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Eighty per cent of people thinking about suicide send out a warning, and about 80 per cent of lethal suicides follow an earlier attempt. There are about 20-40 suicide attempts for every completed suicide. A suicide attempt is the strongest predictor of future death by suicide.

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Story 332

My family moved to another country when I turned thirteen years old. I found the move very difficult and really missed my old friends and family back in my home country. My parents kept moving to different states and towns and I had to go to four different high schools, which I found very hard. I was also really not getting along with my father and we were fighting a lot. I was always new at school and found it very hard to adjust and make new friends. An outcast, I was bullied and hardly had any friends.

As a fourteen-year-old, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and put on anti-depressants. It was a tumultuous time for me, coming to terms with puberty, growing up, and also realizing that I was attracted to girls and probably bisexual. It was also when, after a horrible fight with my father, I made my first suicide attempt. I raided the medication cabinet and took lots of different pills. I went to bed and just lay there for a long time, waiting to die or at least for something bad to happen. It was to my great surprise that I woke up the next morning alive and perfectly fine, maybe except for some mild stomach ache. I realized that basically most of the medications I’d taken were actually only vitamins. While I survived my first suicide attempt, I have spent basically the rest of my life suffering clinical depression. Suicide has prominently played on my mind ever since then.

After I finished High School, life became a lot better for me. I made a lot of new friends, had romantic relationships, travelled and founds jobs I enjoyed. Unfortunately I still continued to greatly suffer from depression, anxiety and occasional panic attacks. When I was nineteen, my ex-boyfriend and best friend at the time, committed suicide. His suicide affected everyone in such a deep and painful way, that I swore to myself I would never try to commit suicide again. I promised myself that I would never hurt the people close to me the way he did.

At twenty three, I was in a fantastic serious relationship, studying at university and working at a job that I really loved. I had also just moved out of home for the first time. However, I was working and studying too much and hardly ever sleeping. The next thing I knew, I experienced a psychotic episode and ended up staying in a psychiatric ward in a hospital. I was then put on a myriad of various anti-psychotic medications, none of which seemed to work for me and had horrible side effects. I felt very sick from the side effects and kept putting on weight from the anti-psychotic meds. My depression and suicidal feelings increased and I ended up spending more time in psychiatric clinics.

Eventually I put on a lot of weight from my medication, had to quit my job because I was so mentally unwell, and moved back in with my parents. My serious boyfriend at the time left me because he just couldn’t deal with me having a mental illness.

Beside myself with grief about the relationship break-up, my mental illness and everything else that had happened, I turned to alcohol to drown out my severe depression. I spent the next year and a half battling with alcoholism and being in and out of rehabs a few times. Finally I had the strength to stop drinking and my psychotic illness seemed to just go away by itself and I no longer took medication for it.

It was during this time that I had started to spend time with my ex-boyfriend’s best friend from High School, Evan. Against my will and the fact that I didn’t want to backstab my ex, I fell completely and madly in love with Evan. We started seeing each other and I realized that I had never really been truly in love before. I felt this all-consuming passionate love, bordering on a very unhealthy and cruel obsession.

The time of being so in love with Evan was hell for me, as he didn’t feel the same and was more or less just using me. Later I realized that maybe Evan had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, possibly brought on by being sexually abused as a small child. Evan just wanted me to love and admire him for his own self-gratification. He constantly lied to me and manipulated me, using the fact that I was so in love with me to control me. It was a very emotionally abusive relationship.

I was beside myself with the immense love I felt for Evan, wanting him so completely and never being able to truly have him. He didn’t want an official relationship and I just kept trying to leave, but no avail. I was very depressed and felt very desperate and helpless. I kept trying to move on and meet other people, but I loved Evan so much that I just couldn’t do it. It was also around this time that I started to feel quite physically unwell. I started to get very severe fatigue, felt nauseous, my joints ached, I had stomach problems and my skin got very itchy. Later I was actually diagnosed with a rare chronic autoimmune liver disease, which causes all these symptoms. It’s a disease where my own immune system attacks and slowly destroys my liver and I may have to get a liver transplant in future.

I was still madly in love with Evan for two and a half years, and felt very unwell from my liver disease. I kept trying to find a new relationship, but whether it was my love for Evan, or just that I couldn’t find the right person, nothing worked out for me. A lot of my friends had a partner or were even married, and I’d been single for three and a half years and felt very desperate and alone. My chronic illness and often feeling sick was really getting me down and my depression was getting worse. Not to mention that no matter what I did, I still couldn’t stop loving Evan. I started to think that I would never get over him and meet anyone new and it made me feel so low and empty inside. I very often thought about suicide, and even imagined it and how I would kill myself. The only thing stopping me was the promise I made to myself long before that, that I would never hurt the people I loved.

One day I was stalking Evan’s Facebook profile. As it wasn’t set to private, I saw that it said on his profile that he was in a new relationship. I also saw the comments that his new girlfriend was leaving on his profile. I found it so painful to think that Evan had made it official with this new woman, even on Facebook, something that he had never wanted to acknowledge or do for me. I started to cry uncontrollably, painful emotions were completely taking over me and I was so hurt that I felt sick in my stomach. I was absolutely enveloped by feelings of depression, hatred, anger and desperation. It was like something evil had just taken over me. I hated myself, life and everything in it. In that instant moment I saw no reason to live and my long time promise to stay alive meant nothing. I didn’t even feel like myself and it was as if some cruel force was moving my body like a puppet. I walked over to the fridge, took a box of cold and flu tablets from the top of it, and started to force the pills into myself. I was hysterically crying, feeling this immense cutting emotional pain, and wishing so badly just to die and for it all to end.

After I’d taken a significant amount of cold and flu tablets, I called my best friend. Obviously, there was some very small part of me that still wanted to live, or at least to say goodbye. Eventually my best friend came over, and so did the ambulance. I was taken to the hospital emergency department and released a few hours later, alive.

I felt confused and empty after my suicide attempt. Life felt somehow not real to me and I still didn’t feel like myself. I questioned what the meaning of life even was and if anything good was ever going to come my way. Not to mention I felt quite sick because the cold and flu tablets contained a lot of acetaminophen, which is very toxic for your liver. The suicide attempt definitely didn’t help my liver disease and my liver became very inflamed. My close friends and everyone that knew about my suicide attempt were incredibly lovely and supportive. Yet I still felt very depressed and helpless. In fact, I even kept thinking about suicide and whether to attempt it again. It took me a long time to come forward to my parents about trying to commit suicide. I was so afraid I’d hurt them, but they took it OK and were so understanding and supportive.

Very shortly after my suicide attempt, I met a very lovely lesbian girl that I really hit it off with. We had a lot in common and became very good friends. There seemed to be a real spark there and we eventually started to date. Although it’s quite a new relationship, something in me tells me that it’s completely right. I have strong feelings for her and care for her immensely. I know she feels the same. I consider myself very lucky to have lived to meet her.

After my suicide attempt, I eventually began to think that I was in fact very lucky to have stayed alive. I started to think that if there is a God out there, they didn’t want me to die and they had a purpose for me in life. People have actually died from acetaminophen overdose because of its toxicity to the liver. Having liver disease, I’m incredibly lucky to still be here. All my close friends (especially my best friend), my family, my counsellor and my girlfriend have been so kind and supportive to me after my suicide attempt. I feel so privileged to have them in my life. I felt immense guilt and sadness, thinking that if I’d died, I’d never have seen them all ever again. Not to mention, I never would have even met my wonderful girlfriend.

Now I'm twenty eight. I see life as a precious gift, and that I have been given another chance with it. I’m so incredibly lucky to have all these amazing people in my life. I re-made that promise to myself that I could never try to kill myself again and hurt them. I feel like I stayed alive for a reason and that I have to go on to do something great in life. As I am a qualified mental health support worker and studying a psychology degree, I want to work and volunteer in the mental health field. I want to help other people who suffer from mental illness and suicidal thoughts. Perhaps I can share my experience and save someone else’s life.

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