For Anthony – Suicide Prevention: Part 2

As I watched my cousin, Anthony Noland, go live last week on Facebook talking about his experience with mental illness and suicide, I couldn’t help but remember what I went through. He wanted to share his experiences so others would know they’re not alone and that there are options other than suicide. His bravery inspired me to be brave enough to share what I went through as well. So here goes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PART 1 BELOW

For Anthony – Suicide Prevention

 

Following my first suicide attempt, I didn’t go to therapy. I didn’t want to talk about it. My marriage continued to crumble and I felt like it was my fault. I thought I was nothing, unworthy, not enough. I gave all I had to save my marriage and ended up empty. So, I continued to medicate my pain. But eventually, y’all, I was just done! Done trying, done crying, done begging, done giving, done being me, just DONE. One day, I woke up ready to die. I was in so much pain emotionally, physically, and spiritually but when I prayed, I felt as if God had abandoned me.

From my perspective, when you’re in that state of mind when life has driven you to that point, you are not being selfish, crazy, unreliable, or trying to hurt anyone. Actually, you rationalize how loved ones will be better off without you.

In my mind, I told myself, my mom or oldest sister would raise my kids because I named them in my living will and insurance policy. My then-husband would be free of me. I will be honest with you, I thought my mom wouldn’t have to worry about me anymore. Because I had no real connections, (at the time) to any of my siblings, I felt they’d be better off without me too.

So, I sent my two babies outside to play, locked the door, closed off the kitchen, put towels under all the doors, turned the gas on and sat there crying and breathing it in. I could feel myself getting dizzy. Then, my baby girl knocked on the door. I still remember what God put in her mouth to say, “Mommy, I need you”. I had to go to my baby. Her words saved my life! Again, I never told anyone until years later.

For the next twenty years, I was fine. But on the 25th of January, 2018. yes, one year ago, I attempted to take my life. Why? Well, several things led to my actions. First, I attempted to wean myself off my depression medication without doctors orders. Then health-wise, I almost died twice; my dating life had been awful; bad family issues lingered; my boyfriend broke up with me in a text, and I lost meaningful friendships.

I felt like my whole world had been stripped from me. So, that evening, I wrote a letter to certain people and tried to pour half a ninety-day supply of morphine pills down my throat. I’m not sure how my son picked up on what I had planned, but he caught me and he and my mom wrestled the pills from me.

Afterward, I felt ashamed because my oldest brother died of an accidental overdose eight years before. You would think, how could I do that to my mom and family? But I thought it through. I rationalized leaving my loved ones in better care so that my mind would accept my decision to die. In reality, nothing makes dying at your own hands ok.

Really, all you see at the time is your hurt and pain. In your mind, it is greater than any force big or small. You don’t even see God in your situation. If by the Lord’s grace, you fail to kill yourself, you may do like I did and not tell anyone what you did or what you’re going through. That’s where most of us go wrong!

I didn’t think anyone would understand. But now I know that someone on the outside looking in can often give you better insight than those in your daily life. We need to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and therapy so that those suffering can feel comfortable about getting the help they need. NO ONE should be made to feel crazy because they need help or medication to treat mental health issues.

Depression can be treated by medications that will return balance to the chemical in your brain that can cause it, called serotonin. Don’t wait until you are completely out of options when early treatment can possibly save your life. Take it from me, whether it be a friend, family member, therapist, or hotline, talk to someone. Get your problems off your chest so you can let go and get back to living your life. Writing also helps me. I use to journal a lot but now I blog.

And finally, none of us should ever hesitate to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or if you’re anything like me, and rather text, use #BeThe1To to chat confidentially. Therapy works. Speak up. Speak out. Just never remain silent and don’t ever feel ashamed.

Valerie Collins
Valerie Collinshttps://mypoeticlifebook.wordpress.com/
Valerie Collins was born in Tucson, Az, the last of six children. She has loved writing since a child but decided to pursue a career in Orthopedic nursing. Shortly after her marriage and birth of her first child at the age of 22, she was diagnosed with the chronic pain disease, Fibromyalgia, its subsequent conditions, illnesses, and syndromes. Once the disease disabled her in 2001, she revisited her passion for writing poetry and short stories and has accumulated over 100 poems and spoken word pieces over the years. She became a member of the International Society of poets in 2002 and The International Who's Who in Poetry in 2006. She currently is a member of Realistic Poetry International, Who's Who Among American Business Women, and Women of Facebook Create. Her accolades include 2005 Poet of the Year. She was awarded both the Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry and the Official Commemorative Poetry Ambassador Medal while serving as a Poetry Ambassador associate in 2007. She wrote a play entitled “Fix Me Jesus” in 2012 for Alabama 1st COGIC State AIM Youth Convention Competition drama category which was awarded second place. Currently, she is in rehearsals for her second stage play for the local playwright, Shawna D. Moore which will be on stage in August 2019. She is in the process of compiling a two-volume poetry book entitled My Poetic Life: A Memoir of Love and a book detailing her life with Fibromyalgia, entitled Behind the Walls of Silence. In July 2018, she created her first blog site My Poetic Life (The Book) as @vfurrmstheblogger to act as a launch for both books and it has taken on a life of its own. She also owns a small crochet business, Val's Gifts of Warmth, where she sells her handmade crochet items.
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