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24 Secrets of People Whose Suicide Attempt Went Unnoticed

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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.

Surviving a suicide attempt can be traumatic. Whether you’re hospitalized, need emergency medical intervention or find yourself calling for help, despite the fact that you’re still living, it’s not an easy thing to live though. Although ideally, people who live after a suicide attempt are eventually happy they did, there’s still a lot to face in the aftermath.

So what happens to the people whose suicide attempt goes unnoticed? What about the people who wake up the next morning and go to work or school like it never happened? It can be easy to believe if your suicide attempt wasn’t this “big” event — complete with an ambulance ride and an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization — it somehow doesn’t “count,” or is less important or traumatic.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. As Mighty contributor Spencer Nolan wrote in his piece, “The Suicide Attempts That Go Unnoticed:”

I didn’t need to go to the hospital. I didn’t need to have my stomach pumped. I wasn’t put in a ‘mental institution.’ None of this means it didn’t happen… This doesn’t mean it wasn’t emotionally scarring or those attempts will not stay with me for the rest of my life, hiding behind my eyelids just waiting for that vulnerable moment when they can pop back up again.

We wanted to give a voice to more people whose suicide attempts went unnoticed, so we asked people in our mental health community who’ve had this experience to share one thing they wish others understood.

Here’s what they shared with us:

  1. “When nobody notices it makes it easier to believe (or convince yourself) that nobody else cares. It fuels the fire for future attempts.” — Nicole H.
  2.  “I want others to understand the attempt still haunts me. In my case, I never allowed myself to acknowledge what I tried to do. People need to realize it’s a trauma just like anything else that can happen and without proper treatment, you won’t fully heal past it.” — Haley F.
  3.  “When I tried telling them and they ignored me it just made me want to try harder in my future attempts.” — Annie H.
  4. “I tried, woke up and tried again without my roommate noticing. After the second failed attempt, I realized I could keep trying, or reevaluate want I really wanted in and from my life, because what I was doing wasn’t working. I started making positive changes for the better that day.” — Tara H.
  5. “Fighting it all alone was harder than anything I could’ve done. The fact that I did survive — silently at that, helps me see tremendous strength within myself. The attempts I made made me feel like keeping quiet would keep others away from pain.” — Lyssa A.
  6. “Mental health has no face, race, age, gender or any type of key way to know it’s there and not working properly. From young children to grown adults, the signs are there, but so easily tiptoed over for reasons to each situation. Your daughter isn’t an ’emotional teen,’ she needs you to be there. Your son isn’t just a ‘troublemaker,’ he can’t sleep at night because his brain won’t stop. Don’t turn away because it’s easier to say, ‘It’ll be better tomorrow,’ because tomorrow doesn’t always come for all of us, especially when we feel we have no one today.” — Milynn M.
  7. “It doesn’t invalidate anything if others haven’t noticed. It doesn’t mean you don’t need help.” — Anwesh P.
  8. “You don’t want to die, you just want the pain to stop. Family not understanding makes it worse. No support and constant abuse makes it worse. Being called a ‘freak’ or a ‘weirdo’ because you try to communicate what you’re going through and then them not understanding makes it worse. There needs to be more awareness for not just people going through a difficult time, but for those around them.” — Charlotte S.
  9.  “I want others to understand I isolated myself to make it easier on them. I wasn’t aiming to be a bad friend, a bad lover or a bad daughter. I was suffering in silence.” — Alma S.
  10. “People care. Even if it may not seem like it, even if everything in the world feels like garbage, they care. Just because no one noticed doesn’t mean they don’t care. Go get the help you need because it is so worth it to be happy. Talk to someone, someone who understands your pain and your feelings because they are so valid.” — Katelynn S.
  11. “It’s not for attention, it’s in desperation for death. Most times you find yourself wishing someone had known and tried to help or reached out to you, even though you know you would have just pushed them away regardless, but it’s the fact that even in your anguish and suffering to end your life, no one was there for you. It’s quite devastating. When someone tries to reach out to you when you’re feeling this low, grab on to them. They love you and want to help.” — Jey S.
  12. “It wasn’t because of anything that anyone else said or did. It was the only way I saw to escape the dark thoughts that invaded my mind on a daily basis. Just because I appeared to have it all together and not have any problems doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It’s been a struggle since my attempt, but I have learned better and healthier coping skills. It’s been almost 14 years since then and I am not the same person I was at that point in my life.” — Jessica E.
  13. “I wasn’t trying to be selfish, I wasn’t trying to hurt my family… at that moment I was scared — I didn’t want to die, I only wanted the pain and hopelessness to stop. I truly believed everyone would be better off without me.” — Tessa S.
  14. “It wasn’t for attention. It was a silent cry for help.” — Emily S
  15. “I needed help and after asking for help multiple times from my doctor, she just said my body needed to adjust to the meds. I needed to be committed but didn’t know how to do it myself. I was in pain and didn’t know what other option I had. People need to be aware of the warning signs and get their loved ones help no matter what. Made the suicide attempt, immediately regretted it and went to work the next day.” — Artesia R.
  16. “It still haunts me at times. When I woke up the next morning in my bed, the sense of failure was magnified. I didn’t plan on anything beyond that point, so to wake up and have to pick myself back up with absolutely no sense of direction is something that just can’t be described.” — Alyssa K.
  17. “No one knows about my suicide attempt. So no one takes me me seriously when I ‘joke’ around about it. No one knows I really am struggling with this mental illness and this is why I took a year off of university. I wish people understood why people want to die and please take mental illness seriously.” — Lauren P.
  18. “Even if you didn’t see it, it is real. Very real.” — Nikki L.
  19. “You don’t do it for attention. You sometimes wish someone would notice and step forward to show they care, but you don’t do the act to try to gain that attention. When someone comes for your help don’t brush it off, please, just help them.” —  Julia Yo.
  20. “It still kills me knowing my mother and significant other still worry, every time I’m silent they get super worried. I regret giving them that paranoia.” — Celaena R.
  21. “It would have meant a lot to me if I was able to open up to anyone after that. But I couldn’t, because I was too afraid they would initiate measures that would finally destroy me — not my life, maybe, but certainly my soul. So I didn’t. And I felt even more alone than before the attempt(s).” — Katharina L.
  22. “When I woke up the next morning, I felt like garbage. I didn’t want to do anything, be anything. I just wanted to sit there and pretend I didn’t exist anymore. I didn’t want to eat or breathe. I just felt like complete garbage. I hated myself even more than before. That’s when I sought out help. Eight attempts in total… but then I gave in. I sought out help and got it.. Now I’m here. Two years later, I’m here and I couldn’t be happier.” — Rachel P.
  23. “Just because someone didn’t notice doesn’t make it any less real.” — Lauren H.
  24. “If you haven’t, talk to someone about it. Hardest thing to do is talk about how you lost all faith in yourself, but it’s also one of the most relieving.” — Austin M.

Getty image via kaipong

Originally published: April 6, 2018
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