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Approximately 80 per cent of all firearm deaths are suicides. Nearly 20 per cent of all people who die by suicide use a gun.

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Story 150

I graduated as a nurse from Seneca College in 1983. I was an honour graduate. It wasn’t long before stress on the job sent me into a tailspin. I became depressed. Over the next 20 years I was in and out of hospitals many times and was nearly successful in my desire to kill myself. Words and talking didn’t seem to work for me. I felt flat and dead inside. I didn't know what my opinions were on anything. I had no hopes for a career, a partner or family or things. I didn't want anything. One day after supper I took an entire bottle of prescription pills, then rode away on my bike. They found me late that night unconscious in a downtown park. My heart threatened to stop in the ICU. A nurse friend of mine was working and when I woke up she said she was glad I was still alive, that they nearly lost me. They had called a code and used paddles to get my heart going again.

I was angry and I didn’t thank her. I didn’t thank anyone for saving my life. I spent a total of 9 years hospitalized because I was a serious risk to myself. All the meds and shock treatments didn’t give me any hope or decrease my desire to die. I felt empty and at times very anxious.

I finally found a person who was able to connect with me and help me climb out of the pit I was in. I asked her if anyone as sick as me could get better, and she said, “Yes”, she had seen it happen. Those were the words I had been waiting to hear! I quickly became very motivated to get better. I felt heard and like I had just found a big sister, a guide to help me figure out how to live in the world. This person was a nurse who worked as a trauma therapist.

I got to meet with her often, and I talked a lot. I emailed her whenever I wanted to and I called almost every day for quite a while. It felt like she had become my lifeline to a better place outside of hospitals and as long as I knew someone was there for me, I didn’t have to die. I told her I was abused when I was very little and when I was older too. I told her I believed my parents really wanted a boy instead of me. I told her I had felt alone even with 3 brothers and a sister and parents and a large extended family. I told her I felt like a burden to others in this world. I cried in her arms, my sadness filled everywhere. She taught me how to begin regulating how I felt so that I didn’t need to cut myself anymore. I created artwork and wrote journals full of my thoughts and my recovery adventure. She believed enough in me that I started to believe in myself and I found hope for the future. I signed up for school and started working on a degree.
It is now 6 years since I met that nurse and I have grown exponentially. I found someone who cared about me and worked outside of the box when it was necessary. She taught me a lot about nursing, about trauma, about the importance of early attachment and attachment injury, and so many other things I just wasn’t taught growing up in a big family with busy parents.

After being on provincial disability support for over 20 years I now earn my own money. I am a nurse. I am applying to a graduate program. I work on a university research team and I work with homeless people. I love connecting with them and helping them find hope. I love teaching them how to soothe and comfort themselves, to give themselves what they might not have received growing up. I have a lot of hope.

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