As someone who struggled with suicidal ideation but never physically attempted suicide, I always thought that my depression and suicidal thoughts were not as severe as others. I thought “since I never actually tried to kill myself, it must not count.” This mentality is not only wrong, but it is incredibly dangerous. I may have not tried to kill myself, but the ideation and suicidal thoughts were so intense that it doesn’t matter. I never remember being happy or confident. I was an anxious ridden weird kid at school that was ostracized from society. I wasn’t known well enough to be bullied, but I was often teased. Even as a child, my eating was bad, and all my attention went towards school. Whenever I had a test, I would have panic attacks and I felt like the world was ending. That’s the first time I wanted to die. I was in grade six and I had a geography test the next day. I was crying as I asked my mom why she would ever give birth to me and why she brought me into this world. I wasn’t necessarily suicidal, but I didn’t want to be here anymore. While I ended up acing the test, the thought of death lingered. In grade nine and ten my eating disorder flourished, and I constantly wanted to disappear. Grade eleven and twelve was when my suicidal ideation really came to light. I would walk home from school and pray a car hit me. I would have thoughts of killing myself every minute of every single day. I thought about what it would be like for my family to find my body and who would show up to my funeral (no-one). These thoughts ravaged my brain until one day when I decided I would genuinely do it.
Before you say suicide is selfish and how could I ever do that to my parents, I know. I know it’s selfish. But you have to realize how much pain someone is in for them to think that death is the only way out. Every single day was anguish. I felt nothing but intense sadness. It’s like a black hole sucking up any positive emotion. Nothing gave me pleasure anymore. I was basically a shadow pretending to be a human. I genuinely looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I was God’s one mistake. That I ruin everyone’s life like a worse version of Midas. I believed that everyone’s life would be better if I wasn’t here anymore. I was going through the emotions of life but not living it.
I don’t remember much of that day, but I remember I was in class when I thought, why don’t I just kill myself. Before, no matter how bad life had been the thought of death scared me, but this time, this time it didn’t. In fact, I felt a serene sense of peace. Like I was up alone in the mountains by a river. The birds flying above me as the shining sun warms my skin. Blades of grass a soft bed to lie in. The melodic babbling brook misting me with clear, cool water. That’s how it felt when I thought of death. And so as soon as I got home, I dropped my backpack on the ground and circled Friday May 5th, 2017 on my calendar. I gave the world exactly one week to change my mind. On the Monday when I was supposed to be doing my schoolwork in English class, I wrote my suicide note. I apologized to my parents and friends and let them know that it wasn’t their fault; they did everything they could, but I just couldn’t handle life anymore. On Wednesday I remember I hugged my mom and thought “wow, I wonder if she knows this will be one of the last times, she hugs me.” My friends and family were all confused but relieved because of how happy I was that week. I was smiling wider than they saw in years and they genuinely believed it was a sign that I was getting better. But it wasn’t.
Thursday came and the world still hadn’t convinced me not to die. I was mentally ready to kill myself, but a nagging feeling told me that I needed to reach out for help. I don’t know what made me listen to that feeling but I did. I went to the school social worker who told me I either call my mom and go to the hospital or he calls the police. Choosing the first, I saw as my mom rushed from work to meet me at the school. I saw her break down as she read the suicide note I carried in my pocket. I saw my friends confused and heartbroken faces as I told them I couldn’t go out for lunch because I needed to go to the hospital. That day and their reactions will forever be burned in my mind. No-one saw it coming, they didn’t want to.
While that wasn’t the last hospitalization, and while I still have suicidal ideation from time to time, I can say that it has gotten better. After all, I’m still here. I am about to graduate from university, I found amazing friends and the love of my life, I saw the birth of my cousins, I attended weddings of loved ones, I’m doing so much, and I still have so much more to do. I know it’s cringey when people say “it gets better” but it genuinely does. I’m not one to sugar-coat it so I’ll be honest and say that it is insanely hard. It’s so hard to go from wanting to die and almost dying to wanting to live and enjoying life, but I promise it happens and it’s worth it. I still have days where my suicidal thoughts are loud and I think it’ll be easier if I’m not here, but those days are not as common. I have anchors that keep me here and for once, an anchor is me. I don’t want to die because I need to do so much more before I go. I owe it to myself to see what I can do and how much I can achieve.