I’ve always been pretty vocal when it came to National Suicide Prevention Week. Or The Lines Project. I worked on To Write Love On Her Arms street team for years long before I even moved to Florida.
Suicide in the recent years have become more of a public issue than it ever was. Claiming the lives of Robin Williams and Chester from Linkin Park. And yet people still refuse to change the conversation or even have the conversation. And as long as their a stigma to it, the problem will never be solved.
I was 13 when I leaned my head back against the wall during lunch with my two best friends at the time; Amanda and Raven. I blurted out “sometimes I just want to die.” Raven thought that was a weird thing to say and Amanda just slightly nodded. I was always painted the fuck up in the family. It didn’t matter what I did, said or tried to fix things. There was always something that made someone mad. There was always something that made someone feel to compelled to tell me, a small child, that I wasn’t smart enough. That I wasn’t going to make it. That I was a failure. And so I kept those word burned in my ears for a very very long time. I slept in class frequently in middle school and high school. I just didn’t care.
What was there to care about when everyone thought you were a fuck up anyway?
I was 14 when I smoked my first cigarette and 15 when I first got drunk. And made it a habit to get drunk every New Years Eve after that, as long as it was spent with my ex best friend. At 16 I got my first real boyfriend and I was the toxic one in the relationship. It was BAD. I had massive jealousy and anger issues and looking back on it now, I’m surprised he dealt with my ass for almost 6 months. He could had done so much better. When he broke up with me however, was the first time I self harmed. My life, from here, would just spiral even darker and harder. I was never happy. I was never in a good mood. And every time I was, I knew it would be short lived because as soon as I got home I was back to being the fuck up kid. So I figured it was just safer to not get my hopes up and just stay sad.
I met my ex husband at 17, around the time I was dating someone who was extremely physically and mentally abusive. Like when I finally broke up with him for good I had to change my number, email addresses, blogs and screen names. We got caller ID and if he showed up to our house I was to call the police immediately. He posted threats and my address online. At the time calling the police wouldn’t had done anything, the internet was still a very new battle ground. I constantly came to school with red eyes and slept most of first period which was Leadership. My ex husband claims to be an empath but he’s not, he’s just very very good at reading people by their facial expressions and their movements. So he knew something was wrong. We ended up becoming best friends and started dating at 18. Got engaged at 19. And again at 24 before he left for the Airforce and got married at the end of that year.
We very often joked about death, suicide and Hell. He thought my obsession with Happy Bunny and emo screen tees was accurate cause I was a sarcastic asshole. He however thought To Write Love On Her Arms “didn’t make sense” and hated it. He always said he’d never commit suicide because he promised himself he wouldn’t. He had his own demons that I hope he has, by now, overcome.
But we were two damaged kids. Our demons played well with each other, until they didn’t anymore.
At 29 we started to fall apart. Because of that abusive ex my mind broke. I don’t know how else to explain it. Traumatic situations can cause your brain to rewire itself in different ways. Some people, like me, develop anxiety and OCD. I was 19 when I began noticing symptoms of OCD. I didn’t know that the pain in my chest was anxiety. I was 19 when my ex husband who at the time was my boyfriend told me I was “making it up so I wouldn’t have to see him” and told me “you have too many rules”. I was 21 when I finally decided to get professional help. I opted out of meds and into CBT as well as group therapy. And I did that, for 8 years. I was diagnosed with depression and mild anxiety. And the two in the beginning battled it out so hard I felt like blowing my head off to make them both shut up.
I never felt depression talked to me exactly, Anxiety though, anxiety has a lot to say. It’s constantly talking to me and some days it’s louder than others. My anxiety caused me to constantly feel like a burden to everyone around me. It kept telling me everyone’s lives would be easier and much happier if I weren’t here anymore. No one would miss me. All I ever did was make everyone’s lives hard.
My mom worked in an insane asylum as a Psych Tech RN. My best friend eventually went into the same profession, most first gen Filipino American’s I know did. Except me. I never thought I was smart enough to be in the medical field. I always wanted to stray away from stereotypes and I cared more about writing and stories of people who escaped their reality. But my mom at the time wasn’t very helpful, she always made me fear asking for help, constantly telling me they’d throw me in the hospital she works in. So it took me 3 years to ask for help, when I couldn’t take it anymore.
I still vividly remember my ex husband walking out of the apartment one night saying my OCD made him feel trapped. That he preferred spending time with Kenz because she made him feel normal. At that point he had started lying. Every night I tracked him he was half way across Orlando as late as 4am but told me he was at the gym.
I called the suicide hotline for the first time at 29.
I kept a knife in my side dresser for the nights I couldn’t take the pain anymore.
In the summer I suffered from a mental breakdown and started taking Zoloft. It definitely helped. For the first time I could FEEL the depression and anxiety but it was like they were trapped behind a glass wall. I knew they were THERE but it felt like they were being pushed away from me. It was liberating. But it didn’t stop me from pushing limits. I would mix my Zoloft with sleeping aids and other OTC medicines to “see what would happen”. My ex husband stopped coming home anyway. Stopped listening to me. Stopped caring. I just was tired of waking up to the same ol shit. And I was back again in that place where if I wasn’t here his life would be happier and easier. In Dec I suffered another mental break down which started my hallucinations. Of a gray cat. Which inspired me to adopt Sophie… though there would be times I’d see them both. It was worth a shot I guess.
I’ve written this blog post twice and it’s come out the same way. Oh well.
I’ve pretty much struggled with suicide and suicidal thoughts since I was 13. Mixed in with a bunch of other crazy mental illness stuff. I honestly don’t believe you can talk someone OUT of suicide. The intense feeling of “knowing” everyone’s lives would be better without you mixed with the things you mind tells you in that moment can be really hard to break out of. Can be really hard to snap out of. And we never know what triggered them into that place.
I’ve lost friends to suicide; everyone’s life is not “better” without you in it.
And even though I can say that to someone else, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember it for myself. Anxiety is a constant companion. But depression recently has come to me as Postpartum Depression. Which is a whole different kind of dark on so many levels. Tums is now almost a year and a half and for the first year it was so hard to not feel like she would be better off without me. Here’s the thing about babies, they can tell when you hurt. And Tums absolutely knows when I do. And she will do all she can to comfort me. So does Sophie, she refuses to ever leave my side when I’m stuck in a dark cloud. There have been times I’d lock myself in the bathroom crying and self harming and Sophie will franticly scratch at the door (which she NEVER does) and crying until I open the door.
Both my girls remind me that I’m needed. That they’ve got me even when I don’t have myself. It’s been maybe over 2 or 3 months since I last had a suicidal thought. But just because I found a reason to push those thoughts away now doesn’t mean others do.
And that’s absolutely not to say that the parents who do end it don’t care about their kids because like I said, no one knows what triggered them or pushed them over the edge.
People should be allowed to express their suicidal thoughts without worrying they’ll be turned in. Without fearing people will claim they’re just “seeking attention”. There should be a safe place people can go where they’re allowed to just express themselves without being judged. It shouldn’t be so hard to not only find professional help but to maintain it (my last over the phone tele-appt with my obgyn concerning my PPD was $150 for a 15 min call, that’s insane). There are resources but they’re exactly frequently talked about and they’re not easy to find.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts please reach out to someone. If you don’t feel safe reaching out my advice is to start a private blog and just word vomit everything that’s crossing your mind and bothering you. I did this growing up and it helped me to pull things and events apart and put them back together. It also helped me become more self aware. Finding help is hard, asking for help is even harder. I totally get it.
If you notice someone struggling ask them if everything is okay, they’ll most likely say yes but invite them to feel safe enough to talk to you if they ever need to. Some people have a hard time opening up to others because “they just won’t get it”. I’m still guilty of this when it comes to my husband who didn’t have a fucked up childhood. So I usually turn to my blogs or meditating or blowing up my bff’s phone with lots of messages in caps. But providing a space where they don’t feel judged is always a great place to start.
I won’t suggest the suicide hotline cause they never did shit for me; but there are plenty of other resources online. Between Facebook groups, Instagram pods or even Reddit. I’m part of some pretty crazy ones with a ton of supportive people.