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Ninety per cent of people who engage in suicide-related behaviours are experiencing depression, other mental health issues, or have an addiction.

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Story 60

Today, September 10, 2008, is World Suicide Prevention Day, a chance to talk about something people don’t talk about often enough.

When I attempted suicide I was staying in my mom’s basement, temporarily, and I decided it was the final move. I was very depressed, and I didn’t talk about it at all. She didn’t want to hear or read about my disorder, and neither did my father. There was a language barrier. In addition, they had their own ideas of what bipolar was and didn’t want them challenged.

I had been depressed a long time and part of it was chronic, intrusive ruminating about suicide. Aching to do it, and having to talk myself down. It was a constant struggle in a bleak existence and it seemed a bottle of pills could get me out. I swallowed them all.

But with suicide, you’re not ending your pain, you’re giving it to someone else.

My mom and I had had problems and all, but I didn’t want my death to make her feel guilty. It was not her fault. It was nobody’s fault, solely my decision, in the end. Ten minutes after taking the pills I changed my mind and called 911. When the ambulance arrived I was losing consciousness, and I woke up three days later in the intensive care unit.  Later, I was transferred to another ward. Waking again, I found my mom at my side holding my arm, not looking me in the eye. She told me that they’d decided to boot me out of the house. She told me lies for reasons.

I stayed in the locked psych ward for five days, three of those in a suicide room. A padded room with no fixtures, no furniture, just a mattress and a non-rip able blanket I shivered under despite its thickness. There was a video camera in the top corner of the ceiling aimed down to take in the whole room, which was barely bigger than the mattress. I wondered who was watching. Just nurses?

Then I was gone, transferred to the unlocked ward and free to roam the institutional halls as I arranged new living arrangements on the outside. It took a while longer to recover from the depressive episode but I no longer felt the acute urge to die. I became glad to be alive as things changed.

The betrayal I felt after the attempt, facing stigma and a lack of education from my family, could have been prevented. We could have made safety contracts, shared information, and worked together. I should have sought help and psychoeducation. Instead my parents covered their ears and I didn’t speak, until it became a trauma for all of us.

That’s why we have to speak up, to tell our stories and reach out to those who are isolated. If you’ve been sort of thinking about doing it, read this first. If you feel an imminent urge to kill yourself, call 911 and/or go to an emergency room.

I found that suicide is an impulsive thing, and you can endure by dealing with those impulses until things change. It always changes. Want help? Call 1-800-SUICIDE or another of many resources. There is hope.

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