This is an updated version of a chapter in memoir The Bipolar Writer. For those who have read my blog post about suicide, you know how important this subject is in my life. I have been through so much with my suicides. I now advocate against suicide. With that said here is a chapter in my memoir.
J.E. Skye’s Thoughts on Suicide
In the darkest places of my mind, I still remember how it felt when suicide was consuming my every thought. What a dark place I must go to again, but this time it’s only to understand. Many of us are on this earth to help others deal with the same problems. I like to think this is one of those times. I want to share my thoughts on suicide. You may not like every word that I say here, this is a tough subject to write for any writer who has experienced suicidal thoughts.
I have so much to say about suicide. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of going down the road of suicide three times in my life, and survive. That doesn’t count the suicidal thoughts that have waged war in my head for so many years.
I am afraid and excited at the same time to write suicide. I haven’t explored my thoughts about suicide other than expressing that I am against it to anyone that would listen. I have tried three unsuccessful times to take my life. It feels so strange to say I have survived, but it’s true.
The topic rarely comes up in my life, and never in this way. It took one person asking to write my thoughts about suicide that gave me the strength to write about this subject. So here I go.
It has taken me many years to be in a good place with my diagnosis so that talking about suicide is something that I can do. It’s been a little over seven years since my last suicide attempt. Since that time I always advocate against suicide.
To be in a place where suicide is the only option isn’t as fresh in my mind, but it is the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life. You never forget the depths of the darkness that is suicidal thoughts. The places that my mind went to when my depression was at its darkest was hell, and it felt like there was no escape. I wanted to be anywhere but in my own body.
I thought it best to talk about my own experiences with suicide. It speaks why I tell people there is always a better alternative than to give into suicide.
My experiences with suicide attempts were the result of weeks of very little sleep. The constant racing of my thoughts would consume my every second. I spent so many minutes convincing myself that I was not good enough to live in the same world as everyone else. I went inward into myself disappearing from the real world. My appetite would disappear and speaking words would escape me. I spent hours on end and days in bed lost in an endless darkness.
Nothing was real to me the weeks leading up to my first suicide attempt. My girlfriend always had to worry about my mental health. Weeks before I had said goodbye to the world on social media. My family found me before I could take it to the level of suicide. The darkness was still there in my mind. I found myself convincing everyone in my family that things were fine. I told everyone I was on the mend.
I don’t know why I wanted to convince the people that loved me that I was okay. It may have been a selfish need to make myself feel better about what I was planning, and yes it was very selfish. I didn’t think or care about anyone but myself. It took three suicides for me to come to grip with reality. My suicide attempts hurt the people that loved me, it shows how selfish I was being.
Being who I am, I actually did research on suicide methods. I saw the real stats on suicides, and I didn’t care if I became another statistic on a website. The tools were there to let someone know that I was suicidal. Calling the suicide helpline should have been the first thing I did, but I didn’t want help. I wanted to not exist. I found the only means to take my life that was accessible to me, an overdose. It wasn’t a great solution, but at the time it felt right, even if it felt wrong after.
Over the weekend and the day leading up to my first suicide attempt, I didn’t sleep. I was fighting a war inside my head, and the battles were endless. I always remember my first suicide because the event happened during Thanksgiving week. I remember feeling angry that the doctors wouldn’t release me after I told them I was no longer suicidal. Looking back it was a lie and I makes me sad that this was the first time in my life I would miss Thanksgiving.
Looking back, that first suicide attempt failed because wanting to not be a part of this world was my cry for help. That is why I decided to tell the world that I planned to end my life, again. Deep down I wanted my family to stop me, which is what happened. The people that love me found me in time. It took me years to come to this conclusion. At the time, I was so mad at the world all I could see was my will to not live.
It’s a weird feeling when you finally take that leap to commit suicide (for lack of a better word). At that moment the world becomes surreal. Everything in my mind became clear and I felt for the first time that I was at peace. It wasn’t real peace of course and it was only a temporary feeling. One that ended when I thought my life did.
I remember some of what happened next. Being rushed to the hospital. The doctors and nurses forcing a black charcoal substance down the throat. The faint conversations about me trying committing suicide. That there was something really wrong with what I did, even if I didn’t believe it. Then, many hours later, a nurse and a security guard pushing me down a long hallway to the psych ward.
That was the first time that I was so deep into depression that I turned to suicide. Within a month, I tried again with the same result, a stint in the psych ward. I chose to write about the first and second suicide attempts together for two reasons. The first Deep-down I didn’t want to die. I can say that with confidence. The second was that the month between my first and second suicide so meshed in mind. I really don’t remember much from the time in between. I mention this because that is different than the last time I committed suicide.
In 2010, I again wanted to end my life, and the need to not be a part of this world was consuming. It had been two and half years since my last attempt and my life had only gotten worse. I was amid the longest depression cycle of my life that spanned from 2007—and it might have been going on since 2006.
It was rare for me to leave my house during this time. When I was alone my thoughts were dark. I imagined walking out of my house and down the street to walk into traffic on the highway. These thoughts were occurring almost daily. I thought about hanging myself from the huge oak tree next to my house. I thought about slicing my wrists and bleeding out on my bed which was the couch in my parents living room. I thought about the many ways I could remove myself from existence.
Outside my immediate family, most of the people in my life gave up on me by 2010. If I am being honest, only my mother still had faith in me. Most of my family came to realize that if I wanted to commit suicide, there was not much anyone could do to stop me. I don’t blame them for giving up or for feeling helpless. I was the worst version of myself during these years.
I remember one day I was especially suicidal and some of my family came to visit my parents. I was alone in the dark with my thoughts when my aunt came in to check on me. My aunt is the sweetest lady in the world, but I was in a bad place. I picked a verbal fight with her. I resented when she called the cops after I told her if she didn’t leave me alone I would kill my myself. Suicide became this horrible weapon that I could wield against people who only wanted to help me. My aunt forgave me for it, but I often remember this and feel bad about the altercation.
It was much of the same behaviors as the last time I tried to commit suicide but it was also different. The most glaring difference was that for the first time in my life, I wanted to die. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted it to happen and that it would happen. Since the day of my diagnosis with Bipolar One, I didn’t believe that I would make it out of my twenties. There was something wrong with me. At that moment in 2010, it was becoming clear that my life was going to end.
I planned everything this time. For weeks, I hoarded my Seroquel so that I could take such a strong amount that it would kill me. At this point in my life, I was no longer in charge of holding onto my medicine only to take it. I found ways to pretend to take my medicine. I told no one of my plans. I stopped all my online activity. I disconnected from life. It was lucky that my friend couldn’t get ahold me and had my parents checked in on me. It saved my life.
I don’t remember anything after taking my medication that night. Years later my mom told me it was the scariest suicide attempt that she had to live through. It was with reluctance that she told me what happened. I was in a coma for three days (which I remember waking from and thinking what the hell, why is there a catheter in me?) The doctors had no idea if I would live or die, but one thing they were sure of, that my family got to me with little time to spare.
I spend a week in the hospital after I came out of the coma, and I my doctors released me into the care of my parents. About two days after my release I collapsed on the dining room table and had a seizure. It was in an ambulance that took me to the hospital where I had three more seizures over the next twenty-four hours. It was the scariest thing in the world that I have ever lived through. It is hard to believe I survived it all. My doctors thought it was a late reaction to the overdose but they were never actually sure, and never gave me a clear answer. I was on anti-seizure medication for two years and luckily never had another seizure. It was these two hospitalizations that changed my life and finally made me open to fix my problems.
Why tell this story? For one, it was requested to share my thoughts about suicide after my last blog post. It was a great idea. But how could I tell someone reading this that suicide is not the answer if I don’t share my own experience? So, I decided that I would share my story and then my thoughts. Well here are my thoughts.
Suicide is dark and it feels endless. If you decide to go down that route there is a good chance that you won’t live past that decision. I am lucky in some ways because I am here, but it’s sad that I let myself get to that point. My story should be a cautionary tale. If you survive suicide you must live with it, and it is better to never feel that way. No matter how my life has changed for the better, my family will always be wondering if they could have stopped me.
Even though seven years have passed, it will always be in the back of my family’s minds that it could happen again. They will always be looking at me. I deserve it, but it is a feeling that I wish would go away.
If you feel like there is nothing left to live for, I will tell you there is—your family. Life. It is worth living. Things are bad now. But even at their worst, it will get better. Yes, something very wrong is happening in your life. If you feel suicidal at this moment that’s okay, but it can’t be so bad that not existing is okay.
Suicide is never the answer. There are people in this world that are living with diseases that could take their life at any moment. They have no control, but you do. You can control your situation no matter what suicide tells you. Trust me when I say the voice that tells you suicide is okay is dead wrong.
I tell anyone who feels this way to seek help. Call the suicide hotline. Call a friend. Find a way to fight. I have my writing, reading, and music. I watch sports and when I am down I binge watch Netflix of shows that make me happy. Please learn from my experiences. Believe me when I say if I could go back, I would choose to get help instead of suicide.
If you are not living suicidal thoughts, but know someone who is dealing it remember this fact. According to Mental Health America, 8 out of 10 people give signs their intentions on of suicide. Listen to the people around you especially those you love. If someone is joking about suicide (I have so many times in my life) or threatens suicide take the words at face value. Call the authorities. It is better to be safe than lose some to suicide. The person you love will forgive you, and if they don’t it is still the right thing to do.
The greatest advice I can give those who are suffering from depression is this. If depression is leading you to suicidal thoughts, the first step is to understand something wrong in your life.
Its okay to admit this to yourself and to people. On this path to recovery and understanding of my diagnosis, it took me a long time to understand. The first time saying “I am Bipolar, it is a part of me but it doesn’t define me” was the first time believing that I could fight. Believing that in my life I have a mental illness, and that’s okay. After that, it became clear that suicide is never the answer. Depression was and always will be a dangerous thing in my life. My life changed and my outlook became better when I decided suicide is not the answer. I started to fight and it became the difference.
My life will always have elements of chaos. Every day I deal with depression and anxiety at some level and often it hits the extreme levels of being Bipolar. I still fight every day. I am lucky enough to wake up each day alive. It gives me solace. I want to be alive because death is never your friend. You never know when it will be your last day.
Live as much as you can even if your depressed. I take days off too because sometimes you need a mental health day. Never give into suicide and the dark thoughts that occupancy it.
My greatest aspiration in life is to teach people about suicide. The pain it brings to your life and those around you. My experiences are a part of me, and wouldn’t wish them on anyone. I can’t stress the importance of getting help so I will say it again. If you feel suicidal get help, it not worth it to give up hope.
Together we can prevent suicide. I want to end the stigma that comes along with this part of a mental illness. I want people to learn from my mistakes. I know it’s idealistic to think this way. I’d rather believe this is possible than to see any more of my people die because of suicide.
Please Help me Publish my Memoir
I am getting close to finishing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir.