The Little Voice That Stopped Me From Dying by Suicide After Years of Bullying
If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.
I learned to hate myself pretty fast.
I probably learned that before I even learned algebra. I learned what was “right” and what was “wrong” with my body. I learned the difference between a pretty girl and a fat girl. I learned I should shut up because I was being too loud. I learned to stop being so obnoxious and not to laugh so much. And, I learned how to hate myself.
I don’t think anybody really understands what you say matters. I read somewhere once apparently that’s something only “losers” say. I was a loser, but being a loser made me stronger. Being a loser made me resilient. Being a loser gave me understanding and sympathy hateful minds can’t even comprehend. Being a loser made … me.
When you’re being picked on, it’s easy for everyone around you just to say, “I don’t know why you let it bother you, who cares?” That’s easy to say when you’re older and wiser and untouchable. I was in elementary school when it started. At that age, everything you go through shapes you. Everything they said had an effect on who I became. Even today.
I remember the first time I thought the world would be better off without me, and I remember how I lost myself a little bit more each day after that. I went from being a kid with good grades who loved school, to draining every ounce of my energy just to get up in the morning to try to survive the day. I remember wondering how nobody noticed what was going on or how I was feeling. I remember thinking I didn’t matter and I wasn’t important, because the people who said they loved me didn’t see how much I had changed.
Yes, they saw the grades getting bad and the lack of motivation, but they didn’t see the real change. They didn’t see how much I hated myself, or how sad I was because of just existing, or how exhausting it was just to breathe.
So, I thought I didn’t matter — that they didn’t care enough to notice. Until losing my uncle to suicide gave me perspective on what it’s like to love somebody so much and not see how much they’re changing. You see, the changes are subtle and they happen over time. You don’t see these changes because you aren’t paying attention, because you have this mindset everybody who smiles must be happy. You don’t see the worst parts of what they go through, because they hide it from you.
You learn to become very good at hiding your demons.
I’ve always struggled with my mental health and I’ve never really known how to cope. There were always periods of my life that became too dark, but the light always resurfaced … until it didn’t.
So, here I was calling off of work one to two times every week because I couldn’t get out of bed. Forcing myself to take a shower maybe once a week, if that. I would spend every second I wasn’t working lying in bed doing absolutely nothing but passing time, while I lay there completely shut off from the world, my room getting dirtier and things piling up. My clothes climbing up the wall because I hadn’t washed them in weeks. I was overeating trying to fill a void that only got deeper the more I hated myself. I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t call any hotline, I didn’t force myself to move and I didn’t get help.
And one night, the world closed in too much. I was suffocating. I was lost and I was alone. And, I was very angry. At the world for treating me the way it did, and at myself for letting it. I hurt myself that night. I took every ounce of pain and anger and sadness and hurt myself, trying to die by suicide. Not only was I trying to ease the pain, but begging myself for once just to be strong enough to do something right, to end it all.
I ended up lying in a bath, the faucet drowning out the noise in my head, watching the drain and just bawling my eyes out. Every part of me was tired of living, tired of hating myself, tired of feeling like I didn’t mean anything to anybody, tired of being alone and tired of being invisible. Every part of me had given up, but there was a little voice in the back of my mind saying, “But, what if it does get better? What if you are important? What if you have a happy future ahead of you?”
That little voice saved me.
I eventually pulled myself together, got out of the bath and spent the rest of the evening with my mom who had no knowledge of anything that happened, no knowledge she almost lost a child that night.
After she went to bed, I grabbed my memory box from the top of my closet and I sat down. I played calming music and I looked through years of my life, some good memories, some painful. I saw my best friend’s graduation photo, countless drawings and notes from my little sister all filled with “I love you’s,” postcards from my uncle he would send me until he died, a note my mom wrote me on my 21st birthday telling me to go take this world by storm.
It was in that moment I realized, it’s not about being unloved — because, clearly I’m loved — it’s about letting all of the bad moments, all of your insecurities, all of the bad people and your own brain of all things, convince you that you aren’t loved.
So, I sat there with my music and my box full of love, and I let it hurt. Everything that was hurting me, everything I was afraid of, everything I regretted — I sat there and I felt it. Because in life, you have to let things hurt before you can let them heal. After that, I got up and I reached out to a friend of mine about some of the things I was feeling. I didn’t decide to start going to therapy, and I didn’t call my doctor, but I took one small step toward healing … toward getting the help I needed. Sometimes all you can do is just get through the night, and that’s OK. That’s the first step.
I read somewhere once, even small steps move you forward, and eventually one day you’ll look back and realize you’ve climbed a mountain.
Talking and reaching out to others doesn’t stop the pain or make it hurt any less, but it takes weight off of your shoulders when you don’t have to do it alone. In this life, you have to have an outlet, whether it’s a person or something else, because you can’t get through these things alone.
I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story.
But, there’s the story.
Today, I’m a huge mental health advocate. I’m a volunteer crisis counselor and I’ve created and run my own blog in hopes to use my voice and my experience, my understanding and my compassion, to advocate for mental health awareness and use my story to help others.
I am loved, and it’s time to go live like I am loved.
Now, go live like you are loved.
You can follow my journey on The Basket Case Project.
Unsplash image by Rushina Morrison