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Suicide crosses all cultural, economic and social boundaries. Many people who die by suicide appeared to be functioning well prior to their death. It can happen to anyone.

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Story 154

Yesterday I listened to the presentation on this project at the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention conference in Dartmouth and realized why I was there; besides trying to learn basic knowledge to save someone else's life.

My story of my suicide attempt isn't typical in the fact that it ended differently, maybe because I was meant to fight this cause today.

This is my story:

I'm the 5th generation of mental illness in my family. Some families have diabetes, others have heart problems, but for me, everyone had mental health issues. I'm from a small, isolated community in far northern Ontario, where mental health is very taboo even today. So as you can imagine, I was raised in a very dysfunctional environment. By age 5, I had been emotionally, physically and sexually abused. By age 6, I had a baby sister and I was forgotten. I was quiet, shy and usually scared. The only time they remembered I existed was to scream at me or use me to release their anger. By age 9 I was the victim of my teacher's bullying. She would humiliate me in front of the class and then I would go home to WW3. I hated my existence.

By age 11, everything was falling apart. My mother and step father hated each other and fought in very violent ways in front of us. 6 months later, my step father just left and no one knew where he had disappeared to. The same night, there was a new man in the house. Even more violent. He was the main drug dealer in my town and he would beat my mother all the time. She would then turn her anger on me so by the age of 12, I had enough. Even the responsibility of raising my little sister wasn't enough to convince me to stay alive. One summer night in July, at around midnight, I was very agitated and emotionally drained. I was walking frantically around the house making a plan on how to release myself from this pain. I had learned from my mother’s new boyfriends 10 year old daughter that taking lots of pills could set you free. So I was ready, scared, but ready. I was going through our picture box to find a nice picture of me and my sister so I could let her know that I loved her when I found a letter.

It was the letter my grandmother wrote before she shot herself in a dump because she thought she was garbage. All I could think in my hysterical crying was, how much life would have been different if she had been able to hold on.   I couldn't give to my sister the pain I felt for my grandmother’s death. So I prayed to her to help me through this and made her a promise that I would fight the battle she had lost. A battle I have fought for 17 years now. It was a horrible but rewarding path I had to take, but I'm here and I know right now that tomorrow is a better day. Those 29 years of knowledge saved my life and can save someone else's. That sometime you have nothing tangible to hold on to, but a tiny sparkle of hope in your back pocket. Today I am proud to be other people's sparkle of hope and I feel blessed that I can relate to their stories no matter how hard. I've learned that life isn't and will never be hopeless no matter how dark and terrifying a moment can become, we are all more powerful then we know.

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