3 Things I Wish People Knew About Suicide Attempts

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 741741.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about suicide. I had attended the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I had read up on the topic. Spoken to other people that were survivors. I was confident I knew enough to help others, and hopefully, if I needed it, help myself.

But all of that went out the window when, in October of 2017, I came within one step of ending my own life. In the six months since that moment, I have spent a lot of time thinking about that moment, myself, how other people reacted and about my recovery.

Here are three things I wish people knew more about when it comes to suicide:

1. It isn’t about ending your life. It is about ending the pain.

Something I heard from a lot of people is I had so much to live for. I knew and understood that. But I also was dealing with an immense about of pain and had been for a while. At that moment, the pain, and the prospect of having to deal with more was just too much for me, and I decided it outweighed everything I had to live for.

2. A suicide attempt does not mean a person is weak.

A friend remarked to me that I should be careful about sharing my story because suicide is a sign of weakness. But in reality, the opposite is true. I am still here. I am still fighting. As much as I have wanted to, I have not given up. I did not make it here without being strong mentally.

3. We do not spend enough time talking about how to help people after their suicide attempt.

An article in The New York Times from October of 2016 perfectly sums this up:

A common yet highly inaccurate belief is that people who survive a suicide attempt are unlikely to try again. In fact, just the opposite is true. Within the first three months to a year following a suicide attempt, people are at highest risk of a second attempt — and this time perhaps [completing suicide].

Since my attempt, people have more or less backed off. Their assumption is that my attempt in October was just something I needed to “get out of my system.” Many of those people that promised to be there for me have been MIA.

But the opposite is true: these past six months have been the hardest of my life. I have come close on multiple occasions to attempting again. I have made plans. I have come close to acting. I have needed support but when I turn to people that I trust, they just do not have the time or they just get angry with me that they still have to deal with this.

If you know someone who has attempted suicide, keep in touch with them. On some of my worst days, a simple “Hey, how are you?” text is enough to walk back from the ledge.

My hope with this story is that it opens people’s eyes to suicide, even if it is just a little bit more.

And if you are struggling, know you are not alone. Every day for me is a battle to stay alive, to keep fighting. But it is a battle I will not lose.

Getty Images photo via Grandfailure

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Suicide

What to Remember If You've Been Impacted by Celebrity Suicides This Month

I woke up this morning to the news that Anthony Bourdain had killed himself. This following the news of Kate Spade’s suicide on Tuesday. I’m shook and also concerned about how you all are feeling out there. I knew of both of them, of course. Who among us doesn’t know their names? I didn’t own [...]
anthony bourdain

What We Miss When We Focus on the Wealth and Success of Celebrities Who Die by Suicide

Too many headlines with the word “suicide” in them this week. Of course even one is one too many. As a stranger looking from the outside, it’s easy to be caught completely off guard when you read about these famous, wealthy people feeling they had no other option but to end it all. A lot [...]
anthony bourdain

What It Was Like to Hear About the Recent Celebrity Suicides as a Suicide Attempt Survivor

Another morning has come, and I am awakened like clockwork by my anxiety. Just another side effect of my depressive episode. I have nowhere to go, and nowhere to be, but my depressed, internal alarm clock has me on Facebook at 6:30 a.m. just for fun. I immediately notice my newsfeed has been overwhelmed by [...]
Anthony Bourdain

Chef Anthony Bourdain Dies by Suicide at 61

Anthony Bourdain, chef and TV personality, died by suicide, CNN confirmed Friday morning. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a statement. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him [...]