This post was originally shared on September 10, 2015.
In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, I'd like to share a very personal story, one most haven't heard.
She sat on the hard wooden bench, head resting on the ledge of the upright piano, the soundproof room furthest from the dorm's basement door. No one could hear her screams and sobs even if they tried to look for her. It was her perfect escape.
With a concoction of whiskey, vodka and whatever else she could get hands on throughout the course of the evening, thoughts of terror, pain, and hatred coursed through her head. It was easier to listen to them over the little hope she had.
The bottle of leftover pills she had from her accident sat on the top of the piano whispering, if not relief, at least she could be numb.
She'd felt numb for most of the previous months, struggling to keep her head above the water. With school, her performances, balancing her finances alone, family, friends, her accident, surgery and terrible recovery, the constant battle with who she was and unsure of who she wanted to be, the hours she spent numb were free.
But this night was different. Numb wasn't enough. This night, the terrors that kept her up at night just wouldn't settle.
What if it was all over? What if there was a way to silence those voices, end the pain?
She hated herself. At that point, she loathed just about every inch of her. Her body just kept fighting against her. Between her past injuries, her current one, it was if her legs were someone else's. Struggling with a recent diagnosis of PCOS, even the thought of one day having a family seemed unattainable, and her weight was just a constant reminder that she'd never find someone to love her.
The extra pills here and there were an easy way to coast. Drift through the day to day without having to think too much. Her grades declined when she'd spend days sleeping instead of studying or practicing, making excuses teachers easily bought. The days she was awake she was so full of energy, she couldn't focus. Keeping up her usual cheery personality while she was screaming inside tugged at most of her energy.
After months of numbing the pain with a mix of either pills or liquor, she had enough. That night it seemed to be a combination. The memory of what triggered the breakdown is unclear, honestly, a lot of memories from that time are unclear, except for those few minutes.
It wasn't the first time she held a handful of pills in her palm before. She'd count them one by one and think of the quiet she'd feel when it was all over.
Through tears and screams of frustration, the end seemed so simple then why couldn't she do it?
Thoughts raced through her head of her family, parents who battled slim odds to have her and raise her in a house of unconditional love and faith. Friends, who, even if she was a lump in a cast and wheelchair, would wake up early just to cart her off to class with a joke or song to keep each other laughing. The unknown future, if it all ended now, there wouldn't be a next chapter. The story would end without a final conclusion. Whether she ended it today, or kept going, there would never be an answer to the unknown except to keep moving forward.
And in that moment, as she held the pills in her hand, she felt a wave of calm. As if a breath was being forced into her lungs, she caught it and felt her life come back into view. While she couldn't say she wasn't afraid of the future, she knew that she just had to stop, take a breath, and keep moving forward. That the only person putting those thoughts in her head was her and that she had the power to fight them. In that moment of clarity, the realization of how quickly everything she had worked for could be over and she wouldn't have the chance to have the life she wanted.
While it hasn't been an easy route since that night, and I'd be lying if I said that there haven't been moments of frustration, uncertainty and plenty of tears, but I'm confident in saying that I know I have a future, even if I don't know where that leads. I've learned that I am stronger than the girl who wanted to give up, I want to fight for every extra moment I have. It's been a journey to get to this point but sharing my story, in the hopes that it reaches others who feel or have felt that sense of loneliness with inspiration. I would have never thought I would be in the position I am today, surrounded by friends I call my family and family I call my friends, who are there whenever I need them and struggle with similar problems as well. It's helpful to talk these thoughts out and sharing my story is just one part of my journey. If you, or someone you love, struggles with depression or has thoughts of suicide, reach out to the amazing support system that has been created. Feel free to check out https://www.afsp.org/ for more information.
"A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but ...chose not to. The sentence is your life and the author is you." - Project Semicolon http://www.projectsemicolon.org/