The Day After I Killed Myself
*TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains content that may trigger those dealing with depression/suicidal thoughts.
In light of the recent suicide tragedies and World Suicide Prevention Day, my heart has ached for those who have lost friends and family to suicide. It’s a deep and personal matter many people don’t want to, and often don’t know how, to discuss.
It’s been painful in my own life as I have experienced depressive thoughts, self-harming tendencies, and even attempted suicide.
For those who know me and don’t know my story, I had my first thought of self-harm when I was 10 years old. I was on the phone with my older sister and shared that sometimes I felt sad and overwhelmed. I stated it in the best way I knew how: “I don’t know why,” I began, “but sometimes I just want to stab myself with a pencil.” As alarming as I’m sure it was to my sister, she carefully walked me through my thought process and assured me that it’s normal to feel stressed.
However, I continued to deal with these thoughts and found myself cutting my arms and starving myself in middle school. During my transition between 6th and 7th grade, I had read many pro-suicide and pro-self-harm books. I had made my decision to attempt suicide by hanging.
Weeks before this attempt, I began to write letters to those who had hurt me and who were the reasons why I wanted to end my life. One night while no one was home, I prepared to end my life. Sparing details, I found myself with an unsuccessful attempt. I sat on my floor, crying and screaming. I wanted everything to stop. Suddenly, I felt a warm embrace around me. I felt a silencing of my thoughts. It was as if someone told me there was a hope for my future and plans for my life. I did not know Jeremiah 29:11. I did not know much about God, and even less about Jesus.
I knew someone was reaching out to me, assuming it was God, without any real knowledge of what that meant for me.
Today, I am a youth worker in a church. I can stand before all people now sharing my story because Jesus gave me hope each and every day. I didn’t always know to attribute it to Him, but I watched as His truth unfolded in my life daily. Yes, I still struggle with anxiety and depression. Facets of depression and anxiety have ceased in my life, but I have my fair share of struggle with them today. It affects me differently than it used to.
In one of my toughest years of dealing with anxiety and depression, I wrote a creative piece called, “The Day After I Killed Myself,” in order to bring light to what I had gone through. This piece helped me to heal from the depressive thoughts that plagued me as I watched the piece go from hopelessness to hopefulness. Please, if this is meaningful to you, share it with someone who can benefit from it:
The day after I killed myself, I saw my mother lying in her bed, motionless. She didn’t speak, she didn’t move, nor did she answer any calls when my family tried to check on her. At first, I was angry because I wanted her to move on with her life. Then I realized, she couldn’t.
The day after I killed myself, I went to school to see my best friends. They were crying and comforting each other. Yet, there was something odd in the air. Not only were they sad, but they were mourning -- something I had never known before. A deep sorrow came over the classes I once occupied with my loud and vibrant personality. My seat was empty, yes, but something was different. It was so strangely inconsistent for a body not to be in that seat, so much so that everyone avoided it; not even allowing themselves to touch it.
The day after I killed myself, the sun set. I had hated the sunset, but I was oddly uncomfortable missing this one. I started to enjoy it just as the clouds set over the mountains and the sky was painted so effervescently with reds and oranges and pinks and purples. Although the sunset had always meant the end to me, I decided to see it from a new perspective: a dawn will break soon enough, and a new day will be here.
The day after I killed myself, I couldn’t wait to come back. I missed home. So I went back to my old apartment only to see the lifeless body of my mother lying in the place where my body once was. Her blood stained our newly-shampooed carpet and her hand fell directly where the chalk outline of my head was just a day ago.
The day after I killed myself, I wanted so badly to take my mother back. The only desire I had anymore was to tell her that everything would be okay and that there would be a dawn to break soon enough, and a new day would appear.
The day after I killed myself, I realized I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t come back to see the sunsets from a new perspective. I couldn’t laugh with my friends again. I couldn’t bring my mother back.
A year after I didn’t kill myself, I became student body president. I saw our school have its first real student council. We put on a dance for the 8th graders that was better than the previous years. We laughed and made memories, and I found hope in the little moments.
A year after I didn’t kill myself, I started eating again. My body began to regain health. It would never be back to the way it once was, but I was recovering. I found hope in the little bites.
A year after I didn’t kill myself, I gathered up as much courage as I could and tried out for the cheerleading team at my future high school. Spoiler alert: I made it. And I made more friends than I thought I ever could at cheer camp. I found hope in little moments of courage.
A year after I didn’t kill myself, I found hope in Jesus. I saw that not everything would be fixed overnight; some things take time to get figured out. Even so, Jesus could cover all of it.