The Most Meaningful Question I Can Answer After My Suicide Attempt
With World Suicide Prevention Day coming up next week, I get the opportunity to talk about something most people don’t know about me: I am a survivor.
I get to talk about one of my favorite nonprofits (To Write Love On Her Arms), and I get to talk about hope. I use my story to get people talking about how much we can do for the people who are still stuck in that place. According to the TWLOHA website, suicide is at an all time high, and I believe that’s something that can absolutely be changed.
It’s been 10 years since I sat on my bed, wondering how scary death would be. I still think about it sometimes — about the way I felt so hopeless and depressed, about how I just wanted to be happy and not depressed each and every day. All these years later, I can empathize with wanting my sadness to end. When I was living in the immediate aftermath of my suicide attempt, I got a lot of judgment but an even larger amount of questions. Of those is one that I still reflect on today.
What made you decide to live?
At first I felt like I had to give these ultra meaningful responses. I tried to come up with something spectacular that might actually convince people I’d had an experience so profound I would never venture down that dark road again. And thinking back on it now, I know I was just afraid of more judgment, but that there was more than one reason and none of them particularly special. I was in a couple extracurricular activities, I had pets that depended on me for affection. I found a beautiful song that spoke right to my soul, and I wanted to buy it when it was released.
It doesn’t matter how magnificent or grand you feel like your reason to live is. Maybe the only thing keeping you from going over the edge is the fact that no one else will do dishes. Maybe you want to find out who wins the game on Saturday. Maybe you just want to make it to the next episode of your favorite television show.
The secret to making the decision is that there is no secret. There is no such thing as a bad reason to live, because you’re living. You’re fighting. If you find one single way in which you matter, that’s enough. Your reason to keep living is entirely valid — just like you are.
It no longer comes up often, and most of the people I interact with on a daily basis do not even know about my attempt, but on occasion I get asked that very same question: What changed your mind?
Instead of looking for the end-of-life revelations, the life-flashing-before-my-eyes moments, I no longer hide away from the truth. I tell them exactly what happened and why I decided to keep fighting.
I kept on living because I’m worth something.
It’s been, as I said, a decade since I almost was no more. That’s long enough to think about the way I wanted my life to be, and I am using the next 10 years to add meaning to my choices. I can’t remain silent when there are so many people who are sitting where I did (metaphorically) and don’t know that they don’t have to find the meaning of life. They just have to give life meaning. So this September 10, I’m not going to be silent. I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world. And that makes all the difference.
Image via Thinkstock.