This post is going to get very real, very fast. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. I have considered killing myself. More times than I can count. If I had ever had a gun at my disposal, I am quite certain I would not be here writing this. (That’s one big reason why I am a proponent of gun sense laws.)
I’ve Googled how much of a certain medication I would need to take to overdose and die. I’ve envisioned driving my car into a wall. I’ve thought about taking a razor blade to my veins in the bathtub. (How very Hollywood of me.) I’ve thought about suicide within the last month even.
Few people know this dark side of me, and I feel immense shame writing about it now. But why should I feel this shame? What about our society makes me feel this way?
I’m ashamed because I appear to have a really good life: a house, a good job, a nice husband, two kids, a dog—but I still want to end it all. When I feel suicidal, I am blinded by my mental illness—my clinical depression—to think that the world would be better off without me. That I am fucking up my husband, my kids and the world with my mere existence. I feel overwhelming guilt for my shortcomings: my moments of bad parenting, my oversensitivity to other peoples’ comments and actions, my human failings. And I just don’t want to be here anymore.
It’s exhausting. It’s terrifying. And I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore. I had a terrible spring this year. Months of exhaustion and pain and these suicidal thoughts. I got help, which was no small feat. It was a struggle to find a doctor who could prescribe new depression medications. I had to wait weeks. I told doctor’s offices all over town that I was teetering on the edge of ending it all (almost wrote “killing myself” there but felt shame, dammit), and the only thing they could tell me was, “Go to the local emergency room.”
I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to up-end my kids’ lives by being admitted to the psych ward. Again, that’s the shame I was talking about. So I toughed it out, and survived. And I mean survived in the truest sense. I think that was the closest I’ve ever come to taking my life.
I’m writing this to help end the stigma and the shame surrounding suicide. Please know that all kinds of people struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. They are not bad people who lack coping skills. You can’t just snap out of it. Zoloft saved my life, and I’ll be on that med for the rest of my life.
“One conversation can change a life.” That’s the tagline for the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. I think of this post as a conversation, and I hope that if you’re reading this, you’ll gain a new understanding of suicide. Or, if you’ve ever been in that abyss, you’ll know that I understand you. And I don’t judge you. I just want to be there for you. Let’s end the shame.