Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: Suicide Almost Cost Me My Life 15 Years Ago
It's World Mental Health Day. Fifteen years ago suicide almost took my life. Today I'm thankful I can talk about it in hopes of saving another beautiful soul.
THE STIGMA BEHIND ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
There has always been a stigma that hangs over talking about mental health issues. Whether you're struggling with internal feelings or life is falling apart all around you telling others you're not handling it well seems to be a NO-NO.
For instance, think about it let's say you're at the grocery store and you've had a horrible day and you run into a friend they ask "How are you?" most of the time we all respond with "I'm good" when you are most certainly anything but that. It doesn't seem like the time to unpack your baggage on an unsuspecting friend who was just making small talk right?! Well, it's ok to say you're not ok. In fact, make it a point to get better at normalizing it.
MY HIDDEN STRUGGLE NEARLY KILLED ME 15 YEARS AGO
Most people know me as the perky, bubbly, most of the time happy girl. I am here to tell you even Susie Sunshine has dark days. They may not happen often but when they come they are the darkest of dark and they can bury you like no other.
I remember it very well it was the winter of 2007. Our family had just bought a beautiful new home and from the outside looking things were perfection. Truth be told our home life was as far as you could get from the good.
My marriage was crumbling. The worst it had been and that's bad in many years. Neither of us was handling our recent losses very well and we didn't know how to communicate it and I'm not sure either of us really wanted to.
I had lost my beloved Granddaddy in January of that year and just a few years earlier we lost our little girl to SIDS, not to mention saving my oldest son from a near drowning. I had compartmentalized everything in a nice, neat place where I would secretly go sometimes alone(neat in my mind but destructive as could be). If you stopped me in the store or called to check on me you would have no clue I was just one more trauma away from disaster.
I was holding on by a string literally. I remember it like it was yesterday. On this particular day I had all that I could take. I didn't honestly plan it. It was not something I had sat around and thought about. I just came to the conclusion that my life and the lives of those around me would be better if I was gone.
Here's how I can recall it;
I asked my husband to take the boys with him that day and when he left I sat down with a journal to write letters to the people I loved to say "GOODBYE." The tears seem to come faster with every word I wrote. First to my momma, then my dad, and so on it got to the point I had to stop because I was sobbing so much I couldn't see. Still, I continued. I had come to terms my family and friends were better off if I wasn't on earth anymore. Looking back it breaks me to think I had gotten to that place. I grabbed the bottle and the rest is a bit of a blur. The last thing I remember before waking up in the ICU Unit of our hospital was calling my mom and dad to tell them I loved them. My momma screamed and cried and my daddy begged me not to get off the phone.
I thank God every single day this was not the end of my story. He had other plans for my life and a beautiful comeback.
You see I didn't want to die that day. I didn't and I still don't. None of us have to have it all together. I just didn't know how or who to ask for help. I was embarrassed and felt like I had to have it all together. The world is really bad about making mothers feel like they should be the rock of the family. That's all fine and well until we're not. Everyone has a breaking point but instead of getting there we should be able to feel safe and comfortable enough to talk it out, so we can heal. Everyone should have an opportunity to heal in a non-judgemental environment. It looks different for everyone too. I deal different than the next person and that's ok.
A TOKEN TO REMEMBER THAT DAY
Remember the goodbye journal? I had almost forgotten all these years later about the letters I wrote to those people I loved. My daddy had not. One day while visiting him three years ago he walked into his room and came out holding a small red journal. He had tears in his eyes and he asked me "do you know what this is?" I gasped knowing exactly what it was.
He had kept it for 12 years. I took it home with me that day. I have never opened it or read those letters. I don't want to. I don't need to. I have since healed from the pain of the past and with faith and love from the Lord and my family I have moved on from that day. Seeing the outside of the journal is picture enough of a life I no longer live and what God has provided me with his unconditional love.
I can't imagine not living the life given to me. This weekend I spent time with my family at Holiday World. This morning we all sat in church together. I witnessed my husband honored as a pastor in our church. What if I wasn't here to see all of this?! It wouldn't be. My two youngest children would have never existed and I can't imagine the world without their laughter, their spunk, and their zest for life.
Thinking of my older boys growing up without their momma crushes my soul. Thankfully, they never have to know what that feels like because momma is right here.
Today, I share my story, not for pity, or praise but in hopes, it will reach even one person. I pray if you're reading this and you're struggling talk to someone. Ask for help. Choose life! Choose YOU! Don't be afraid to share your struggle. YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE! You are so very loved!
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please help the get help. You can call 988. There are also local resources available like the Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Southwestern Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition.
CHECK ON YOUR FRIENDS
Just because a person is always posting inspiration on social media doesn't mean they're fine. Do a welfare check. Better yet, do a FRIEND CHECK. Don't text, call, or show up on their doorstep. Let them know you care. You never know it may be the thing that helps them say, I'M NOT OK AND I NEED HELP!