The raw story about the night I almost gave up.
If you know me or have followed my journey here on Vocal or via social media, you know that I struggle with multiple mental health illnesses, and I’m doing okay right now. For most of you, it probably seems like I’ve been okay for most of my life. Now, if you REALLY know me, and most don’t, you’d know that I’ve thought about committing suicide more than once. As mental health awareness month comes to an end, I felt inspired to share a story with you that not many know.
It was 2013. I was working in a retail shop at a local mall. My firstborn son was almost 1. He, his dad and I lived with my mom across town. It was pretty common for me to work the closing shift, and on this particular night, it took forever to close the store so I didn’t get out of there until about 10:30 pm. I was exhausted, empty, and deeply hidden in my depression and disordered thoughts.
My typical drive home required crossing the Fremont Bridge, one of the highest in Oregon. If you know me, you know that I have a mild fear of bridges, especially high ones. But that night, I wasn’t afraid of the bridge. I WANTED to reach it, and when I did, my whole world stopped turning.
At the middle of the bridge, I pulled onto the shoulder and turned my car off. I just sat there in silence for a moment, a car passing here and there. Eventually, I got out of my car and walked around it to the railing of the bridge. It was dark, the only light coming from the city. The water below was black; it looked peaceful. I stepped closer to the railing and put both of my hands on it, leaning over.
Just as my foot was lifting from the ground, I felt my phone vibrate in my jacket pocket. To this day, I don’t know what force convinced me to answer it, but I did. ANd I am so thankful. It was my son’s dad. “Hey, Mikah and I miss you and were wondering when you were going to be home.,” he said. I stepped away from the railing, silent for a moment. Then I simply said “I’m on my way.”
When I got back in my car, I took a shaky breath and broke down into a puddle of tears. I sobbed into the sleeves of my jacket for a few minutes before putting my car in drive and finishing my commute home, to my son, to my family. To my life.
At that moment, I knew I would never leave this planet willingly. Even when the pain is unbearable, because I know it can get there again, and it feels like there’s nothing left to hope for, I will always keep moving forward. If not for myself, for my now two kids, my husband, my parents, my siblings. For all those that love. Because they don’t deserve the pain of mourning my loss.
Unfortunately, not everyone faced with the opportunity to commit suicide is able to turn it down and say no. EVery 40 seconds, someone, somewhere loses their battle against their inner demons. Every 40 seconds, someone loses all hope and chooses the last chance at peace they can think of.
So, the next time someone reaches out to you, please LISTEN. You could be their last hope. Don't let someone you love lose their battle.
40 seconds, that’s all it takes for another life to be lost. Help them choose to stay.
I choose to stay.