Dying to Live

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  I didn’t know this until last week when one of my fellow bloggers posted this. I reblogged and shared her post. I didn’t know there was such a thing as World Suicide Prevention Day. Why?

Because talking about suicide is considered taboo. Who wants to talk about death? Death is morbid right? Death should never be discussed in good conversations.

So, what am I going to do?

Talk about death. More specifically, the time I tried to take my own life. I was 14. I had a boyfriend. He broke up with me. Why? Because I had gotten raped by a classmate and he blamed me. He didn’t know about date rape and neither did I. But, I needed him to help me.

To help me cope. To tell me it’s not my fault. To support me through the trauma I had just experienced. He couldn’t. He chose to abandon me. I chose to kill myself that night.

I was 14. I was tired. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. I wanted to DIE. I wanted to end it all because the pain was unbearable. I felt alone. I had been raped and dumped within the span of 24 hours. I couldn’t breathe.

I took a bottle full of pills. Over the counter sleeping pills. I cried. I cut my wrists. Superficial wounds apparently. I called my best friend and said good-bye. She was the only one that I trusted. She called her mother for help.

Her mother called my mother. I was admitted to the hospital. I cried when they forced me to drink the dye to make me vomit. I cried harder. I just want to die. Why won’t you let me die?

My best friend held my hand and kept my secret. She told her mother and my mother that she didn’t know why I had tried to take my life. Sisterhood at its strongest. No one knew.

My silence was overwhelming. I cried. I didn’t talk. I just existed. My mom had to take the next few days off of work because I couldn’t be left alone. Left alone to keep my siblings. I was in immense pain.

An ache was in my spirit that was so unbearable that it took most of my energy to get out of bed and shower daily. That was all I did. Shower and put my pajamas back on. I cried and sat in my room looking for peace.

Dear God,

It’s me. Why won’t you let me die? I have nothing left to give. Man has taken my body repeatedly and now my boyfriend has taken my heart. Please let me die. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. I promise it will make me feel better if you just let me die.

Signed,

I don’t want to live anymore.

That was my daily prayer. It consumed me. I knew that death would be easier than staying in this body that had been used by men with a broken heart and spirit. But, God.

God had other plans. God said no. My mother came in my room one day and sat on the bed and said, “As a parent you wish that you could kiss every tear that falls from your child’s eyes. To protect them from harm. But, you won’t talk to me. I don’t know how to help. But, I know that God hears all and will help you. Please pray to God. Tell him what’s going on since you won’t talk to me.” She left the room.

I got on my knees and prayed.

“God help me! Please God! I need you!” I cried out.

God heard my cry for help. He listened and saved me. The pain subsided and I was able to resume my daily activities, but I know what it feels like to feel trapped in the pain of your own head. I know how it feels to think that death is the only way out, but I promise you it’s not. The pain you’re in is temporary. It will end. I promise you.

Let’s talk about suicide. Let’s share our stories and let’s help others know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. Let’s save a life.

My Random Musings

Depression and Loss

Depression is no laughing matter. Hearing of the suicide of one of my favorite comedians, Robin Williams reminded me of how I suffered with depression when I had my son. It was private and painful. Very few people knew. I was embarrassed.

Most people who are suffering from some form of depression don’t tell. It’s a big secret unless something like suicide occurs. Suicide takes over 30,000 Americans each year and over half of those occur in adult men between the ages of 25-65. The strongest rate factor for suicide is depression. Depression is serious folks. It is a mood disorder. Save.org states that “Basically, here’s how it works: the nerves in our brain don’t touch each other, but rather pass messages from one to the next through chemicals called neurotransmitters. We need just the right amount of this chemical between the nerves to pass the exact same message to the next nerve. If there isn’t enough of that chemical, the message doesn’t get passed along correctly and in this case, depression or a depressive illness can result. When it comes to depressive disorders the chemicals most frequently out of balance are serotonin and norepinephrine.”

Worldwide, it is estimated that some 121 million people suffer from some form of depression. It’s serious, not only because of Robin Williams, but for all the men and women who are suffering. Did you know that African-Americans are more likely than any other race to suffer depression? How about the fact that women have higher depression rates than men? I was shocked when I read those statistics.

Why? Because it was a reminder that no one is immune to depression. When I delivered my son, six years ago, I had no idea what post partum was or why I would be experiencing it. Why me? I had done everything in my power to keep my baby inside my womb until they had to take him early. I did everything the doctor’s said, but it was a couple of days later when the reality of his birth hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt sad, tearful, despairing, discouraged, overwhelmed, and alone. I didn’t know why. I wanted my munch, but I felt helpless. I had a lot of anxiety on whether or not he would love me or if I could do it. I was embarrassed.

It was my doctor who noticed what I was going through and explained it to me in the simplest form: When we removed the placenta, your hormones plummeted. Your body is trying to re-adjust. I couldn’t stop crying. He gave me a prescription for Zoloft to help with the transition. That depressed me even more. I sat in the hospital afraid of being released. My munch didn’t like latching on to me as I breastfed and it was overwhelming. Why didn’t he want my milk? What was wrong with me? Nothing, I just didn’t know the level of this depression.

It took me a few months to get back to my “normal self” or whatever that was. I was embarrassed for many years after that. Embarrassed because I had never known any black woman to have suffered from postpartum depression. You know the “strong black woman” mantra that young black women are taught limited my ability to understand that I needed help. But, I never took for granted the fact that I had a great doctor who was proactive in helping me. He helped stabilize my moods.

My story isn’t the same as Robin’s but depression links us all. I will mourn the loss of an incredible actor that manifested brilliance in every scene. I will watch the replays of Robin’s films and I will laugh. I will cry. I will remember. Remember a man who said in one of my favorite movies, “Good Will Hunting”:

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

RIP - Robin Williams
RIP – Robin Williams