Returning to 'Normal' Life After an Unnoticed Suicide Attempt
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
Last month I attempted suicide. Unlike my previous attempt to end my life, this one didn’t result in me having to go to the emergency department or even having to seek any medical care at all.
My suicide attempt wasn’t noticed by anybody. I was the only person who knew about it, and I still am (until now) the only person who knows.
On the Sunday I attempted suicide; on the Monday I was very ill, but by the Tuesday everything was nearly back to “normal.”
On the Wednesday, I even attempted my evening shift at my part-time job. I broke down in front of my colleagues and had to leave after being there for just two hours. I told them I had a headache.
On the Thursday, I was emailing my university tutor to explain my coursework not being submitted and requesting a deadline extension. I even washed my hair for the first time in six days.
On the Friday the reality of what had happened over the last week hit me. I had feelings of anger and guilt.
I was angry at myself — angry for finding myself in such a bad place again. Angry for attempting suicide in the first place, and angry I didn’t die, for still being here.
I felt guilty. I felt guilty when I received a text from my grandmother that afternoon to ask me to help her with something on her computer, knowing I may not have been there to answer that text. I felt guilty for replying to her saying I had a migraine and wouldn’t be able to visit that day.
I stayed inside for the next few days. I paid the bills I didn’t think I’d have to pay. I washed the clothes I didn’t think I’d have to wash.
On the Wednesday I was back at work. I had a meeting with my managers about by absence. I lied to them; they know about my mental health, my depression and my anxiety, but they don’t know how bad it has been recently.
Here are some of the questions I got asked in my meeting:
“How could you avoid future absences like this?”
“Could you have done anything to prevent the absences?”
“Can you foresee you being absent again for the same reason in the future?”
“How many times do you think you’ll be absent in the next two months?”
The following few weeks were a blur to me. I was doing mundane tasks and with everything I did, all I could think about was how I may not have been here to do them. I felt guilty every time I smiled, or even manage to laugh. I felt like I shouldn’t be happy again after trying to end my life. I felt guilty every time I looked a family member or loved one in the eyes, knowing how much I may have hurt them.
Today I booked an appointment to see my doctor, to get back on track with my mental health. Today I ate healthily for the first time since the beginning of the new year, instead of waiting for the new week to come around.
Today I promised myself I will take one day at a time, and with each sunrise I will try again.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash image via Anatol Lem.