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Wanting an Escape From the Pain Doesn't Mean I'm Suicidal

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering as it mentions suicide attempt means. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat on my kitchen floor crying uncontrollably with a handful of prescription anti-anxiety pills in my left hand. With my right hand I chose one pill to swallow, then another, and another, and another. So why am I still here?

Because my 18-year-old son came in and stopped me, and seeing him caused me to snap back into reality where I realized I was doing something incredibly reckless. I flushed the pills that were left, threw up the pills I’d taken and laid on the bathroom floor crying and helpless before moving to bed, where I stayed for the remainder of the day.

Fast forward a couple of days, to an appointment with my mental health professional. As the nurse is doing the intake interview, she asks if I am suicidal. My response? “No. I know I don’t want to die. I just want to get away from the pain. I just don’t want to do this anymore.”

It’s so hard to explain this concept to friends and family members, because it seems obvious to them that I did attempt to take my life. But I can tell you that as I sat in that kitchen floor shaking, crying, fighting for every breath, I knew I did not want to die — I just wanted the pain to stop.

The pain caused by fibromyalgia keeps me awake at night and barely able to perform basic functions during the day. The pain from rheumatoid arthritis makes hobbies I once loved painful to perform. The pain inside my head tells me I should just give up and give in to my overwhelming feelings of doubt, dread and fear. The toll of living with such pain day after day just got to be too much and I disconnected from reality.

In those moments when I was on my kitchen floor, I wasn’t a wife, mother, daughter or friend — I was a person in agony that just wanted to escape to a place where the pain wasn’t lurking around every corner, waiting for me to walk by and provide a host for its unrelenting, tortuous grief. I just wanted to get away. I wanted to escape. I wanted the pain to stop, but I did not want to die.

My pain was so great that my mind left my body and for those brief moments, my mind and body we’re not connected. My feelings took over my physical body and convinced me I was doing what had to be done. That there was no other escape. No more time to cry out for help.

In the days following this dark day, I have re-entered intensive group therapy three days weekly. I’m making my way through a workbook that’s designed to improve coping skills. I’m spending quality time with my family and also making time to care for myself. I’m praying and meditating, reading my Bible and being grateful for all of the reasons I have to live.

And I’m hoping not to find myself on that kitchen floor again.

Unsplash photo via Cristian Newman

Originally published: November 8, 2018
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