How World Suicide Prevention Day Makes Me Feel As a Suicide Attempt Survivor
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
For me, this is the most important piece to write every year, and I usually spend weeks thinking about what to speak about. World Suicide Prevention Day — September 10 — means the world to me. I tend to feel it as a birthday, and this year I’m amazed to see how my relationship with the day has changed since 2016 — when I first acknowledged it and started celebrating it.
In the beginning, on that first year, I’m sure I did it as a desperate attempt to hold on to my very own life. I was very fragile, and somehow, reading the stories of people — knowing they took a day in their lives to write about hope and recovery — made me feel a little bit better in a very blurry and uncertain reality. Four months later, in December, I was attempting suicide for the last time, which made me feel like all kinds of a hypocrite and a fraud.
That second year was hard. I think because of feeling death so near, I took the day as a nostalgic date in which I couldn’t stop feeling guilty and that I didn’t deserve my luck (because I do feel lucky to be alive).
2018 and 2019 were years in which I felt more and more proud of my story, where I was able to talk about suicide and its impact on my life without embarrassment and with my head held up high. It’s not easy and I think there are people for whom it’s harder, but I reassured on those years that we needed to talk about suicide because I felt it near, because I know how easy it is, because every possible scenario brings up a number of consequences for one and our loved ones, whether you survive or not.
Since last year, I started being grateful. Of course, nostalgia is still there while remembering the ones we lost, but the overall feeling is gratitude for being here, for my friends and family members being alive, for those whom I know battled a lot but are still here to tell their stories. And I talk about this because I truly believe that there are a lot of folks out there in a similar position to mine, who aren’t part of the specific target, who aren’t in danger now, who somehow moved on (even if there’s a part of us who cracked in that moment) and whose feelings revolve on September 10th.
We deserve, as we advocate for prevention, education and action, to celebrate our own journeys. We deserve to feel lucky to be alive, to talk about it without the shame and guilt, to feel victorious of defeating, at least that time, this horrible monster. It has been a particularly rough year, with overwhelming anxiety, death surrounding us, job-loss, uncertainty and a lack of hope. And here we are, on another September 10th. We made it.
I don’t know what I’ll be writing in a year from now. I don’t know that the next 12 months will bring. I always say that you can’t truly be on the other side of suicide attempts; I believe relapses happen in a minute and we are the lucky ones enjoying the good times for as long or as short as they last. But this year, I’m happy, I’m grateful, I’m peaceful and I know I’m in a good place of my journey. I choose to honor that, to celebrate it because only God knows how hard it has been. And I choose to keep talking about it, for as long as I live, because I’m hopeful about how others can reach a good place too. If you are a survivor, give yourself the chance of giving thanks, of loving life a little bit more and of feeling proud of yourself this World Suicide Prevention Day (and every day).
As always, in memoriam of those who we lost too soon and with a big hug to their loved ones.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash