Where There Is Pain There Is Overcoming and Hope
My story of survival
This is the story of my bout with severe depression and a longing to be free from it. I want to warn you first that the story is true and that it may contain triggering words. Please read at your own risk. This doesn't end in tragedy. There is a silver lining in all this.
I remember vividly where I was, what my thought process was, and what happened. I remember losing my job, losing my place of residence , and thinking that I could not fix this mess I had created. I blamed myself, and did not try to find a solution. I found a means to an end. I thought that I was a burden that needed to pull myself away from my family, friends and people who cared about me. I just needed to feel at peace and I thought ending my life was the only solution. I didn't write a letter. I thought it was unnecessary. Why would a letter even matter? It wouldn't.
I walked out of the place I was currently living, got in my car and sped away. I didn't know where I was going. I just knew I had to go. I drove and drove and finally found an empty strip mall parking lot. I sat in my car thinking and thinking and just let go of everything and all of the attachments I had been holding on to.
There was a moment of hesitation before I revved the engine. I put on my seatbelt, stepped on the gas, and drove straight into a pole at 90 mph. My 1989 Silver Acura hit the pole, flew over a fence and landed upside down. When it landed I smelled smoke. My car was on fire. The glass from my windshield went straight into my eyes. I saw the flames from the hood of my vehicle. Why was I still alive? Why wasn't I successful? Those thoughts ran through my head as I pulled my seatbelt off and climbed out of the driver's side window. Before I chose to leave the vehicle I waited. I know it was under 30 seconds but 30 seconds longer and the flames would've consumed the vehicle and burned it to the ground with me inside it. Luckily the window completely shattered and was easy to escape out of.
I remember a woman on the other side of the fence reaching over the fence and pulling me away from the flames. There were ambulances, fire, and police everywhere. My mind was still in a fog. I watched my car in flames from behind the fence with all of my possessions. There were photos and memories but my life was still intact.
As I sat in the ambulance they asked me all sorts of questions. There were how and why and was this purposeful. I don't remember what I told the EMT's.
I actually felt angry at myself for being a failure once again. Who fails at purposeful death? The truth is lots of people and they live to regret their decision. They are in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives, paralyzed or unable to speak, yet they can write about their attempts with such clarity. They tell their story with conviction and truth. They survived and so did I. I am not going to tell you that the battle never ends. You take it day by day, moment by moment and you try your very best not to give in to those thoughts.
I am not going to say this was my 1st and only attempt at ending my life. It wasn't. I still tried. Numerous times, in different ways but they were not successful. I am also not going to tell you these thoughts go away. They linger in my mind constantly but I have not actually tried. I know that if I keep searching for the reason I am still here I will find it. Maybe it's to tell others that their battle is my battle and that it can be won. That there is triumph in the war you are fighting.
I beat the odds and survived a horrific accident that could've left me paralyzed, or dead. I would not be able to tell this story so boldly and truthfully.
Depression is a challenging disease to fight because it is so complex. There is no medicine that can cure it forever. It may alleviate it. It may alter your brain and make things okay for a while. You may feel happy and excited about life and then it'll hit you again. I have moments of weakness where I almost give in but I fight it.
I want to tell you that there are solutions that don't include ending your own life. There is no one on this Earth that want you to feel as if that is the only option. They would rather you talk about what's going on in your head and heart. They don't want to wake up to the phone call of your death. Keep on living for yourself and trust that your story only ends when you decide.
And for those with loved ones dealing with these thoughts and depression, please understand that we don't tell people sometimes because we don't want you to be burdened by our thoughts. We don't want to make you unhappy or lose your positive spirit. We often hide away because we are ashamed and we want to be able to help ourselves but sometimes that means giving up that part that wants to struggle and suffer alone. Coming to the end of our rope is not something we just do. "Living is easy, dying is harder."- Hamilton
I have to make the choice every day to keep living. It's the only choice I have.
Until next time,
Stay beautiful, know you are loved and valid and trust your journey. Keep being brave and courageous. Tell your story. Someone needs to hear it.