Two years ago, life for us nearly changed. You see, I have a disease. I have a mental illness. Multiple illnesses, actually. I suffer from bipolar depression, anxiety, PTSD and an eating disorder. On a warm June day, despite so many efforts, I nearly succumbed to my diseases. I was in therapy, receiving both conventional medication treatment as well as the unconventional electroconvulsive therapy- all as a drastic measure to try and relieve my symptoms. Unfortunately, the trial and error of medication for mental illness is one that can’t be avoided. My medicines and therapies were not the right combination. I couldn’t see clearly. I was desperate for a way out. I remember thinking to myself that there was no way that my family could possibly love someone as broken and messed up as me. I felt like a burden. I felt like a failure as a person, wife, mother, daughter and friend. I felt so lost. I was feeling like all I did was care for everyone else, and yet still believed my love wasn’t enough for everyone.
I’ll never forget skipping my son’s baseball game and instead going for a drive. I remember on the drive when I texted my best friend and told her I was done and I couldn’t do life anymore. I remember crying in the car begging God to let people know that I was truly sorry and that I didn’t want them to hurt because of me.
I stepped on the gas pedal and after exceeding 100mph on the highway I jerked the wheel of my car to the right and went head first into a tree on the shoulder of the highway. I hit at such a speed that my engine flew out of my car and landed on the highway. I went through the airbag and my head through the windshield.
I don’t remember much. I remember firetrucks and good samaritans who happened to be in the medical field trying to find a way to get me out of the car due to anxieties around a small fire that had started. I remember waking up in the trauma unit of the ER with a doctor standing over me telling me he had no idea how I was even alive. I remember crying to him about how sorry I was and to tell my family the same.
I lived. I survived a car wreck that firefighters and police told me was one of the worst they had seen in their entire careers; i survived with little more than a concussion, bruised body and cuts on my face.
I survived. Death did not grab hold of me that warm, June day.
Here’s what I want to share about how I feel about that entire situation. It’s what I think most people who attempt suicide feel:
- I wasn’t running from my problems. I was desperately searching for a way to conquer them
- It wasn’t about dying. It was about escaping the horrendous pain
- It was not a cry for attention
- I know I am blessed to have survived but I still struggle with the demons
- You never forget the unbearable pain a suicide attempt creates
- It becomes additional trauma
I still pass that section of the highway all the time. The tree I hit was deformed but still stands strong. I often feel connected to that tree. I stand tall today, a little deformed from that accident, but still alive.
My depression didn’t end after that. I’m still in therapy and receive ECT. But, I am better. New medications and an increase in other therapies have allowed me to find a balance that I can sustain.
I still cry. I still feel guilty for what I put my family through. I was lucky enough that they rallied around me to love me and care for me instead of shoving me aside. I share my story when I can so that I can hopefully let others know that they are not alone and that there is hope both before and after attempts such as mine.