Not so alone
Of all the odd twists and random occurrences that have happened in my life, I think yesterday was probably in the top ten, if not top five in my most unexpected events list. For those who don’t follow me on Twitter (you totally should FYI), I’ll explain and if you already know what I’m talking about then maybe just skip to the middle/end of the post because that would be for you specifically.
It’s no secret I feel broken. I’m okay with this, I’ve embraced my brokenness, accepted that I cannot change it. Blah, blah, blah all the hallmark post card, years of therapy sayings I’m supposed to put here. If you’re new around here, I don’t mind running through it in two sentences or less. I attempted to kill myself about a decade ago and basically every day since I’ve thought about killing myself. See I can be concise from time to time. It’s okay, I’m not a danger to myself or others, I just can’t shake the feeling and I’ve come to terms with this feeling, like I’m dry drowning.
In a weird confluence of events, I shared my tattoo, well one of them and my personal favorite. It means the most to me, I wear it with pride and it’s just generally a cool looking tattoo. Someone who obviously didn’t know what she was going to get asked me if it had any meaning because it looks like it would. Side note, not posting it here, but you can find it on the Twitter-verse.
The tattoo is a reminder that I tried to kill myself. Or rather I like to think of it as a visual representation of me attempting to hold myself together. It’s funny, you don’t think of suicide as something to celebrate or remember, but I don’t want to forget. Sometimes it’s good to remember how far down you can go and still come out of it. While it was the end of a chapter in my life and because I survived it was the beginning of a new chapter.
There were hard times after that, homelessness for a year or so for one thing. I almost dropped out of school for another. No idea where I would be right now if I hadn’t come through it all, if I would even be alive to talk about it, but here I am.
Basically I love my tattoo and I’m not shy about telling my story. While hearing about it may make others uncomfortable it does no good to keep up the stigma. Others are out there who are like me. People who may not be so inclined to share their story and feel alone. I know that feeling, the feeling that you’re the only one out there who feels a certain way and it was more deadly than any depression I’ve ever dealt with. So when someone asked about the meaning I told my story in 180 characters or less, then linked to a longer version I wrote here almost a year ago (here).
Then one person said hey me too. Then another, and another, soon I was caught by a flood of people who had been suicidal. People like me, whom I had never met, never interacted with, all sharing this very personal part of themselves with me just because I shared a piece of me.
It was overwhelming. It was amazing. It was incredibly unexpected. I laughed, I’m not going to lie, I cried, I literally can’t put into words the things I was feeling. Best of all, I wasn’t alone. I know rationally that there are a lot of people out there like me who survive a suicide attempt. I also know that there are people out there like me who feel like they are barely treading water, who feel like they have to fight daily to not kill themselves. I don’t think I’m rare and I’m certainly not the only one to feel this way.
I just never expected to find so many out there who were like me. I especially didn’t expect so many to come forward and share that they had similar experiences.
Here’s the thing, I’m not a concise person *waves vaguely at any of my blog posts* which I am okay with that’s why I blog and not tweet a whole lot. But I did want to thank everyone for sharing their stories too. I tried on Twitter and I’m pretty sure I thanked every single person I could find that responded, but you never know.
So here it is. Thank you for sharing yourself with me. Thank you for feeling comfortable enough to tell your story. Thank you for seeing me and most importantly I see you. Even if you didn’t feel like you could share, even if you wish you could. I see you. You’re not alone. There are so many of us out there and we shouldn’t be silent about it.
In short, thank you for existing.