I’m a month behind in talking about this, but nonetheless. I will give you a trigger warning here: I will be discussing suicide.
August 19th, 2008.
Last month I celebrated my suicide attempt and subsequent sobriety. I didn’t do much this year; in years past, I’ve done cake and cupcakes and the like. It’s been ten years. An entire decade has passed.
I see that day as the chasm between my life before and my life after.
In my life before, I drank. I popped pills. I partied. Delusions consumed me. I believed I was going to be transported to another dimension to save it. A mixed episode, both mania depression, sucked the life out of me until I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d had enough.
That was me two weeks before my attempt.
I can still hear the sound of my mother’s panicked voice calling my name. I can still remember the nurse at the ER touching my cheek and telling me I’d be okay.
And I am okay. I’m more than okay now. I don’t regret my past; I celebrate it. I don’t dwell on it. I don’t pity myself or feel sorry for myself for what I’ve been through: five hospitalizations, rehab, TMS treatments, and now three years of shock therapy. I have an amazing team of psychiatrists, an incredibly supportive husband, and some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Oh, and my best bud, Wilson.
I’ve got a whole life ahead of me. I’m finishing school — I’ll be done in just three months more. And, assuming I keep my grades in my last few classes, I’ll be graduating Summa Cum Laude. In my life before the chasm of my suicide attempt, I was barely scraping by in school. I dropped out before I flunked out. All I cared about was when and where was I going to get my next drunk or high?
But how does all this fit in with my writing?
In all of my work, I try to include something mental health-related. In Waiting for Regret, my minor character Shawn has a subplot of alcohol and drug abuse, and protagonist Kylie suffers from depression and mentions taking medication. In my WIP, Waiting for Life, Cat is in a the downward spiral that is dysphoric mania. I think it’s important for mental illness to be represented in media such as literature and films.
I’m incredibly grateful to be where I am today. To be alive. I don’t believe I would have seen 30 had I not attempted suicide and gotten the subsequent help I so desperately needed when I did.