Monday, August 11, 2014

What's True In Our Minds Is True

*Trigger Warning*
The following was written inspired by the possible suicide of Robin Williams and a friend's post imploring mourners to reach out to others dealing with depression during this time so that maybe something good could come out of this tragedy. The following is about my own experience with this topic. 

"What's true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not." - What Dreams May Come

I tried to commit suicide once. I was 13 years old. Seasonal Affected Disorder was a contributing factor. Of course, so were still-hurting past wounds. I had no support. At the time, I'd never heard suicides don't go to heaven. (Something I still don't believe.) I was hopeless and miserable in my life on earth. The Bible told me life is so much better in the presence of God. I wanted to go be with Him and leave a life so devoid of hope and love.

I'd heard humans die after three days without water. I didn't consider water in food, juice, soda or anything else. My young mind believed going three days without drinking any water, I would die.

So for three days I intentionally abstained from drinking water. I ate and drank other things, so I was never in any real danger; but I didn't know that. I went three days thinking I was dying; three days of continually choosing to die rather than to live. You may think this experience doesn't count because I would not have died; but it was real to me.

I didn't write a note or leave a message; I didn't decide who to leave my things to. It wasn't about getting attention, and I didn't want my plan to be discovered and stopped. I never told anyone; I said no goodbys, no last words. I went though the routines of life believing I was dying, but acting as normally as possible so that anyone, if they were watching, would have no hint. I knew if people knew they would try to stop me; that's what people do. But their reasons for me continuing to live would have been selfish reasons (to my way of thinking then) and I wanted to do what I felt was best for me.

The third night, the night that I expected to go to sleep and never wake up, my grandmother had me spend the night at my aunt's house-to get a break from me. I lay on the sleeping bag on the floor and felt guilty thinking of my aunt having to deal with my dead body in the morning. That didn't seem fair to her; and I have always been an extremely fair person. Some survival instinct kicked in right before midnight, and I tried to drink three day's worth of water before the clock ran out.

I don't remember what happened in the following days. I know I did not get any help, nothing changed, and no one ever knew. Unless they read this, they will never know. They probably don't want to hear how badly they failed me. I see nothing good to gain from telling them now.

I write this for the parents of today's young people. Many adults forget what it was like to be young and hurting. Those with a happy growing-up-time may not understand the depth of feelings teenagers are capable of feeling. They may not see those feelings are legitimate.

Looking back, if I had felt like my opinions and feelings mattered, if I was considered and consulted instead of dictated to, I think then I would not have felt so alone. I would have had some control over my life; hope would have been possible, because the ones who had the authority to change things would have been listening.

I am grateful that today I now have the support and love that I need; suicide has no appeal to me now; I have another hope. 

When I was 13 and fervently denying myself water and awaiting death, I don't know that anyone could have done anything to change my mind. I wouldn't have called a suicide hotline to be "rescued." I think the only thing anyone could have done would have been to love me and to listen to me before I ever got that bad. Don't let the people in your life get that bad, if you can help it.

 If you're reading this and you think talking to someone would help you, click here for a list of numbers you can call to talk to someone who wants to listen.

I hope you're at peace now, Mr. Williams. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world; I'm sorry we didn't return the favor.

1 comment:

  1. I bet this post speaks for a lot of 13 year olds. Thank you for being so brave and sharing.


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