“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid” – t.s. eliot
A glimmer of light peeked through the frame of my bedroom door. A figure blocked passage: a large shadowy figure who’s stare paralyzed me with fear though he had no eyes. I needed to get past him, through the door, to the bathroom, but I was petrified. I couldn’t move. Fear took over every instinct, but my body felt heavy, probably from the forty or so pills I had swallowed prior to crawling under the covers.
The figure was everything I was trying to sleep away: the rent I hadn’t paid, the classes I was failing, the people I disappointed. Basically, he represented my failures at adulting and loss of hope to overcome the obstacles in my way.
I was 18 years old and I tried to end my life, but I was not successful.
Instead I collapsed to the floor off the bed and crawled my way past that dark figure to the bathroom, where I vomited for what seemed like hours. I defeated him, though I still ended up sleeping for almost 72 hours straight as a result of the pills that made it into my system.
When I finally awoke, I realized I didn’t want my life to end. I mean who wants to be remembered as a kid who couldn’t cope with the financial responsibilities of growing into an adult? Who at the slightest turn for the worst decided to escape permanently through a pill overdose? Not me. I wanted to live. I wanted to influence my nephew’s music tastes and live to see him graduate. (Unfortunately, he doesn’t much care for my music, but he does graduate this year.)
And because of my want for life, I got help. I was hospitalized for almost a full month. Though I wanted to get better, I hardly ate and slept most days for the first week or so, until a nurse introduced me to the little library. The first book I picked up was The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. It had been years since I read a book for the pure pleasure of it and Bradbury was not a disappointment. I read it and several others after, comforted by superb sentence structure and quotes like, “We’re all fools, all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.” The words enabled me to see human imperfection and accept it. Literature made it easier for me to open up and explain the nugget of negativity in the pit of my brain and belly.
It took almost a full month before I was released, but after that month I was invigorated. It was easier to accept my imperfections and realize mistakes are not permanent, and if they do have lifelong affects, they help with our individual growth or begin to blossom into beauty.
After my brother passed away (a story I will share with you all one day), I felt those overwhelming feelings begin to overcome me again. For over a year I didn’t see any of my friends and rarely spoke to anyone outside my family. Instead of letting the sadness and anger engulf me, I sought help and was able to confront my feelings.
I share this story of me tripping through life and almost giving up because someone I love dearly is going through something very similar. Instead of seeing the beauty of what surrounds them, they are allowing the darkness to envelope them. I share this story in hopes that someone who needs help will fight their fear and ask for help.
If you or someone you know is experiencing something similar please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Suicide is not the answer.