probably someone in your room 24/7. That’s a big adjustment. If you need to, turn the other way and pretend they aren’t there. Let out all of your raging emotions. Let your body process what just happened, with or without the help of someone else. Do whatever works best for you.
Think about your 5-year-old dream of life. The one where you wanted to be the president and live in the White House. The dream you had before things felt so hopeless. There’s nothing too big or elaborate. Figure out a way to make the closest thing to that dream as possible come true. Find what you want more than anything and do everything you can to make it happen. Focus on that goal and don’t let anything slow you down. It’ll help to give you some hope over these upcoming weeks and months.
When you go back home, find things to do to take care of yourself before anything else. For me, that was plugging in time with my friends. For you, maybe it’ll be a time to take a walk or get a massage. Make it work out so that you’re always looking forward to something. However often that might be for you, make it happen. If you can’t go back to school or work right away, it’s OK. You don’t have to worry about that right now. Let people take pressure off of you. Let people try to help. If you need something, ask.
You can get through this. I know because I did. You’re worth something in this world and I’m so glad you’re safe. Find someone you can call if you feel like that again. Because you’re an amazing person and you’re going to do great things. This is just a speed bump. It might slow you down a little, but don’t let it stop you. Find what makes you happy and go for it. You’ve got this.
I believe in you.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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