Tag Archive | suicide

She Is So Worthy Of Saving

Mary sobbed uncontrollably as she looped the flimsy rope over the ceiling beam in her bedroom.  She was a small girl and the rope should be strong enough to hold her, she thought.  Her heart clenched tight with anguish.  Crushing pain racked her little body.   She just had to push away the chair she was standing on, and hopefully the pain will stop.  The pain will stop, it had to!

She just wanted the pain to stop.

She couldn’t handle it anymore, she hurt so much.

She didn’t want to hurt anymore.

She didn’t want to feel alone anymore.

She didn’t want to feel like a failure anymore.   She didn’t want to feel her father’s disappointment in her anymore.   The pressures of being 12 years old were so overwhelming.  She could never live up to what everybody wanted of her.

She just wanted to die.

Good bye Daddy.  Good bye Mommy.  Good bye little brother Jay.  She cried even harder thinking about her family.  They wouldn’t miss her anyway.

“Mary! Dinner!”  Mary heard her mom calling her for dinner.  She collapsed into a bawling heap on the ceramic floor.  Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Please help me!

Mary’s next attempt at suicide was when she was 16 years old.  She left school in the middle of the day, took the bus home and overdosed on a bottle of pills she had been saving, waiting for the right time.  She was hospitalized and discharged after a few weeks.

At 19 years old, Mary went away to University.  She had been so happy the summer before her university days were to begin, and so ready to set out on her own.  Her life as an adult was upon her, she was ecstatic and so very optimistic about her future.  She had a wonderful man in her life who adored her.  Her grades were among the honors, and she was attending one of the top universities in the country.  She was young, and beautiful, bubbling with life and vitality.  Her parents were supporting her through university.  Everything was good and right in her life.

Except it wasn’t.

She had hoped that she had outgrown the angst and pain of her teenage years.  She had thought those days were behind her.

She was wrong.

The pressures of being alone in a foreign city without her loved ones intensified her feelings of being alone.  There were high expectations of her to perform and achieve beyond her successful parents’ accomplishments.  The deep abyss of pain began to gnaw at her insides until she could not hold it in any longer.  She began to cut her arms to relieve some of the pain inside.  Before long, she was suicidal and had to be returned to her parents’ home and then hospitalized.

She was finally diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder with Borderline Personality Disorder.  She was treated and discharged with a plan to continue treatment and community support.   She cheerfully wished everyone a hearty farewell, and happily skipped out of the hospital with nary a backward glance.

At 2 in the morning, four days after her discharge from the hospital, Mary called a friend she had recently bonded with from the hospital, sobbing that she couldn’t handle it anymore.  She abruptly hung up and her friend could not get a hold of her after.  After repeated attempts of calling her cellphone, with no response, the friend knew she had to find a way to reach her.  In a panic, the friend called the local directory, and guessed the names of her parents which her home phone number could be listed under.  Luckily, the friend was able to reach Mary’s father and asked him to check on Mary.  They found Mary overdosed and unconscious, but thankfully still alive. 

Mary’s parents, though educated and loved her very much, floundered in their effort to understand and support her in her illness.  They couldn’t understand her depression, because her life was full and advantageous compared to so many others who were less fortunate.  She had everything anyone could want.  Their attempts to raise her spirits and motivate her, only added to her frustration and feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood.

I see so much of my younger self in Mary; Her feelings, her experiences, her attempts, and her struggle to live and die. 

I wish I could tell her that it will get better. 

I wish I could tell her that those awful feelings of despair and wanting to die will go away and never come back.  

I wish I could tell her that there is a magic little pill that makes everything right and happy again.

But the truth is, I can’t say with any kind of conviction that things will get better, not when I am struggling everyday with those same feelings of hopelessness.

I can only tell her that she will learn to cope better with the illness, learn to cope better with the feelings, with the pain, and with the intruding thoughts that make her feel so small and want to die.

I can tell her that there will be extreme lows in her mood, and they may not be preventable every time, but she can learn to recover quicker from those lows, so that this miserable burden becomes easier to bear.

I can her that there will not only be lows, but highs as well, because life can still be enjoyed when she has good days, weeks, months, or even years without any hint of darkness or despair.  It can happen.

Depression is treatable. 

Mary is now only 19 years old, still so young.  There is still so much she can do, still so much of life yet to experience.  Even with this mental illness, and the dismal outlook that inherently comes with it, she can still have a full and complete life.  Yes, there will be dark days, but there is help and support to brace and carry her through those difficult days.  There are people who love her, and care for her, even though she feels unworthy.

I want to tell Mary that it is okay to ask for help, and accept that help when she can no longer cope with the illness.  In fact, it is preferable that she reach out for help, rather than succumb to the darkness in isolation.  I want Mary to hear me tell her that she is so worthy of saving, because she has so much light and love to offer the world.

Stay strong Mary.

You will laugh and enjoy the light again soon.  And there are still many hours of twerking yet to be done!

Post script:

Mary is a real person and her story is true.  I have changed her name and called her “Mary” to give her anonymity and respect her privacy.

“Making Your Way In The World Today Takes Everything You Got”


Making your way in the world today takes everything you got;

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

Theme song lyrics from “Cheers”, American Television Sitcom 1982-1993


For some of us, there is no taking a break from all our worries, because the worries are inside us, inside our heads, wreaking havoc inside our minds.

A reader asked me recently if I carry on in the hope that the Depression lifts.

I can only reply that I can only do my best on any given day.

I carry on, not in the hope that the depressions lifts.  I carry on for the exquisite rays of light that occasionally pierces through the darkness, and for the moments of love and happiness that brighten my world now and then.  I have seen the splendour and magnificence of beauty and joy.  That is what keeps me going.

Is that enough?

Who knows what’s on the other side life?  Maybe we take the pain with us if we die while in the grips of despair.   Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony, committing suicide because of the need to stop the pain, only to writh in that pain into perpetuity?

Everyone has ups and downs.  No one is in perpetual bliss.  Even the brightest flames diminish in the dampening rain.

For people with Depression however, the downs are much deeper and darker than for others.  The rain becomes a torrential hurricane complete with tsunami tidal wave.

I have learned to ride the emotional coaster better, by being aware of the pattern of ups and downs.  It helps to have an arsenal of coping tools in my self-management toolbox to help me get through the lowest times; everything from spiritual healing to comedy relief and everything in between.  I have also learned that it’s O.K. reach out and ask for help.

I used to question what it was all for, the constant struggle that is life.

Survival?

But why?

Procreation?

I have procreated.  Does that mean I am done?

What’s the point?

According to Oprah Winfrey;


“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”


For me, for now, I am the person that I am; faulty, flawed and imperfect, trying to embrace with gratitude every small moment of joy I am given, before I am drawn under again by the next wave of darkness that hits.

I don’t make excuses for the way that I am anymore, and I don’t apologize either, for the sudden tears, or the occasional need for a small retreat from the world.  I don’t make excuses for needing to take medications to stabilize my mental health.  I don’t make excuses for needing support to get me through sinkholes in the road.

Do I want to evolve into the “complete person” I was intended to be? photo 3 (7)

What does that even mean?

Or maybe I have evolved, and this is the complete person I am intended to be this go round.  Imperfectly perfect.

I can accept that, or, I can continue searching, discontent in mind, body and spirit, straining and craving to change into some intangible “complete” entity I am told I should aspire to.

There is only one answer that makes sense right now.

“… grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time…”

~Reinhold Niebuhr

“I Could have Been A Better Friend” ~ The Mantra of Survivor Guilt

Survivor guilt; a visceral animal that silently gnaws at a survivor after a loved one has committed suicide.

After the fact, the survivor looks back and agonizes over what they could have done to help;

jan-jun 2012 496

Photo Credit: Sandi Yee

“I could’ve been a better friend,

I could’ve been a better sister (brother, mother, father…)

I could’ve done more to show that I cared,

I could’ve done more to help if I had known.”

As someone who has attempted suicide, who has been immersed in darkness and doom, there is really nothing that anyone can do once the decision has been made.

Suicide prevention and intervention are at best temporary measures to stall a tidal wave.  It’s a strip of bandage on a gushing wound.

There is really nothing that can be done to prevent a determined suicide short of putting the person under suicide watch.

When the Depression comes, it is all consuming.   There is no logic, no love, no light, no sense of right or wrong, and no sense of up or down, there is only abysmal pain and despair.  Nothing anyone does is going to make any difference to that mental state of mind.  All those promises and contracts made in therapy not to hurt yourself, or to call someone when you feel that you will hurt yourself, those are the farthest things from the mind in the grips of mental anguish.

My attempts to commit suicide were not successful (else I would be dead and not writing this article), not because of what someone else did to stop me or to help me.  They were feeble and ineffectual attempts because I was young and ignorant.  I didn’t know any better.  I didn’t know how to kill myself properly, and I bungled it.  How totally inadequate of me.

The next time will be the last time, because now I know what to do.  Now I am older and wiser.  I know my plan is fail-proof.  It is lethal.  I am not young nor am I ignorant anymore.  Suicide is no longer my cry for help, it is because I want to die.  My plan can be executed regardless of external intervention or prevention.  It’s just a matter of when.  My husband knows this, he knows my plan.

So when I see all the awareness on Suicide Prevention the powers that be are propagating,

I am not convinced.

I applaud the good intentions, the efforts, commitment and desire to help.

But I see reality a little differently.

Image Credit: afsp.org

Honestly, do you really think that removing potential poisons, ropes and sharp objects are going be effective in preventing anything, if the person has made their decision to commit suicide?

Delusion!

I see this as merely a coping tool for friends and family to feel less helpless, to have something they can do, anything they can do, to help.

wrist cut lines

Photo Credit: Sandi Yee

A dear friend of mine was completely ignorant that her beloved teenage daughter was hiding a razor blade in her room.

For a $1.50 at Walmart, anyone can buy a blade knife, complete with small plastic handle so no need to worry it will become too slippery to handle when drenched in blood.

This tormented teenager cut herself for months, and no one had any idea that she had been doing it.

To this day, the parents do not know.

I am the only one she trusted enough to tell.

That razor could have easily sliced through vital blood vessels if she was so inclined.  She would have had privacy to do so, because in our society, we give our teenagers the right to close their bedroom door and shut out the world.

Robin Williams hung himself, while his wife was in the house.  It takes at least 5 to 15 minutes of asphyxiation to die by hanging, unless the neck is broken immediately.  He had not been on suicide watch.  He was found dead.

The suicidal mind just wants the pain and suffering to end.  No one would know unless they had cried out for help, unless the warning signs were so obvious that they could not be ignored (for instance; stumbling out of their bedroom and announcing to a house full of family and friends that they have taken a bottle of pills; this actually happened with a family member).

Even then, everyone has their own lives to live, their own burdens to bear.  They cannot be expected to sit on suicide watch for their mentally unstable sister, daughter, friend…

My doctor told me to go to the hospital if I feel like I am going to kill myself.

I just have to shake my head at that.

I have lived with this condition long enough to know that feeling like I want to kill myself is part of my daily life.

If I am going to kill myself, I probably will.  And it’s not going to be with sharp objects, or poisonous substances, or the ghastly rope.

Would my friends and family have survivor guilt?

Probably.

Would they regret that they didn’t do more to prevent it?

Probably.

Could they have done anything to prevent it?

Probably not.

And no.  I am not going to kill myself today.

My Guardian Angels Wear Fur Coats

The first time my dogs saved my life, I knew I would forever need one in my life.

Suicide is always in my mind, a way out should my world gets too overwhelming, and my reasons to live just don’t make sense anymore.

Panda and Cubby

Panda and Cubby

On this one particular day, I was driving with both my dogs in the car; Cubby, a silver/gray poodle cross, and Panda, a lab collie cross. We were on our way home from somewhere, I don’t remember much from that day, the trigger, the reasons, or the people. The only things that stand out in my mind from that day were the intense feelings of despair and pain coursing through my body. They were so powerful, so fierce, I could barely drive, or see through my tears. I just wanted to stop the pain.

I knew there was a bridge ahead.  The urge to drive right off the bridge into the strong currents of the river raged strong. To sink into oblivion and leave everything behind, the fears, the pain, the hopelessness.

I imagined the scene; the car filling with water, my acceptance of taking water into my mouth, my nose, my lungs, and the peace I would have with my body sinking into depths of the murky river. The End.

I felt my puppy’s tongue lick at my teary cheek.  Then the image of my dogs flashed through my mind, of taking them into the water with me, drowning with me. Except they weren’t calm like me. They were terrified, struggling, pawing at anything they could get at to keep their little heads above the water.  Whining.  Yelping.  Their trusting eyes full of fear, begging me to help them, to get them out, to save them.  They didn’t want to die.

Oh My God!  What was I doing? These dogs were my beloved pets, adopted into my life, and loved as if they were my own children!

I pulled off the road and sat in the car, stunned at what had just happened in my head. It was real, the thoughts, the feelings, the impromptu scheme of drowning myself as I got closer to the bridge. It wasn’t the thought of dying that shook me. What shook me to my core was that I would kill my dogs. That I would inflict fear and death on them, as the last thing they would experience from me. How horrible to do so. I could never kill them. They deserved their life. They trusted me. They followed me. I am their mom, their alpha, they would go anywhere with me.

I could not lead them into suicide with me. I had to take them home.

“I am not drowning myself today. I am not killing my puppies. I love them too much to take them with me.” I said to myself over and over again.

I sat in the car for a long time, sobbing out my relief at what I didn’t do, what didn’t happen. They didn’t know why I was crying, or why I held them so tightly. They were content to just let me.

I took them home and we lived another day.

Thinking back to that day still brings chills up my spine. Even though it never actually occurred, the images of my dogs struggling for their lives as the car filled up with water are still vivid in my mind. I didn’t take my own life that day because I didn’t want to take their lives as collateral damage. They saved me that day, just as surely as if they had dragged me by the neck and doggy paddled me safely to shore.

HPIM8209

Panda 1995-2012

The two dogs from that day have since passed, and still I miss their presence by my side. But I am grateful for the time I had with them. They kept me present, gave their unconditional love and devotion in times when I felt like life was unbearable.  They stayed by my side when I was buried deep in the dark hole that is my bane in this life.  They kept me grounded by giving me their bodies to hold onto when I felt myself drowning.  Without intention or plan, they came into my life and became my therapy dogs.

Thank you, my girls, thank you.

Part II ~ “What does she have to be depressed about?”


“What does she have to be depressed about?”DSCF3092

This comment always gets under my skin!

Yes, I get this comment a lot.

The first time someone is told of my depression, this comment is usually their first reaction.

People don’t make ignorant comments like this to those with other health conditions, such as oh…cancer. That would be highly callous and crude.  Cancer survivors get kudos and sympathy, encouragement and toasts to their intestinal fortitude, for coming face to face with death and beating it back to its gate, and live to tell about it.

But for people like me, who look at death every day as a possibility, who plan out each and every detail of how, when and where to commit suicide, we get told to get over it, to think about something else, change our perspective, keep busy so that we don’t give ourselves the time to be depressed.

The worst of all is the outright invalidation. We are told straight to our face by well-meaning friends and family;

“You don’t have depression; there’s nothing for you to be depressed about.
You have a good life!”

Can you imagine saying those things to someone diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, who is looking at death`s door only a few feet away;

“You don’t have cancer, you’re just losing weight.

Think about something else, that will make the pain go away.
Stay busy, don’t give your mind or body the time to have cancer.”

WTF!

This is why so many people hide their depression; the stigma, the invalidation, the lack of understanding, the ignorance with which people view this illness.

I did NOT ask for this illness, my body created it all on its own, without my consent, without my consult.

Depression is not caused by personal weakness.  It is a serious illness, medically acknowledged, and medically treated.  I cannot will it away.  I cannot wish it away.  I cannot meditate it away. Nor can I simply change my perspective; shift my paradigm, and POOF! I am healed.

who symbol

Image courtesy: World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2012, that globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

My doctor once told me that depression has a fatality rate of 1%. For every 100 people who have depression, 10 of those will attempt suicide, and of the 10 people who attempt suicide, 1 will succeed. Based on this fatality rate and the WHO publication of 350 million people who suffer from depression, then 1% of successful suicides would work out to more than 3.5 million people.  That is four times the number of people as published by the WHO earlier this year, quoting a little over 800,000 people, who die from suicide every year.

I don’t know where Dr. W. got his statistics from, but it was enough to stop me on my tracks and make me pull back on my ideas and plans for killing myself.  Holy *%*&! Those are real numbers, with real people behind them. This illness is real, with real consequences.

I am not depressed.  I have Depression.

Laughing in the Face of Depression

Goodnight O Captain, My Captain; A Salute to Robin Williams

Robin Williams Facebook Profile Photo

Robin Williams Facebook Profile Photo

“Carpe diem…He seized the day and made his life extraordinary.”

It is said that laughter is the best medicine. Even fake laughing can release endorphins in the body, our natural feel good chemicals.

So what happened with our beloved actor and comedian, Robin Williams? One the funniest men of our time, succumbed to apparent suicide.

The media have reported that he wrestled with the depression beast for many years, in addition to alcohol and substance abuse. He sought help throughout his entire career, in and out of rehab. So, if a man who has everything, success, fame, fortune, talent, the admiration of millions, laughter and love in his personal life, if that man can succumb to the darkness of depression, what hope is there for the rest of us who struggle daily with our own demons of darkness?

In my opinion, as someone who has lived with depression my entire life, Robin Williams did not lose his battle. He gave a great fight, and eventually he got tired and tagged out.  That is by no means losing.  He lived many good years. With the time that he had on Earth, he touched countless lives with his work, his words, and his gift of laughter.  He has left, yes, but while he was here, his presence was truly noted, his footprints clearly embedded in the sands of time.

He was here and he left his mark.  He lived, he loved, he most certainly laughed, he gave his best, brought someone some happiness, and left this world a little better place because he was here. (Adapted from Beyoncé’s 2011 song, I was Here).

We, the masses, can only dream to accomplish as much.

Many will say, “Such a shame to lose someone so talented to depression.”

But I choose to say, “Look at how much he accomplished despite his depression”.

What an inspiration, to see how high his star soared, even as the darkness threatened.

So, we must continue to fight the fight, continue to beat back our own beast of darkness to the best of our ability. We each have much to give before the darkness overwhelms us, and must do our best on the days that we can. Because God knows there will days that we can’t.

Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society as he encourages his students to constantly look at things from a new perspective.

Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society as he encourages his students to constantly look at things from a new perspective.

Robin Williams’ voice echos in my mind, from his 1989 movie Dead Poet’s Society, as he encourages his students to always look at things from a new perspective and change the world with words and ideas. But what resounds most of all is this line:

“Carpe Diem. Seize the day… Make your lives extraordinary.” (Dead Poet’s Society, 1989).  He seized the day and made his life extraordinary.

I challenge you to do the same.

Dedicated to Robin Williams 1951 -2014

Original Publication: August 27, 2014 SandiYee.Hubpages.com