Suicide. I must first start out by saying this is not a fun topic to talk about. Talking about suicide is heavy and emotional. It can be uncomfortable to many. And as much as I don’t want to talk about it myself, I know personally just how important it is. Unfortunately, it has become such an epidemic that it can no longer go ignored. It seems anytime you log on the Internet or turn on the news it is there, staring you in the face whether it be a celebrity or someone you love. T o many, it seems outrageous to end one’s life. I must admit I could never understand it myself, until I came face-to-face with a triple threat: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. The three made a home in my mind, leaving me captive to my fears. I became a slave to it. I could no longer live a normal life because unwanted memories and flashbacks danced in the spaces of my mind. W ith PTSD, you don’t experience the trauma only once. You experience it over and over. Day and night. If I could wrap up that entire experience and describe it in only one word, it would be hopelessness. No treatment or medicine seemed to help. To be honest, the thought of living the rest of my life that way was unbearable. When my mother came across RRT therapy with Dr. William Tollefson, it was a last-ditch effort. When we came across Dr. William’s practice I was truly at my worst. I made a secret pact that if this last option didn’t work, I would end my life. I truly knew the people in my life loved me, but I knew my trauma affected them greatly. I knew the stress I added to those around me. D uring those dark years of my life, if you would have told me things would get better, I would have never believed you. It is almost impossible to see a way out when you feel that trapped. Yet, looking back I have realized Dr. William came into my life right smack dab in the middle of my breaking point. At my very worst. I often think about the many times I almost gave up. I remember holding a pill bottle in my hand. I was so tempted to end it all, but I still somehow couldn’t bring myself to follow through. As I was staring at that bottle, I had no idea I would meet with Dr. Bill just a week later. I had no idea Dr. Bill and his RRT therapy would be my long-awaited breakthrough. I needed to wait only one more week. I often reflect on this. I now realize I never wanted to die, I simply wanted a way out of my situation.
In the years following this breakthrough, I didn’t allow myself to think about how close I once got. Recently, there were multiple suicides. Some of these were celebrities, and some were people I had a few conversations with. It affected me in ways I never thought it would. It suddenly wasn’t an abstract idea that I didn’t allow myself to think about, it was blowing up in the news and affecting people in my hometown. It made me think about a good friend of mine who has been suicidal in the past, and how this person made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone. It made me realize her safety is more important than my friendship with her and it’s too serious to ignore. If I got a call that this time it was her, I couldn’t live with myself.
I opened this discussion up with my mother one night and she cut me off. I thought she was being insensitive and didn’t understand why she didn’t want to discuss this epidemic with me. I had no idea that the recent suicides had been stirring up a war of emotions in her own mind. She too hadn’t allowed herself to remember the times I almost made that decision. I think it became real to her too. We both got emotional as we discussed our own journey and the devastation we felt over this recent news. We were devastated because we too had once walked this path, and we know it gets better. I often wish I could stand up on the world’s tallest mountain and proclaim to the world that IT GETS BETTER . And YOU , yes YOU reading this still have a purpose to live this life you have been given.
If you are reading this and you are currently contemplating suicide, just know I have walked in your shoes. I know my story might not be the same as yours, but my mind has once been where yours is now. Recently, I was reading about the 26 survivors who jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge. More than 3000 people have jumped off that bridge and only those 26 survived. Those 26 people all shared one thing in common; the moment they made the jump, they instantly regretted it and wanted to live. Do you actually want to die, or do you want a way out of your current situation? L ife is so unpredictable. One week I stood there staring at a bottle in my hand, and the next week I was meeting Dr. William Tollefson and receiving the RRT therapy that would forever change my life. Think about the many changes that brought you here today. You most likely have had both good times and bad times, each year looking completely different than the last. Who knows where you could be standing a year from now, a week from now, or a day from now. I am begging you to hold on just a little bit longer no matter how unbearable it currently feels. I believe the enemy always fights hardest before the breakthrough.
If you are struggling, you are called to something greater. Evil and destruction targets those who are called to bring good to the world. One of my favorite writers Lisa Bevere puts it this way, “The attacks on your life are not about who you have been in the past, but who you might be in the future.” Perhaps this is why the unthinkable happens to good people. Maybe this is why so many of the greatest, kindest people have been/ are suicidal. Y ou are worth so much more than you know, and unfortunately the chemical imbalances in your brain are telling you otherwise. You are a supernova. By definition, a supernova is a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass. Whatever happened to you, whatever catastrophic experience you have experienced may have sent you spiraling out of control and scattered. You may no longer feel like your old self. But you will only come back bigger and brighter with one hell of a story to tell someday and an amazing life to live!
If you know someone in your life is suicidal don’t be afraid to call it to attention. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, think of one person to confide in. I know this is uncomfortable and even embarrassing, it took me too long to open-up myself. Talking about it releases the power it holds over you. And lastly, if you aren’t suicidal, don’t judge those who are. You simply don’t have the capability to truly understand the war going on in a suicidal person’s head. You never know who could be struggling with this, it could be someone you deeply love.
Chloe Rae Poaletti is a student at Mesabi Range. You can find her blog at www.walkingundaunted.com/.