Before you jump,
before you swallow those…
before you give up,
FIRST, If you are thinking of killing yourself right now (and I know those are ugly words, but I want google to find this)
call this number : 1-800-273-TALK (8255). I’ll stay right here with you while you call, okay? Leave the page open, call the number; you can read the rest of the post afterwards.
It is just a quick lifeline – see it as a buoy to prevent you from drowning . Just dial the number and hang on.
Ok – now to begin:
I am a suicide survivor. Meaning: I would have died, had it not been for a saint of a doctor (whom I wish I could go thank for saving my life) who fought to do an old technique they didn’t do anymore. I was on my way out, and I heard this argument:
“Doctor…we don’t do that any more.”
“If I can save her, I will.”
There’s a strange thing that happens when you realize you have done something so profoundly violent to yourself.
There is a very odd acceptance … did I want to live, on that table? I do not remember. I remember thinking – I accept. I chose this – I know now it was a mistake – whatever happens, I accept. Some really awful stuff happened on that table, as they tried to save my life. Really violent stuff, and I just let go. I found a profound acceptance on that table that I have not lost since. Let go, let go, let go.
You can find the acceptance without taking the action I took, because I am going to help you begin it. Acceptance is where you begin to invite joy back into your heart and life again. Acceptance is where you begin to be grateful you are alive. You may not be there right now, so I’m just going to ask you to trust my words.
First, I’ll tell you what happens after you wake up and find yourself alive. There is wonder. There is gratitude. There is a conversation with God that goes something like this : “I guess I still have something to do here, huh? Sorry about that, God, it was totally rude to try to return your gift. I know you understand and you’ll forgive me.”
There is a great amount of shame and grief, later on… because:
Was I so devoid of hope, did I think myself so useless, that I could throw away this gift of life, that I could take this luminous and incredible thing and deliberately smash it? And how could I be so thankless? And how could I not think about how many people I would hurt with my action?
Yes, I was that devoid of hope. I had been abandoned by someone I loved too much; in that moment, I abandoned myself.
I could be that thankless/ that thoughtless of the people I would hurt, because I wasn’t thinking. I truly was not in a thinking place; I was in a place of the darkest pain I have ever known. I was reacting.
A little segue before I continue…call this an “exit door” for any readers who are sitting in judgment seats, or have the balcony view and think I am being too open or something. I have been told: your blog is too transparent. You shouldn’t say this stuff on the internet. To that, I say: why not? I am human. We are all human. We, none of us, are perfect. I don’t go to counseling once a week to become perfect – I go in order to work on my stuff and be happier, and be healthier. It’s working – but I will never be “perfect.”
If I am willing to stand in the firing line and risk criticism (I have met my own death, why would criticism bother me?) for the sake of the few people who are helped by reading someone else’s transparent human-ness, then why would it be anyone else’s business?
I am willing to stand in the line of fire. Criticism does not scare me. I have experienced the cruelest kind of betrayal a human being can experience; I am no longer afraid.
So for those of you who think this is too transparent, go ahead and stop reading now, ok? This isn’t for you.
ok? bye now 🙂
Ok. Now that the critics have left the page, I’m going to continue. This is for anyone who has no more hope. Who thinks they are using up space here…who simply cannot find a reason to keep going.
First, yes, you really really need to find a counselor. And I am NOT saying this in a “you need help” kind of way- I am SO not talking down to you because you know what? You are NOT below anyone else. You are not low in any way…you are simply in a time of being fragile. It comes to all of us because we are ALL human and we’re all a bit of a mess sometimes.
Yes. we are . all of us- a bit of a mess. If anyone tries to tell you that they are perfect, or call you “unstable” and pretend THEY have it all together, *that* person is the one who “needs help” the most, actually.
Because it’s the ones out there working on their sh*t , owning it and knowing they are in pain who are the healthy ones. The ones who can actually cry…those are the healthy people.
However, right now you might be feeling way too full of self-hatred to even begin the long process of building your self-esteem up enough so that you can withstand criticism. That’s for another time, but TRUST me YOU CAN DO IT. you really can.
Right now, here is what I want you to do.
If you’re still about to harm yourself and you haven’t made that phone call I talked about at the beginning, here’s the number again: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
After you have talked to someone, find someone to call who can refer you to a counselor. This can be a pastor or a rabbi (no, you do not have to be a member of their congregation and you do not have to be Jewish either!) or other health care professional.
Now, here’s where we get you breathing again …
take out a piece of paper. On the top, write “things I saw today that I have never seen before.”
then, if it is night, go to sleep. Eat, if you have not eaten – and go to sleep.
When you wake up, get on your sweatpants or whatever but do *not* stop to ruminate – just get outside. Wear sunglasses if you feel you need to hide – but get outside. Go for a walk, and I want you to really look around you…
because you’re going to find things to write on that piece of paper. At least three things you have never seen before.
This may sound impossible, but I assure you, your eyes are about to be opened.
You’re about to be a little kid again.
Even if you just go five minutes out and five minutes back to where you’re living,
focus on your breath as it comes in, and goes out. Look around you. Don’t ruminate on whatever is eating your life away — leave that behind you for this walk.
If you cannot walk – if you are homebound, there is another option: close your eyes and focus on your breath for five minutes. set a timer. if thoughts come up, just notice them, say “oh, there you are,” and then let them pass, and gently go back to your breath.
go on a virtual walk : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu3t1gTKhWc
and really let your mind immerse in it.
I’m not going to tell you what happens when you do this…
because I want you to try it, and see what happens for you. Commit right now to doing this every day for a week. Just one week. Then see if you want to continue doing it. Hopefully by then you’ll have a line on a counselor you can talk to.
And yes, they get paid -but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. DO NOT use my old argument (“how pathetic to have to pay someone to care.”) No that’s not it. They do care, that’s why they studied so long…and they care about YOU, specifically. And you SO deserve that care. You will figure out later that you really are worth caring about. You just don’t know that right now but I really want you to hang onto this: later on you will discover that you care about yourself. Later on you’ll discover that you deserve *so* much love, and that there’s nothing wrong with being sad or in pain. There’s nothing wrong with you.
So! walk, and write about “things I saw today that I have never seen before.” the things I saw on my first day kept me going. Eventually, this practice saved my life – and I mean that quite literally.
I am here, and my life is more beautiful than I ever dreamed it could possibly become…especially not when I held that bottle of pills in my hand and saw no further chapters in my story.
I still have to deal with some stuff – There is gossip, there is unkindness, there is judgment .. and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt me – it astounds me that anyone would want to harm or destroy someone who was already totally on the ground but you know what? those people do exist. cruel people who are so hurting, so full of the need to project and judge and harm … they are in pain.
If you see the people who are cruel to you as people who are carrying dis-ease … they are in great pain and they are very ill – you can begin to distance and have some compassion.
So yes. I still have things I have to deal with because I tried to kill myself and almost succeeded. But guess what — those things do not really reach me at all any more. It’s like someone throwing a feather at me- very easy to ignore.
Very easy to realize that the stuff they’re saying is not about me at all…it’s about them.
Very easy to have so much gratitude that I was given a second chance in this world … and whether or not others approve of my openness; whether or not I’ll be judged by future employers (what employers? I employ myself. period. 🙂 or maybe future rabbinical schools, here is my answer to that:
I would not want to attend a school that did not understand that I am using my second chance in life to help other people.
I would not want a job who flinched away from my openness and didn’t get that we are all human; some of us humans just want to hide more than others. I no longer am afraid or feel the need to hide my flaws and my journey in this life.
So. I’ll stand in the firing line, and I’ll speak for anyone who is too scared to speak up. And I’ll tell you what it’s like to be human, and that it’s okay. That you’re okay. That you are actually incredible, even if you cannot see that right now.
I want you to trust me – and I want you to live.
Give yourself more time, and you will find that the day will come when you say
“thank god I didn’t succeed. thank god I’m here right now in this beautiful moment.”
because a beautiful moment will come, I promise you that.
2 thoughts on “Before you… (suicide prevention post.)”
Becky this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your transparency. We definitely need more models for healthy vulnerability and authenticity of beingness. We have parallels in our journey that are permeating my awareness. Thank you for sharing your experience of rediscovering the gift of life, inspiring!
thank you, Wendy . Some message conversations with a friend dealing with depression sparked this post. She said my words could help people…so I decided it was time to start talking about it.
it’s a very silent thing in this country – suicide. It’s very dark, and if you’ve survived it – very shameful.
I came in for some harsh abuse afterward…so I feel like it’s a subject that could use some illuminating, and I intend to work on that… when we can talk about things, well … a lot more suicide might be prevented if there wasn’t such shame around needing help in the first place!