The anatomy of an attempt: “I like unicorns and you like lollipops”

This is just one perspective, my own story, of what my own suicide attempt(s) looked like. There are tons of variations and many resources for people who are suicidal and people who want to help those who are feeling suicidal. I have since chosen to try my damnedest to live. I have something for me now that will last, ideally, for months if not years.

That said, as I journeyed down the dark road to actually attempting to take my own life I hope someone who might be considering it will see this and know *I feel you* and to the people who might read this and know someone they want to help, *you can do it*. Don’t ever give up on yourself or the people you love. No matter how difficult things seem, there is something for all of us in life even when we are at our lowest and we have no idea what our “purpose” is or why we are going through the pain we feel. There is an answer. It’s life. Please, choose it.

For me, I felt a certain unraveling as my divorce played out. I had lost one of my best friends and listened to people tell me all kinds of variations about how blind I must have been or how I shouldn’t feel bad that I tried to love such a “broken” or “fractured” person or how they/we made each other worse.

As the days and weeks stretched on, I tried to interact with them about our divorce from several angles; some practical, most emotional. They would shut me down and disengage. To have someone who understands, acutely, the pain of mental illness to now turn their aim on me as I was struggling with understanding how we had reached this point… well, I learned long ago that you should never.ever. ask or expect the person who is in the process of breaking your heart to also be your support through it but I, very naively and stupidly, thought “if I can just get them to see…” But, I know better. It drove them further and further away, and what’s worse, I knew that’s what was happening. The thing is, you can’t take back or undo the things we do. They couldn’t take back the things they had said or done that had hurt me and I couldn’t do the same.

So, after way too many empty days and nights, I attempted to kill myself. Then, I did it again. And again. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so intimidating. I had been trying to kill myself with pills and alcohol. My days were largely filled with drinking until I was basically incoherent until it was “medication time”. Then I would take my prescribed anti-depressant, my anti-anxiety medication, and, what became an increasingly large amount of, sleeping pills.

By the time of my last attempt I remember being very clear, as I counted out the pills, 10, 15, 20, more, that I knew what I was doing. I recall, after having taken more than 20 sleeping pills in one night that I didn’t text or call anyone and I sat in the living room of the place I had been staying, simply waiting for the pills to kick in. As the numbness set in I had the thought that this might be it. I had been having a number of stomach, abdominal, and chest pains for weeks at this point. I had compounded it by smoking way too many cigarettes and not looking after myself in general.

As the thought settled in that this could be my last night on Earth, I was struck by how calm I was about it. I thought about all I had done in my life and that I was proud of those accomplishments as well as the life, overall, that I had lived. I felt like I had lived with integrity, honesty, and care to all who passed within my orbit. I thought about everyone who loves me and some who used to and it hit me. I was at peace. I was ready to go. I felt I had simply given everything that I had left to give.

In my years of activism and artistry, I had always been dedicated to the idea of “pack in, pack out” and “leave a place better when you leave than it was when you arrived”. It wasn’t even a conscious decision. I had loved my partner because I really did believe that I made their life better. First as their friend, and later as their lover. Their rejection of that hit me harder than anything. I still don’t know how or what to do with that. It makes me feel like a fake or a phony. Yet, I still love them with my whole heart, imperfect as it might be.

But it was the moment of peace that settled over me that I’ll always remember. When I lived through the night and woke the next day I didn’t feel shame or anything close to it. I simply thought “ok, I guess it wasn’t my turn to die.” I called the Lifeline because I wanted to do my due diligence, not because I wanted to live, necessarily. Hospitalization has been recommended to me time and again. I couldn’t do it. I remember how I felt when I took them in for their hospitalization and who came out. I’m still unsure that it’s the same person.

However, the truth is, I don’t know when it will be my turn but now I’m no longer afraid of it. I have lived, since I was a teenager, afraid that I would die alone. Having seen death up close a number of times now, and being ready for my own, it no longer scares me. I actually am very proud of this.

The point is, I was ready but death wasn’t ready for me. So, now, like high school trigonometry, I see that it might just be too hard for me in this moment. So was marriage, apparently. I had wanted to be married to an awesome, charismatic person that made my head spin with fairytale “meant-to-be” visions that I could travel the world with and spend time making a difference that I was willing to ignore the obvious questions and signposts along our road. Eventually, we both became overwhelmed by our individual demons who reminded each of us every.single.day. that this kind of happiness isn’t ours to have.

I wish we could have another chance to tell those demons to fuck off. That our stubbornness could be turned against them and we could fend it off, knowing that our love for one another is enough. The fact of the matter is, that they may be angry and frustrated with me (and likewise in the opposite direction), I still believe that, after some time, we might be able to see and find each other in a new context. Of course, I also know that I have lived in a world I’ve made up in order to feel better about the reality that actually exists.

So, I feel now that I am done with suicide attempts *and* romantic relationships. Like those trig classes, I know sometimes you just have to accept that you aren’t ready to understand some concepts. But, there have been nights I have tried to end my life yet I’m still here. I don’t know why. I’m trying to figure that out but I’ve long believed that we find ourselves in situations and places for a reason. I hope one day, preferably soon, that I will know why I am still here.

If you know someone who is questioning why they are still here, please, just let them know you care and ask if there’s any way you can help.

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