Choosing Life

When I was sixteen, I attempted suicide. That was many years ago, and the struggles in my life have continued, so why have I chosen to live life? Why haven’t I made another attempt? Admittedly I was in a very dark place at that time, but I’ve been in dark places since. At the time of my attempt, I came home every day from high school and went straight to bed. I slept until dinner time, ate, did some homework, then went back to my favorite place, my bed. Sleep provided the ultimate peace for me. It was a release, a few moments in time when my body and mind could shut down for awhile, those precious hours when I didn’t have to think or feel. I had experienced a traumatic event at fifteen, a date rape that resulted in a pregnancy that I refused to acknowledge for many months. I hated the high school that I had begged my parents to let me attend. It was a rough place where I saw my first fight, between two boys and at one time two girls, it was all about survival. I had never experienced anything like the atmosphere I had (chose) to face each day. I skipped a lot of my tenth grade year to hang out at my boyfriend’s house. So what pushed me over the edge? I’m not sure it was one event, but probably a culmination of many. One afternoon I got ahold of a bottle of my dad’s Tylenol and codeine (it was nearly full, he wasn’t a medicine taker). I took a pretty substantial amount and swallowed it.  I headed straight to my favorite place, my bed, but God had other plans for me. Within seconds I began itching so badly, I couldn’t sleep at all. After being rushed to the emergency room and facing the indignity of throwing up over and over (thank goodness I didn’t have to have my stomach pumped), I sat there drained in body and spirit. I was able to convince the staff that I just was attempting to sleep, after many nights of insomnia and they released me (things are different now, I probably would have been held for at least twenty-four hours).  I would be lying if I said the whole event terrified me, on the contrary, I’ve thought about suicide many times throughout my life. I’ve begged God to give my life to someone who really wanted to live, but here’s the important part, I’ve never attempted it again. When you are in that dark place, you don’t think about the future, the life you might miss. If I had, I would have had visions of my own beautiful wedding, my two children’s births, my oldest daughter’s wedding and so so much more. I got to thinking about this last week while on vacation with my two sisters. I sat in the cockpit or the bridge of a beautiful boat in dock, watching the sun rise and set, experiencing laughter, joy, shopping, movie watching, sharing makeup and skin tips and dinners out, thinking all the while, if you had told me at sixteen that I would have missed all these precious moments, I wouldn’t have given a damn. I had one plan for my life, but God had another. I understand darkness, I really do. I understand hopelessness and depression, I’ve been there, but when I chose death, God chose life. When the darkness creeps back in and it does, I remind myself of times like last week. I don’t tell myself they will never happen again, instead I tell myself they will. I try to remember where there is darkness, there is light, where there is desperation, there is hope and where there is ultimate loneliness, there is always God. I have a great support system around me, but many others don’t. I would never try to give advice to anyone who finds themselves in a such a dark place, except for to say please talk to someone; a family member, a friend and most importantly God, for he feels every bit of loneliness and desperation you do. If you feel you can’t talk, listen. If you choose to seek professional help it’s imperative you find someone you truly connect with, keep trying until you find this person. I haven’t seen many counselors, but my daughter has seen a few, counseling never worked for her until she found some one she could lend her Harry Potter books to or share her Game of Thrones DVDs with. It may sound silly but it created a relationship that resulted in success! Depression is real, it is paralyzing at times. Let someone help you, most importantly, let God help you. Put your life in his hands and let him choose when to take you, I’m so thankful I did.

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