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I am a survivor, and I'm proud to say that. I started to think about death and suicide when I was in high school. I wondered what it would be like to die—if it would be easier than living. I wasn't old enough to know what I wanted out of life or what life could offer me, but there was enough wrong that I considered ending it all for the unknown. I stood in front of the medicine cabinet when I was 17 and looked at all the bottles of pills, and that's the first time I seriously considered hurting myself.
These thoughts continued into university and eventually plagued me so much that I actually did something about it. There were other influences, but I was comfortable with the thought of suicide because it wasn't a stranger to me. There had been plenty of times where I'd gotten close to wanting to hurt myself, but something talked me out of it.
So I took some pills, and I don't remember anything, except for the fact that I was scared. My life didn't flash before my eyes, I didn't see a bright light—or maybe I did and don't remember. But this isn't about death, it's about moving forward after death. I do consider that as the day a part of me died. I think of her as my former self.
The girl that died was so scared and so lost in her world. The burdens were too heavy for her shoulders and she got crushed under the weight. I'm sure we've all felt like this before. Now that I'm out on the other side, though I don't see many differences between my former self and I. I'm still scared and lost in my world. I still sometimes feel like my burdens are too heavy for my shoulders. But I'm still alive, I'm surviving and breathing—and that's the difference.
I mourn for the things I've lost. There's an innocence I've lost, a wonder that I've lost, and I'm still trying to find that twinkle in my eye that I used to have. There are memories that I've lost, good and bad. But I feel grateful to be here right now. I feel proud of myself that I've made it so far, and now I'm trusted enough to live out on my own when I used to be a flight risk.
I'm learning to recognize the steps that I'm taking. It's hard to give yourself credit sometimes, so I've been patting myself on the back for planning for my future and moving forward with my life. Your whole world feels like it's been turned upside down and flipped inside out, but it's important to stay on track and focus on your recovery after an attempt.
How does someone get out on the other side without having to go through any of this mud? Sit down with someone to talk about what you need to improve your life. When you feel like there is no escape, something needs to change, and the people that love you will be willing to help you make those changes in your life.
Death is something we will all come to struggle with. I lost someone else that day, too, so I mourn for both him and I. Something I'm learning is that it never gets easier. There is no point where you stop and think about how easy it has been to get through this process. But you do get stronger, and that's how you can wake up and face every new day. And the more you forgive yourself, the stronger you can become.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, here are some resources.