eighth anniversary of my first suicide attempt

People remember their first kiss. I remember my first suicide attempt. It was February 16, 2003, when I tried to kill myself in my college dorm room.  It might not be considered a ‘serious’ attempt since the amount of sleeping pills I took would’ve never killed me, but I was nothing but serious when I came to a conclusion that I needed to end my life then. I have no recollection of how the ambulance came and took me to the ER, but I do remember waking up in the ER and then being told that I needed to be admitted to the psychiatric hospital. And I remember those few days of my first stay at a psych hospital.

In a way, this event changed everything. For start, it’s certainly changed the way I view February. For the last seven years, I dreaded the coming of the month of February like it was the plague, and when it did get here, I was mostly frozen from the fear that I would do this again. Then, all the suicidal thoughts seem to come up, and I spend the rest of the month just hoping that I can get through it in however many pieces that remains of me. That’s been the routine. In trying to heal the wounds of what my psychiatrist calls February my “personal 9/11,” she referred me to a psychologist trained in EMDR.  I had those treatments late February/early March last year, and while it curbed my suicidal thinking at the time, there wasn’t really a way to tell if the EMDR truly benefitted me until another February came.

So, February did come again, and now we’re mere minutes away from the end of February 2011.  And I can’t say that there was any dreaded countdown, the crippling fear, or the ruminating thoughts of suicide during the 28 days. All in all, I didn’t just survive through it; I lived through it. Just as this month was ushered in without any fanfare, it will close its doors unceremoniously.

Even though this February hasn’t had the ‘excitement’ of the previous seven Februarys, I do feel a sense of relief coming over me as I write this entry. It’s not that I’ve forgotten the details of the attempt. I’m well aware of what happened, and I still want to give a nod to this day and this month because it is such an important part of my development as a person. But what’s looking more clear to me now is that the past doesn’t have to be the anchor that holds me back. Rather, I think I would be honoring that experience properly if I can live on.

Time “Marches” on. And so will I.

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4 Comments to “eighth anniversary of my first suicide attempt”

  1. Congratulations on living through February!! It really is a remarkable achievement, well done. Having had my own experiences of suicide attempts, I know the horror and pain they can be associated with. I had a serious attempt a few years ago and was admitted to the psych ward involuntarily and put on suicide watch literally in a padded room. It was the ultimate in humiliation and pain. I am a doctor and have to deal with those psychiatrists on a professional basis now and still feel the humiliation and embarrassment. It made me resolve that the next attempt would be a successful one, but fortunately have not let myself get to that point again, having ECT before things get too bad.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, it really has been very useful and beneficial for me.

  2. Bluejay, thank you so much for the encouragement and for sharing your own story, too. Wow, I can’t imagine having to interact professionally with the same doctors that know about that personal side of you. What type of medicine do you practice, if you don’t mind me asking?

    Thank you, also, for finding and reading my blog. Hope we can keep in touch!

  3. Hi,
    I am a General Practitioner in Hobart, Tasmania. I work with all ages and types of problems, but have accumulated a large population of psch patients, probably because I take them seriously and spend the time with them that they need. Interestingly, I have just started seeing a psychiatrist as one of my patients! I would never reveal my history to her as I think it would alter the doctor patient relationship, but I think it is failrly ironic!

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who dreads the anniversary of my near-suicide. Thank you all for sharing. I am a trial attorney, married, with a lovely family. I had severe financial problems a few years ago and felt like a failure, and decided to sacrifice myself so my family could have my life insurance proceeds. I went through an elaborate planning process, including mailing goodbye letters to my family and business partner, and came within a few minutes of putting a .45 caliber bullet through my head at the graves of my grandparents in a local cemetery. Through divine intervention I received a call from a good friend from my church, who talked me out of it. I agreed to be checked into a psych hospital and was diagnosed with acute stress disorder. The psych hospital was outstanding and was exactly what I needed. Stayed there for 4 days and did a few months of therapy after that. Since then I have been on a pretty even keel and I have been blessed with freedom from suicidal thoughts, EXCEPT when the anniversary of my near-miss comes about (June). At that time, I still get terribly depressed, going from feelings of relief and disbelief that I ever would have thought of suicide, to being so down that I can hardly function. Any strategies you can suggest for dealing with this bittersweet anniversary?

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