If you need help and don’t want to reach out to someone you know, there are a number of hotlines you can call.
Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273 TALK or text TALK to 741741
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Crisis Line
LGBT National Hotline
Your local ER is an option as well.
This past week has been painful in the mental health world. We’ve heard of 3 suicides on the news, two of which were local. This doesn’t account for all the other suicides that have happened this week/month/year. I am a very strong advocate for mental health and making treatment more widely available. I can’t fix the high cost and the lack of availability of treatment to most people, but I can be an ear. I can lend a shoulder. I can help point you in the right direction. Let me tell you my story.
It was a beautiful, sunny day in 2016. One son was playing baseball while the other was watching. I chose not to go that day. That was going to be THE day. The day that my life ended. I was tormented by depression and anxiety. Diagnosed with Bipolar, PTSD, an eating disorder, anxiety and the list went on. I had already spent over 100 days in residential and acute in-patient treatment. I saw a therapist every week, sometimes twice. Suicidal Ideation had plagued me since I was a teenager. That day was the day, though. I couldn’t handle the stress anymore. The internal fight was too much. I saw myself as nothing but a burden to my family as I couldn’t even seem to get out of bed or shower regularly. I felt like I was causing more pain to those around me than was worth staying alive.
I loved my family deeply. I knew what it was like to lose a parent as a child and I still somehow felt so burdensome that I was willing to leave both of mine behind. I didn’t see it as selfish. I saw it as doing them a favor. They’d be better off without me. In that moment I truly believed that. I didn’t reach out for help that day because I felt like such a burden to my friends, family and even my therapist… the very man who had just the day before told me to just “call or text if you need me. I’m here”.
My car reached 100mph. As I drove down the highway, I looked for a place to crash. And then I saw it. A tree on the side of the highway. I jerked my wheel in an instant. My car hit the tree so hard it nearly split in half. Part of my engine was in the middle of the highway. I went through the windshield. Witnesses stopped to help and I was in and out of consciousness. And then for a brief moment in time there was regret.
And then I was gone.
I woke up in a trauma room at the ER just as they were about to intubate me. The doctor yelled in surprise “She’s here… she woke up”. He got down close to my ear and said “I have no idea how you made it, but you did and you’re going to be ok”. I remember the tears running down my bloody face. I was still strapped to a backboard and had a brace around my neck. It was too soon to know the extent of my injuries as they hadn’t checked those yet… they had been too focused on getting me to just breathe on my own.
Friends, I walked away from that accident by the grace of God alone. I suffered only a concussion and minor injuries.
Do I still have depression and anxiety? Yes. Do I still have SI? Yep. Am I still in therapy? Nine years strong. Did my bipolar or PTSD go away? No. I still struggle. I still have times when I feel like I’m a burden. But there is HOPE. There are people who CARE.
I think I had hoped that after all that therapy and treatment and diagnostic testing that the medicines would cure me. That I’d no longer have to fight. After all, this wasn’t my first attempt. Mental illness can be lonely. You may think that no one else understands. And you’re right… no one understands YOUR exact pain. But people out there do get it. People like me want to listen. I want to be a shoulder for you to cry on. I want to hug you and tell you to keep fighting and that you are NOT a burden. I want you to know that you are loved and your life is WORTH living. You are here for a reason and no one else can play your part. No one else can fill your shoes. Together we can work through the hard times. A text, a phone call, an email… anything. Just reach out. Please. So many of us want to help you.~Lindsay