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When Mental Health Professionals Gave Up on Me, a Stranger Saved My Life

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Editor's Note

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

On the morning of July 2, 2018, I woke up feeling depressed. Just a few days prior, on June 27, I had attempted suicide. I was no stranger to suicide attempts, having survived over a dozen of them. I was home, when I should have been inpatient in the hospital. I was home because after attempting suicide so many times and having been hospitalized nearly twenty times, the hospital I was in decided there was nothing they could do for me and sent me home. This wasn’t a surprise for me, because when living with borderline personality disorder (BPD), many mental health professionals have refused to work with me. BPD is a highly stigmatized mental illness. It is also extremely painful to live with and has an alarmingly high suicide rate.

So on July 2, I woke up feeling depressed. I felt like the mental health system had given up on me and like I had nowhere and no one to turn to for help. Everyone says to reach out for help, but what happens when you reach out, and that help is denied? Being denied help is the reality for many people living with BPD and chronic suicidal ideation. I was tired this day, emotionally and physically tired. I felt as though I had no fight left in me, and there was no point in continuing to live anymore. My thoughts convinced me I was a burden, and that everyone would be better off without me. I believed the lies my thoughts were feeding to me, and I overdosed.

Following my overdose on the afternoon of July 2, I requested a Lyft to a local bridge where I live. This bridge is infamous for suicides. When I got to the bridge, I walked right past the blue sign with the suicide prevention lifeline number on it. “They can’t help me,” I thought. I walked along the bridge, and I climbed over the small railing and onto the ledge. I stood there crying as I prepared to jump. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I noticed a man on a bike. He quickly grabbed me from behind as I screamed, and we both fell backwards onto the bridge. He physically held me down until the paramedics arrived.

At the hospital, I was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) where I received dialysis for my overdose. After several days, I was discharged to home — because I was once again told there was not help available for me.

Now, over a year later, I am in recovery and have been for the past six months. I was granted a miracle on July 2, 2018, and it is a miracle I will never forget. I never thought recovery was possible for me. After all, dozens of mental health professionals and hospitals had given up on me — so how could I ever believe in myself?

Recovery is a journey that will last a lifetime. There will be relapses and plenty of setbacks, but nonetheless, recovery is worth it. It is possible to survive and to thrive.

Please check out this means restriction project to prevent suicide, founded by a mom who lost her son to suicide.

Photo courtesy of the author

Originally published: October 14, 2019
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