[TW: suicidal thoughts]
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Every year, I take some time on this day to reflect on my own struggles with suicidal ideation and behaviors, which over the past five years or so have been frequent and sometimes severe. This summer marked three years since my suicide attempt. I feel like that happened to another person. Thanks to therapy and appropriate medication, I think it’s been at least a year and a half since I had serious suicidal thoughts, and by that I mean “Maybe I should go to the ER” kind of thoughts. I had a depressive episode in January where I had some “I wish I was dead” kind of thoughts, but that’s passive ideation, not active: I didn’t find myself thinking of a plan. In May of last year I lost my grandma, which was a huge blow, and then this past May I lost my job. Two big, stressful events almost exactly a year apart. Not easy. But I’ve held it together remarkably well, and like I said, no active suicidal ideation.
I’ve realized that people who love me are still scared, though.
The day I lost my job, I called a close friend and told him what happened. He told me to breathe, helped me calm down, and stayed on the phone with me until I was at least temporarily okay. I then took two Ativan and laid down in bed to sleep. Ativan makes me sleep the sleep of a hibernating bear. I awoke hours later to the sound of keys in my back door (he has a set) and stumbled out of bed. He came sprinting through the apartment to my bedroom, saw me, and grabbed me tighter than I’ve ever been held before. He was sobbing. “Oh my god. I’m so glad you’re okay. Oh my god. I’ve been texting you for hours and you didn’t answer me and I was so afraid you’d hurt yourself. I don’t know what I would do without you.” I was taken aback by how upset he was, and I was blown away by that fear and the love behind it. I looked at my phone and saw the dozen of texts that I’d slept through, starting with tones of mere concern growing into sheer panic. I felt awful. I cried too, partly out of pure guilt for scaring him, but also because I was so moved by the love that caused his panic. He didn’t want to let me out of his arms.
Later, I gave it some thought. My friend was the only one whose mind jumped to the “what if she hurts herself?” place in this particular situation. But in another situation, who else do I know who would rush over to my place if they were concerned I might be a danger to myself?
Quite a few people, actually. Quite a few people who would drop everything to be by side when I needed safety and support. The more I thought about it, the more humbled and grateful I felt.
What love I have in my life.
This World Suicide Prevention Day, I’m thinking not of my dark times, but of the light these people are in the darkness. They are my lighthouses on stormy seas. And I’m so grateful.
What love I have in my life.