U and I Are In Suicide!
There will be many blogs I will share on mental health along with the struggles and tools to find peace. The first is on suicide as the only struggle in life that is truly irreversible is the one that ends the struggles of life.
It must also be noted that I am not as a psychologist or hold any degree on mental health although I have taken training in mental health and have guided a few people through suicide. What I share is drawn from my personal experiences with suicide and the knowledge I have gained from a time I felt no hope was possible. If you are suicidal or contemplating it – Please seek professional assistance immediately.
The Journey into Darkness
My journey through suicide starts with being an arrogant and able young man who grew up thinking suicide was an option only for the weak. It was easy to have this attitude as I thought I had it all, a good job, good friends, money, a beautiful wife, a baby on the way and my first house. What more could a person ask for?
It wasn’t until my life was completely destroyed in a fire that left me with ‘total body burns’ (as the doctor’s label it) that I came to realize anyone can be suicidal and life can sometimes be cruel!
This mental despair began as I lied in a hospital isolation room, month after month. My body was so severely burned that the scars and wounds left me a stranger to myself. I was immobile, in pain, constant pain. Highly medicated and addicted to the meds. My bed was my bathroom. My food came through a tube connected to my stomach. I breathed from air pumped into my lungs. My life was now more helpless than a baby as I was completely dependent on everyone, for everything, as I spent my days alone in isolation. Unable to speak I found myself trapped in my own head. What a jail one’s own head can be. It is here I played the game “if I could kill myself – how would I do it?”
“Everything Sucks & Nothing Was Going To change”
I would lie in bed reliving the fired as it was all I could do. Each time searching for the answer to the eternal question “why me?” It was if this one question was screaming in my head, over and over again! The answer never came which just frustrated me more and made me angrier. This desperation to find answers turned to depression which was compounded by anxiety. The battle within my own head left me in a spot where I was convinced “’everything sucks and nothing was going to change”, and I was correct!!!
Everything did suck! Isolation is almost equivalent to solitary confinement – but worse. Being trapped in my head is like being in a jail with no bars or guards. My body didn’t move but instead rewarded me with constant, excruciating pain that the meds barely dulled and served more to caused severe addictions then relief. To be that useless, physically suffering that much, mentally screaming for just a moments rest, stuck in isolation, addicted to multiple meds, unable to even do something as simple as breath – I can’t think of a worse situation to be in and for me – everything did suck!!!
Not only did ‘everything suck’ but I was convinced ‘nothing was going to change!’ I lied completely immobile and helpless for 9 months. In 9 months’, nothing did change. I didn’t see the ounce of muscle I gained each week. I didn’t move my legs or arms, rollover or sit up or feed myself or go to the bathroom or get dressed or anything. It took 2 months just to be able to breath on my own and even than I wasn’t allowed to eat for the doctor’s fear of me chocking. In my mind I was going to live my entire life in some extended care facility, having my every need looked after. I saw myself as helpless, hopeless and useless!
Yes, it was that bad.
Changing The Question
Then one day something did change. It was 9 months into my journey when that ounce of muscle I gained every week added up to rolling over for the first time. This was something I never thought I would ever do again. I was so certain I would never rollover again that I fought my therapist who were there to help me gain this function. After all, why would I try to do something that is never going to happen? It was in this moment I realized that I had been lying to myself. Although the medical staff all reassured me, I would walk, go home, feed myself etc. I didn’t believe it. In some ways, not only did I not believe it but I didn’t want it to happen either. It was like my happy place was to be unhappy.
When I rolled over something happened, I didn’t expect or even want. That something was to realize that it wasn’t the medical staff’s reassurance I would get better that was a lie. No, it was my disbelief that I could get better that was the lie. I now call this ‘a false barrier’. I was putting up barriers in my path to getting better by telling myself there was no point even trying because it wouldn’t make any difference. Not only was I putting up these barriers but I refused to even test them to see if they were legitimate things I would never do again or overcome. Because I refused to even test this belief made the barriers false as I really didn’t know if that understanding was correct.
At this moment, something miraculous happened. That something was I stopped asking ‘why me!’ In its place I started asking a new question. A question I had never considered. That new questions was “what else can I do that I told myself wasn’t possible?” I’ve now shortened the question to “what can I do for me?” I still ask this question as I’ve found it helps me with all life’s challenges!
This new question did not instantaneously take away my journey, my pain, my anguish or my suffering. Instead it put me on a path to finding happiness, ability and recovery. It did this as “why me” is an anchor that holds you to the past, to an event(s) you wish never happened. The thing is, you can’t change the past. You can only learn from it or suffer in it! “What can I do for me” no longer holds you to the past but now allows you to look forward. It also doesn’t erase the past – it allows you to incorporate the past as you move into a future!
Finding Strength By Admitting Weakness
It was this new question that had me open my eyes and realize – ‘not everything did suck’. Once I saw a future (that was still to be defined) my eyes were now able to see I had multiple people fighting for me to get better. I had doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians, friends, family, my wife and even complete strangers all fighting for me. Not only that but I had a baby girl who deserved a dad. A dad, I wasn’t living up to. One more way I was failing myself as my baby girl did nothing wrong to me. It was me doing things wrong to her by not being the dad she had.
My experience is that sometimes the hardest part of seeing hope is being open to seeing that people actually do love you and care for you. If you feel that no one loves you or cares for you then it becomes easier to consider ending it all. I have tried hard to find someone who is completely forgotten and not cared for and I have not found a single soul who is completely alone. Rest assured they feel alone but it usually is because they create a scenario where they can be alone. Even so, outside of that created scenario, they have those that care for them. The question is, are you willing to allow those that care for you – to care for you? It also means that you probably have done things to hurt these people and they probably have done things in retaliation to strike back. As long as you refuse their love, it also means you’ll see their guidance as bad things because “they don’t understand what you are going through.” It may even be interpreted as attempts to hurt you. These beliefs are ways anger separates you from anything good in your life. For if anger can take away the good in your life it is free to thrive within you and from you.
The best way I can explain this is when I felt lost and constantly asking “why me?” my eyes were looking inwards, examining everything I didn’t like about my life. When I started to see hope again, accidentally my eyes turned out and they saw something completely different. I saw not only hope but people that wanted me and cared for me. People to fight for at a time I didn’t feel like fighting for myself. What I truly saw was something new – ‘not everything did suck and things were changing’.
Another thing about ‘nothing is going to change’ you need to understand is life is all about change. You can’t stop changing even if you tried. All you can do with change is have a hand in its outcome! What kind of hand are you having in your change?
It is because we all have people that care for us, sometimes even complete strangers, that created this title ‘U and I are in suicide’ because not everything sucks – you are not alone! Suicide is not a joke. It’s very really and the anguish along with it is real too, and that’s OK. It’s OK to feel lost from time to time. There’s not a person in this world that has not had things occur to them they wish never happened. You can’t be alive and not have hardship occur. Hardship is a sign of life. So then, why would you allow a sign of life to stop you from living?
If you are willing to start moving out of this hardship by asking ’what can I do for me’, by embracing those that are wanting to support you (even though they completely suck at knowing how to support you), by looking to the future you will find this will take you on a new and better journey. Where the journey goes is unknown but it is better to journey to the future then to be anchored to the past!
When I asked silently ‘if I could kill myself – how would I do it?’ I can honestly say that I did not see this outcome. In 5 years, I went from a completely helpless, hopeless and useless person to a motivation leader. You might not believe in God, and that’s fair, but it was nothing short of a miracle to transform me from that helpless person to whom I am now. The transformation was so great that if you could send me back in time so I could stop my fire from ever happening. I wouldn’t take the offer. I would happily relive all that despair again provided I had this outcome. That darkness I lived through has not taught me so much it has become a light to guide me to being a better person with a bright future!
May you also find the same hope!
Note: if you are truly lost and want to end it all. Find someone you trust or a professional and tell them these words. “I am suicidal”. It’s not easy but admitting things suck is the start. I bet you will find the reaction you get is that of caring. Also be prepared that not everyone knows how to react to those words. They may not say what you want them to say. That’s ok. Their job is to provide a miracle sentence that will take away all your pain. It is to be there for you as you seek professional help to a way out. If you truly feel there is no one you can turn to call, your local suicide help line. I bet you will find a stranger there that cares about you.
Love and respect,