I was born at 1:44 am, when it’s as dark as it can get. I have struggled for most of my life to feel happy. To feel loved. Perhaps that early darkness played a minuscule part and set the stage for the depression that enveloped me later in life and stole my joy.
By the time anyone is reading this, I am gone now. I’m off to watch the last episode in this Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” So sit back, relax, and plug into whatever reading device you’re looking into as I share why this Netflix Original series is super fucking interesting and is bringing much needed awareness to suicide prevention.
I have had the opportunity to meet and got to know many people that survived their suicide attempt. Twelve admissions to different psychiatric hospitals when I was between age 18-22 enabled me to meet those people. Those men and women, including myself, didn’t have the wherewithal in their jumbled up mind, to sit down and speak into a microphone and record some kind of vendetta against the people who screwed them over, before actually pulling the plug on their life. For me it wasn’t about a vendetta, it was about feeling so depressed and dead inside that I just couldn’t go on like that. Things felt like they would never end. I blamed no one, in fact blame never even popped into my mind….ever. I think that’s the only criticism I have of the show is that the protagonist placed blame for her suicide on other people. It may leave viewers with a notion that all people that Suicide leave the world angry. That would be both untrue and especially devastating to families of victims. I was never angry , I tried to end my life because I felt hopeless.
By the time one musters the resignation it takes to jump into the noose, pull the trigger, down the pills, or jump off the bridge; most could give a flying shit about leaving a note for anybody, let alone make 13 cassette tapes. I know I didn’t. The people I met didn’t leave notes either. It honestly never occurred to me, my mind was ultra focused on leaving, not on what I may be leaving behind.
Statistically speaking, victims of suicide only leave notes 3-42% of the time. Which means that 2/3 of suicides leave this world far more often with no words left said. Of those who do leave notes case studies reveal that the notes usually leave instructions for funeral arrangements or taking care of loved ones and mundane requests such as making sure newspaper subscriptions are cancelled. The notes lack the sort of logicical solace the bereaved are searching for in this sort of tragedy.
“Suicides are often impulsive, and can be prevented at the last minute. About 90 percent of people who attempt suicide and survive do not die by suicide. One survey found that 87 percent of people who attempt suicide and survive had deliberated for less than a day, 71 percent for less than an hour, and 24 percent for less than five minutes.
In a particularly vivid example of this, Ken Baldwin, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, once told the New Yorker’s Tad Friend that as he was falling, he “instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable — except for having just jumped” -Dylan Matthew
For me suicide was an impulsive act born from the wedding of my mood growing darker and me becoming more isolative. I never picked out an exact day, only a method. The timing just instinctively drew near. More went into building up to doing it and reassuring myself that things would never change. To me a specific day was inconsequential, I just knew I’d do it “soon.” I never told anyone. Then I sort of woke up and was feeling horrible, I knew it was “the day.” It was pretty arbitrary in that sense.
I had three suicide attempts and an intervened fourth. The first was cutting my wrist which required stiches. The second was driving my car into a concrete wall. There was some damage to my car, not so much to me. I still got sectioned into the hospital when paramedics found out I drove into the wall on purpose. The third was taking an entire bottle of prescription pills which landed me on a cardiac telemetry unit. The last time I was holed up in my mom’s house with her loaded .22 handgun. I lay crying on that cold black tiles bathroom floor holding the gun. My mom called my then psychiatrist and he talked to me on speaker phone through the door. I eventually came out. Each time was more serious and progressively worse.
The myth that women are just seeking attention but that men really do it a myth too. Men usually pick lethal methods for their first attempt and are therefore “successful” when they try. That said the old adage of of at first you don’t succeed try try again seems to hold true for women. Statistically, try more often, try less lethal method first, but eventually catch up to their male counterparts and succeed…. seems to hold true for women. My aunt made several attempts on her life and the last ended her on life support in ICU. It is by the grace of God she is here.
I never picked out an exact day, only a method. Suicide for me was always impulsive. I was very depressed for a prolonged period of time, I had no access to feelings, I felt numb all the time, dead inside. The suicidal ideations would come and go and then eventually they would build and one day then I just acted on it. Tbere was no way any one could have intervened because there was no way anyone could have known I was planning to do this.
My best friend’s husband attempted suicide 6 years ago. He took his police service revolver into his car in the wee hours of the morning and shot himself in the head. He died instantly. He only planned a few details. To park his car on a main highway where he knew his fellow officers would find him and not his family. He hung a quilt over the drivers side doors so that any passing motorists would not see the carnage. He did this at around 4 am so that his suspicious looking vehicle would be discovered at daybreak. It was very graphic. His wife, my friend wanted to see him and wanted the car back. The police told her that neither were options and sent her brother to take a look. Inside the car were pieces of brain and skull along with significant volume of blood throughout the vehicle. Once she was told this, viewing her husband was obviously something that she bor the family wanted.
They had four kids. Four girls that will never have a Dad. It has affected those girls in horrible ways. Two of them send text messages regularly to Facebook and Instagram hoping that heaven also has these apps. Old photos and home movies are all they can see of him. Old voice messages are all they can hear of him. A cold stone grave is all they can hold onto at birthdays, holidays, hard-to-get-through days. Suicide is forever. It can’t be taken back.
Recognize Suicide warning signs can help you intervene at an early point by talking to your friend or family member. Remember that talking about suicide will not make someone do it. Ask them how you can help, if you feel it is beyond what you can do, call 911.
•Major changes to sleeping patterns – too much or too little
•Loss of energy
•Loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance
•Loss of interest in sex
•Sudden and extreme changes in eating habits – either loss of appetite or increase in appetite
•Weight gain or loss
•Increase in minor illnesses
•No future – “What’s the point? Things are never going to get any better”
•Guilt – “It’s all my fault, I’m to blame”
•Escape – “I can’t take this anymore”
•Alone – “I’m on my own … no-one cares about me”
•Damaged – “I’ve been irreparably damaged… I’ll never be the same again”
•Helpless – “Nothing I do makes a bit of difference, it’s beyond my control”
•Talking about suicide or death
•Planning for suicide
•Alcohol or drug misuse
•Fighting and/or breaking the law
•Withdrawal from family and friends
•Quitting activities that were previously important
•Prior suicidal behaviour
•Putting affairs in order (giving away possessions, especially those that have special significance for the person)
•Writing a suicide note or goodbye letters to people
•Uncharacteristic risk-taking or recklessness (for example driving recklessly)
Feeling Emotionally Dead Worthlessness
It can be scary as hell when someone you love reveals or shows signs of suicidal thoughts. However, not taking thoughts of suicide seriously can have a devastating outcome. If you think your friend or family member will hurt herself or someone else, call 911 immediately.
There are a few ways to approach this situation:
•Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills.
•Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” rather than, “Would you rather I call your psychiatrist, your therapist or your case manager?”
•Talk openly and honestly about suicide. •Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
•If there are multiple people, have one person speak at a time
•Ask what you can do to help
•Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
•Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
•If your loved one asks for something, provide it, as long as the request is safe and reasonable
•If you are nervous, try not to fidget or pace
•If your loved one is having hallucinations or delusions, be gentle and sympathetic, but do not get in an argument about whether the delusions or hallucinations are real
You can make a difference for someone who is suffering. Don’t be afraid to talk to them, it could mean the difference between life or death. If you are the one who is suffering, please talk to someone, anyone you can about your pain, don’t make a permanent solution to what IS a temporary problem. ❤️