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. 

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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