3 Things I Wish People Knew About Suicide Attempts
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
I thought I knew everything there was to know about suicide. I had attended the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I had read up on the topic. Spoken to other people that were survivors. I was confident I knew enough to help others, and hopefully, if I needed it, help myself.
But all of that went out the window when, in October of 2017, I came within one step of ending my own life. In the six months since that moment, I have spent a lot of time thinking about that moment, myself, how other people reacted and about my recovery.
Here are three things I wish people knew more about when it comes to suicide:
1. It isn’t about ending your life. It is about ending the pain.
Something I heard from a lot of people is I had so much to live for. I knew and understood that. But I also was dealing with an immense about of pain and had been for a while. At that moment, the pain, and the prospect of having to deal with more was just too much for me, and I decided it outweighed everything I had to live for.
2. A suicide attempt does not mean a person is weak.
A friend remarked to me that I should be careful about sharing my story because suicide is a sign of weakness. But in reality, the opposite is true. I am still here. I am still fighting. As much as I have wanted to, I have not given up. I did not make it here without being strong mentally.
3. We do not spend enough time talking about how to help people after their suicide attempt.
An article in The New York Times from October of 2016 perfectly sums this up:
A common yet highly inaccurate belief is that people who survive a suicide attempt are unlikely to try again. In fact, just the opposite is true. Within the first three months to a year following a suicide attempt, people are at highest risk of a second attempt — and this time perhaps [completing suicide].
Since my attempt, people have more or less backed off. Their assumption is that my attempt in October was just something I needed to “get out of my system.” Many of those people that promised to be there for me have been MIA.
But the opposite is true: these past six months have been the hardest of my life. I have come close on multiple occasions to attempting again. I have made plans. I have come close to acting. I have needed support but when I turn to people that I trust, they just do not have the time or they just get angry with me that they still have to deal with this.
If you know someone who has attempted suicide, keep in touch with them. On some of my worst days, a simple “Hey, how are you?” text is enough to walk back from the ledge.
My hope with this story is that it opens people’s eyes to suicide, even if it is just a little bit more.
And if you are struggling, know you are not alone. Every day for me is a battle to stay alive, to keep fighting. But it is a battle I will not lose.
Getty Images photo via Grandfailure