For National Suicide Prevention Week, we sent an email out to our audience asking, among other things, what motivated them to keep going when faced with suicidal thoughts or in the wake of an attempt. Below are just a few of the powerful responses we got back.
Before reading, understand that some of these responses are dark and graphic in nature. Please use your own discretion before continuing on.
"Imagine the look on your mother's face if she were to lose you." Sadly, until I finally found the right doctor seven years ago, even that image didn't always overwhelm my every moment wish that there would be no more moments to live through.
I survived seven attempts. Three times, I was found by strangers. One time, I was legally dead for almost a minute.
For the last seven years, despite my current battle with a terribly painful, debilitating, terrifying illness, I remain grateful, every moment, for all the people who kept me alive. I am proof that bipolar disorder can be beyond just controlled. I was the completely compliant patient that no one could successfully treat. For 13 years, I was on the verge of institutionalization. The efforts of those that loved me paid off. That one doctor finally appeared. I wanted to live and I fought my way through decades of self-hate. I'm now me. Not bipolar me. Not even me with bipolar. I'm just someone who takes medication for an illness that has become a footnote; something to keep an eye on rather than something that was once so powerful that it eclipsed all else. Having gone through that journey is what has allowed me to remain positive, strong and hopeful that my current illness will also become a footnote.
With great gratitude to those that have helped me, I will overcome this new obstacle and serve others. I spend every ounce of my energy furthering my goal: to become a clinician. The kind that can honestly say, "I've been there, and I will be there for you and with you."
I attempted to commit suicide a few years ago. I have asthma, so I was on some types of medication. One of them was extremely risky for my age, so I would only take a third of a pill. That day I took seven of these pills. I wrote a letter to my family and took a shower when I began to feel my rapid heartbeat and my skin started to crack open. That was when my sister found the letter and my condition. She told my mother, who made me drink nearly a gallon of milk so I could vomit. The thing that kept going on my mind was that I was a terrible person, no one likes me and I am not worthy of living.
However, if I were dead as I had wished that day, I wouldn't have graduated or been accepted in the best engineering college in my country. I wouldn't have watched all these TV shows or made my mother proud. I worked on my pain and turned it into a motivation. I hope you find the strength to do the same.
The only thing that kept me from committing suicide was the thought of what it would put my granddaughter through. That thought made me contact my psychiatrist for the first time.
Breastfeeding my son got me through severe suicidal postpartum depression. He wouldn't take a bottle, so I had to live so he could eat. I convinced myself to live one more day every day for 10 months just to feed my son another day.
That and the thought of my loved ones finding me kept me from taking my life.
My therapist told me that if I attempted suicide, I could survive and end up horribly disfigured. So it might not be for the right reasons, but vanity saved me there.
I once was talking with my pastor when I was having serious thoughts of suicide. I told her that I thought God would understand if I killed myself. She said, “Yes, but God’s heart would break that you had reached that point, and for the pain you would cause others.” The thought that God’s heart would break gave me pause and redirected my thoughts from my pain to my relationship with God. I am still here because of that thought.
If you are thinking about suicide, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page: http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
If you are not in a crisis and would like someone to talk to online, visit the website www.7cups.com to chat for free with a trained listener.