Suicide Almost Claimed My Life 13 Years Ago
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Did you know every 40 seconds across the world someone ends their own life? If you add that up it's close to one million people every year.
Angel here, and it is super hard to admit 13 years ago, I nearly made a decision that could have changed the lives of my family and friends forever.
It was the weekend of St. Patrick's Day in March of 2007. My marriage was in a very dark place. We had lost our daughter Kathern a few years earlier and I had just moved into a new house. Parker and Braden were both under the age of three and my granddaddy had passed away in January.
My heart was completely broken after my daughter and granddaddy died. I remember crying alone for many days. I never really opened up completely to anyone. I would mention them and say I missed them but I never really dug deep into the issues.
Our marriage was at possibly one of the worst times over the almost 10 years we were together and I was also not in the greatest of health. I was having migraines constantly which stemmed from stress.
Most people who know me know I am a pretty happy person most of the time. I wasn't handling anything well at this point. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had all that I could take and I decided I couldn't go on anymore.
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.
Thankfully, my story ended much differently than it could have. My parents contacted local authorities who rushed to my house and were able to rescue me. I am grateful for those people anytime I am reminded of what could have been.
Both my parents lived in a different town and drove to be by my side. 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 last year 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. 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 was able to work with a counselor after it all happened and talk out what had brought me so low. I realized how I had pictured a suicidal person looking or being like was in fact wrong. Suicide is not a respecter of persons. You can find yourself in the middle of a storm with no clue how you got there or how or if you even want to get out.
In the place I was and what happened didn't mean I loved my children any less. It didn't mean I was selfish. It didn't mean I was a weak individual. It didn't mean I didn't care about my parents or friends. I was not mentally well. I hadn't taken care of myself.
Today, I choose to be open about a time in my life when my mental health was in a terrible place. I share not for a pity party, for people to feel sorry for me, or even for praise. I tell my story in hopes that even one person reading these words today will be able to recognize a struggle in their own life and say I choose life, I choose my faith, my family, my friends, and so much more living for years to come.
I find myself today looking at my son Parker preparing to graduate high school and think I may have missed this.
I smile as Braden gets ready for high school football practice and shares he is dressing varsity and my throat has a lump imagining not getting to share this with him.
I listen as Tucker screams from downstairs playing games and shudder at the thought he may not have gotten to be here. And my heart shatters thinking the world would have never known Charlotte and her contagious laughter and her sweet but mighty hugs. God gave me another chance at life. He brought me a husband that loved him so much he could love me the way I needed to be even on my worst days. And most of all God allowed me to forgive myself because of his Grace and forgiveness that overflow.
Please also join me in remembering my niece Stephanie. At just 32-years-old she took her own life leaving behind a very young son. She was beautiful and kind. I always loved it when she would call me to just tell me she loved me. She was older than I am but always called me for advice and just to talk. I think of her often and sometimes when I am in her hometown I will run into people who tell me I look so much like her. She is so very missed.
As always thank you from the very bottom of my heart for allowing me to share my life and my story.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please help the get help. You can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. There are also local resources available like the Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Southwestern Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition.
The pandemic has caused many people to feel alone, to struggle in so many ways. The suicide rates are higher. Please always be alert.
Sobering Facts about Suicide
- It's part of a mental health emergency.
- 1 in 15 American adults suffer from depression but the good news is that 80-90% of people respond positively to treatment if depression is correctly diagnosed.
- Older people are more likely to die from suicide. Suicide is most common among people between the ages of 45 and 64.
- Men complete suicides more often. Still, women are more likely to make an attempt.
- Early detection is key. That's why, as WHO points out, "prevention efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact."
The clock is ticking.
- Just about every 12 minutes someone kills themselves in America.