What I Wish People Knew About My Life After a Suicide Attempt
On the weekend of April 8, I overdosed three times in three days; two of the overdoses were only 12 or so hours apart. I think after all these years I had hoped this would finally be it — I would either not wake up at all, or it would help me realize how badly I actually wanted to live.
Well, neither of those happened, and that probably is the most heartbreaking thing I could ever tell anyone close to me. I live with the guilt that I am not thankful my life was saved when so many others wish for a second chance. I live with a frustration that I want so badly to think, feel and function normally, but I can’t do that yet.
So here’s what I wish people knew about my life after a suicide attempt:
1. Going back to everyday life is overwhelming.
Going back to everyday life is not easy and it’s extremely overwhelming because I was not planning for what is to come. I was not planning to exist, and yet here I am, going back to work and everyday life as if none of it ever happened. It throws me through a state of confusion and anxiety nearly every day.
2. I do care about you.
My attempts weren’t selfish in my mind. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I just wanted the hurt to stop, and by doing that I thought I was protecting you. I thought me “fixing” this problem (for lack of a better word), was going to save everyone from watching me go through these downward spirals year after year.
3. I do hope for recovery, but it won’t be quick or easy.
I think most people look at happiness as such a basic everyday emotion to experience, but for me I have yet to experience it. So, I am trying to relearn how to live my life (as odd as that may seem,) in a way that won’t destroy me. I won’t wake up tomorrow with a huge desire to live, but I am going to have small spurts of feeling OK someday, and I hope you can celebrate those small victories with me.
4. Although I am trying to heal, I am not fragile.
I can carry on with my life just as I have before, and function as normally as possible. Life doesn’t stop, even after my attempts. If anything, life is starting over now, whether I like it or not. I am going to be OK. I have survived a lot which has made me far from fragile.
5. Recovery looks different for everyone.
I am dealing with an internal frustration every day that I still have not found my will to live, and I’m trying so hard to not feel guilty about that. I think when we watch movies about these sort of things, it goes something like this: someone attempts suicide, then goes to treatment, they get put on medication, they go to therapy and life goes uphill from there. Medication has never worked for me. I have been inpatient three times and seen countless therapists, but I am trying to accept that that’s OK because this is my recovery and nobody else’s. I want those who are close to me to know: it is not an easy fix, but I am doing my best.
6. To those I love, it’s not your responsibility to fix me.
Please don’t use all of your energy trying to fix things, because you deserve to be happy, and I want you to be happy (even while I am trying to figure out how to be happy myself.) I know you care and I know you are doing your best, but this is my fight and all I ask is for your support on not only my worse days, but my good ones as well. I don’t want you to ever miss out on life just because this illness has taken that away from me.