August 18, 2021
Disclaimer: SickNotWeak does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
Story by Lisa MacDonald from the book, Send Suicide Packing- There’s Something We All Can Do To Help
Author: Janet MacDonald
Trigger warning: This piece involves talk of suicide.
My name is Lisa and I’m 30 years old. When I was growing up, I had a great childhood with a loving family and many friends. In my early teens, I remember starting not to like myself anymore and not feeling good enough. I started having thoughts that scared me. I didn’t understand what was happening and that made me feel alone. I started to feel that no one could understand or even cared. I didn’t know anyone who was like me. I didn’t even have words to explain it.
When I was 19, I thought I was well enough to go away to college. I started to think about dying constantly. It consumed my thoughts. I didn’t tell my family or therapist. I had become a great actress and was living a lie. Pretending to be okay when all I wanted to do was disappear forever. I could not see outside my illness and realize that I had friends and family I could turn to. I felt like I had no choice, that ending it all was the only way. I thought everyone would be better off without me. I believed I was a huge burden. Thoughts just kept repeating in my head; you deserve to suffer, you’re worthless, you’re a failure, it’s not going to get better. I just wanted the pain to stop.
I didn’t know anyone who was like me.
One evening it all came to a head. I went into the woods, and that’s where I did it. The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground and realizing it wasn’t over. It was dark and cold. I could hardly breathe. I could see my phone in the distance reflecting the moon. I crawled to it and dialed 911. I cried to the operator on the line saying, “I want to live, I want to be found, please help me.”
The next thing I remember is seeing a flashlight beam and a dog leading police to me. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance and that’s where my healing began. I went into a day program with other people living with mental illness. I had never talked so openly about my illness before. I got to hear others speak freely about their lives. The details were different, but the challenges were the same. There was such comfort in realizing that others had suffered in similar ways. It didn’t matter if they were a middle-aged professional man, a new mother, a grandmother, or a teenager. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor. The feelings were the same. For the first time since becoming ill, I no longer felt alone. There was such support. There was such hope. There were new coping strategies.
You are irreplaceable.
That was ten years ago. Since then I have been doing so much better. It’s not perfect, but I have an amazing life that I never could have envisioned. I went back to school and I have a job I love. I provide peer support to those struggling. I take my medications, keep my medical appointments, and try to practice the coping strategies that I learned.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling, I want you to know that it is never too late to get help. I want you to know your life is valuable and even when things seem completely hopeless it can get better. I want you to know that your mind can tell you things that aren’t true. You are irreplaceable and your presence makes a difference in the world.
You CAN get through this. You are not alone.
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