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The Help I Would Have Missed If the Darkness Took Over Me

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It’s been over nine years since I added a scar to my arm in a suicide attempt. I regret the decision, but I wouldn’t change it. It gave me a sense of purpose.

I was a happy child — always laughing, curious about the world and compassionate. My mother always gets a gleam in the eye when talking about this toddler version of myself.

I don’t remember much, except that I went to my mother and father after seeing a “Save the Children” commercial — all of 6 years old — and told them we needed to adopt a child. I remember my first career choices were Superman, a firefighter and a priest. So, all of that is to say, as I regretted decisions in my life to the point I felt suicidal, something strange happened. I saw the help — the doctors and nurses, the social worker who watched over me, the ambulance personnel — that all helped me. And every year, I count up the experiences I would have missed if I had died.

Tonight, for some reason, I awoke in peace. More than usual. There is this song I am currently obsessed with — Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” — because it is so well-written. I lit a Yankee Candle called “Summer Storm,” opened the window for some fresh, autumn air and started writing. See, for awhile, I wanted to do that, too, as a career. And I have found that writing in the midst of my worst days, helped me clarify my thoughts, set goals and give me a sense of purpose.

It’s just one more simple pleasure I find I would have missed if I let the darkness take over me. I am grateful for the help, the purpose I gained in trying to become a peer-support specialist and the simple pleasures or inspirations I would’ve missed in the last nine years.

Next year, for the anniversary, I am thinking of adding another mark to my body — a tattoo. Semicolon for being a survivor. Maybe a ladybug for borderline personality awareness. It will be painful to take a needle to my skin, but I want to mark the day, as I have come to see it — as my re-birth. I would never suggest hurting yourself, but if you do, you can move beyond it to find happiness and purpose. You can make lemonade out of lemons. If you feel suicidal, seek help now. But, if you have tried and (hopefully) are still with us, you can move past it.

Keep on working towards your true self. And I hope you find inspiration, starting here.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 3, 2017
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