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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 30

I first attempted suicide when I was 10 or 12 year’s old. I felt that people would be happier if I were not here. It took me about a year to decide what to do.

Finally I did drink a bottle of household iodine.  Then I rode my bicycle over to my paternal grandmother’s house to say goodbye to her.  After that I biked to a quiet road that was around the city dump not far from my home and waited for the iodine to take effect. Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t going to kill me. It only burnt the inside of my mouth and throat.  Feeling disappointed and puzzled I just went home and continued to live, talking life day by day. I remember feeling: “I guess this is the way my life is supposed to be.”

I was very shy and had no girls to play with in our district. However, because of sports I was well-known and successful in school. But I did NOT live up to my mother’s expectations as the daughter she wanted.

A few years later during the Second World War, I became engaged to an English airman. We had even picked out our silver and chinaware as we were planning our home in England after the War.

When I received the telegram that his airplane had been shot down and was missing over the Zieder Zee area, I lived for a long time in hopes that he would be found in Europe somewhere, alive. During this stressful time, my mother did not understand my tears. She kept after me to start dating and going out again. But I was still grieving.

My doctor suggested that I leave home to get away from my mother. Back in those days young women did not leave home to get their own apartment.  A friend encouraged me to join the Women’s Canadian Navy. It turned out to be one of the best things I ever did and I lived a happy life for some time before my next suicide attempt.

After my second child was born to our happy marriage, I had a severe depression (which we now know is post-partum depression).  I suffered for a long time needing a mother’s helper to care for my children as I was a ‘zombie’. After psychiatric care and shock treatments, I began to get better. I do not remember feeling suicidal at that time. But I do remember feeling ‘dead’.

Years passed and then I had another deep depression and once again became suicidal.
During a stay in a psychiatric inpatient unit I was administered another series of shock treatments. When I was discharged from the hospital, they sent me home in a taxi. I entered the house and horrified my fifth child because I looked dead to her 9 year old eyes.

More years passed, and I became suicidal again. I planned to jump off the Sherman Cut Bridge. I had walked there a number of times before but this time I was really going to do it! It was rush hour while I was leaning over looking at the road below. There wasn’t much room between the cars where I would land. In a moment of clarity, I remember thinking: what a dreadful thing to do to some poor man on his way home to his wife and children. At that moment I sort of ‘came to’ or woke up and realized I was needed at home with my own wonderful husband and my beautiful family.

Consequently, a few years passed and I got to feeling suicidal again. I had pills in one pocket and a clipping for “The Recovery Group” in the other pocket. As I rode on the bus trying to make up my mind, I decided to go to the Recovery Group first. I could always take the pills later.

I found the Recovery Group and yoga helpful; going to meetings sometimes twice a day until I got thinking more clearly and learned how to deal with my problems. I realized that I was over-tired and over-worked with little help from my husband.

The years between bouts of depression were happily spent doing what I most enjoyed: being a wife; looking after my 6 children; and running an emotionally rewarding day care in my home.

Now that I am 85 years old, suicidal thoughts are constantly with me because I don’t want to become a burden to my family. I have had a long and happy life, a wonderful family, a wonderful married life and feel very lucky that I did not succeed in committing suicide.

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