There are a lot of things about suicide that aren’t talked about. The thing that comes to mind for me, having survived a suicide attempt early this year, is what happens when you survive.
Once you get out of the hospital, you will probably be happy to have your freedom back and to be back in your own home (especially if you have a dog who is very excited to see you…). You may have issues with your family; they may have lots of complicated feelings about what you’ve done. You may, in my experience, find yourself occasionally still wishing your attempt had worked but at other times being so grateful that it didn’t. There is the matter of medical bills. There is the matter of “what do I do now?”
It may feel like a new chance at life, it may have given you the perspective to start really fighting for the life you dream of living, or it may be frightening to be back in the same situation you were in before your attempt.
With thanks to the LGBT community, I am going to borrow their mantra – “it gets better.”
After my attempt, I felt all of the above. I was deeply hurt by the fact that none of my family came to see my in the hospital, which caused a lot of strain in our relationships. I was overwhelmed by medical bills. I tried to go to the outpatient program the hospital had recommended to me (it was the only one my insurance would cover) but I found it was not what I needed. Although I had tried to kill myself, I still knew what was good for me and what wasn’t. I didn’t know how to spend my days having been put on a medical leave of absence from my university after my attempt. I felt like I was drifting – sometimes grateful, sometimes angry and even, sometimes, hating myself because I thought calling for help, which saved my life, made me a coward. I was financially cut off from my family after my attempt, due to their anger, so how to survive in the financial sense became a big stressor.
But it did get better.
I am still working on forgiving my family for what I view as abandoning me when I really needed them, but I am making progress with those feelings. I have still been seeing the same therapist I saw before my attempt. I am now back in college and, although I only just finished the first week of the semester, it is good to feel productive and like I have some direction again. Although my best friend moved away from St Louis to go to graduate school, which was a big grieving process for me, we still talk on the phone almost every day. I am now living with my boyfriend, who I am absolutely crazy about. We started dating a few months after my attempt after having been friends for four years and best friends for the latter two. I have been throwing myself, as much as I can while in school, into my true passions: art and mental health advocacy.
If I had succeeded in my attempt and somehow, in some afterlife, someone had told me what my life would have been like had I survived, I would have been furious. I would have missed out on so many beautiful things. Yes, some of it has been hard, but it is well worth the fight – and so are you.
Read the rest of Kait’s posts here.