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Learning To Live Again After I Survived My Suicide Attempt

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. If you need support right now, you can call, text, or chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, or text HOME to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line if you are in the U.S. A list of crisis centers around the world can be found here.

After my suicide attempt, life wasn’t “normal” for a long time. As I laid in my hospital bed, I thought: “Why didn’t it just work?”

For most of my life, my suicidal thoughts have been chronic, meaning they were there all the time. Yet, I would push them aside and just try to forget that they were there. One of the reasons I hadn’t attempted up until that point was because I was so scared I wouldn’t die. The thought of surviving and having to face my loved ones was just too much to bear. 

When I woke up and realized I was still alive, I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t planned to be alive, so what was I supposed to do now? I got the pitied looks of the nurses and doctors that refused to let me go anywhere on my own. The “why did you do it?” from the hospital’s psych team that kept visiting me every few hours. The worst bit of it all was the disappointment that was written all over my family’s and friends’ faces. They tried to hide it, but it was there. And I couldn’t help but wish it had worked. I felt like a failure.

A few days later, I was shipped off to a local psychiatric hospital. At this point, I didn’t know what was worse — knowing my friends and family were disappointed or living with the fact that I was now in a psychiatric hospital.

Life after my suicide attempt wasn’t “normal” for a long time. No one had any trust in me. I wasn’t allowed out of the psychiatric ward on my own because everyone was scared I would run off. I had nurses coming to check on me every hour, just to ensure I was still alive. Then, when I was finally discharged, my family and friends couldn’t trust me. I wasn’t trusted to be in the house alone or go anywhere by myself. 

Not only that, but I hadn’t planned to live past that day. I had no plans for the future — I had quit school, I had pushed most of my friends away and I had declined all my university interviews. I had made a promise to myself that my suicide attempt would work, and I had let myself down. 

It took months of hard work to gain the trust from my friends, family and mental health team. It was a while before my family had to stop hiding medication from me, and following me down aisles in supermarkets in case I bought anything to hurt myself with. It took determination and grit to show my team that I was not defined by my suicide attempt, and that I could learn to live after it, and that I no longer needed three appointments a week just to stay safe. 

I had to learn to live all over again. Everything that I had worked for had been ruined, so I had to plan my future and build relationships from the very start. I had to learn skills in order to keep myself safe. 

When I woke up from my suicide attempt, I didn’t think I could learn how to live again. Life seemed pointless. 

But it is absolutely possible to live again, even if at the time you don’t think so. I thought surviving my attempt was a curse, but it was a blessing in disguise. I’m lucky to be alive.

Even if you need to simply exist for a while, that’s OK. Just don’t give up.

Photo by Christopher Ott on Unsplash

Originally published: September 4, 2020
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