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Contemplating Suicide in a Target Parking Lot

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

I remember it like it was yesterday, but I couldn’t tell you the specific day or time. It was 2014. I know it was in the evening, and I’m pretty sure it was November. October had been a particularly difficult month for me emotionally. This wasn’t because of any particularly tragic event, but because my depression and anxiety far outweighed my ability to think logically and rationally.

I was in a dark place. No matter what I did, what I told myself, what I read, who I surrounded myself with, what I ate or how much I slept or exercised, I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I fell deeper, deeper and deeper.

This night I remember so vividly. I got in my car and drove and drove and drove in the dark. I wondered what it would be like if I pulled over somewhere in a ditch and just slept and slept. When would someone find me? Would I even want to be found? I wondered what it would be like to live somewhere with snow and ice. I found comfort in the thought that if I fell asleep in my car in the snow there was a chance I might not wake up. I didn’t want to live, and so I came up with a plan.

Before that night, I don’t think I had ever truly contemplated ending my own life. I don’t think I had really meant it if the thought crossed my mind. Yet that night, I meant it. I strongly considered it. I decided I could no longer face the mounting depression, constant heaviness, apathy, anxiety, persistent fear and dread that permeated my life. So I made a plan.

Every time I’ve read an article regarding a suicide or spoken to someone about a suicide attempt, I’ve encountered the same recurring word: Selfish.

“What a selfish decision.”

“What a selfish thing to do.”

“I can’t believe someone could be so selfish.”

“He took the easy way out.”

“She gave up.

Let me tell you from experience: My suicidal thoughts were far from selfish. I cried thinking of my 3-year-old son and hoped he wouldn’t even know what he lost. I cried thinking of my husband and the responsibilities I would leave him with after we devoted so much of our lives to each other. I cried imagining my parents feeling at fault. How could I do that to them after everything they did for me my entire life?

I cried wondering if I had spent enough time with my brother and mulled over the milestones in his life I would most likely miss. I cried picturing my students, knowing this decision would send them a heartbreaking message and cause them to feel abandoned. Some of them, yet again.

My mind raced with lists of names of people I should leave a note for. Anyone I loved or remotely cared for, anyone who commented on my pictures on Facebook or worked with me in any capacity deserved some correspondence, some clarity, so they wouldn’t have to feel guilty, responsible or like they could’ve done something to prevent this, I thought to myself. I don’t want them to hurt. I don’t want them to think they are to blame.

That’s what I was thinking while simultaneously thinking I could not possibly survive another day. Empty. Alone. Hopeless. Black. Sad. Guilty. I stopped driving. I closed my tear-filled eyes in a Target parking lot and envisioned my plan.

I had purposely placed my phone on silent. I had vowed not to answer anyone, not read my husband’s text messages asking where I was or what I was doing. It was better this way, I told myself.

Yet, I did it. Sitting in that Target parking lot, I thought of my husband and my innocent son sitting at home. I read a text and I answered it. I text my husband. I think that’s the only reason why I didn’t follow through with my plan that night. That and the fact that I hadn’t written all the letters I knew I wanted to write. I was desperate. I was ready to leave this earth, but I hadn’t written the letters.

I text him. After I text him and after sitting some more in the dark parking lot with my head on the steering wheel, I decided it couldn’t be tonight. It wouldn’t be tonight. I wanted to kiss my son. I had things left to do and say. I turned around, and I drove home.

My hopelessness didn’t leave me. My madness, sadness and desperation didn’t get better right away. It took more than a month, on New Year’s Eve actually (as I remember that conversation across a dinner table at a crowded restaurant so clearly), for me to tell my husband what I actually had felt and planned that night. Even then, I had a hard time getting the words out because it’s embarrassing. It feels disgusting. It feels shameful. It feels scary. It took eight more months before I saw a doctor, asked for help and finally decided to take the medication he prescribed me.

I wanted to end my life. Truly wanted to. I wanted to end my life, but I didn’t. I didn’t.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to741-741.

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Image via contributor.

Originally published: November 17, 2016
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