One year ago, I made what I thought would be the last decision of my life, a decision to end it. I was alone in my basement, and I made a near-fatal attempt. Rushed to the hospital eight hours later, I survived after spending three days in intensive care and relying on a multitude of medications to keep my heart pumping and lungs breathing.
Lessons From a Suicide Attempt
What have I learned throughout the past 365 days? Here’s the top four lessons:
Recovery isn’t linear.
A diagnosis and a script for a bottle of pills after my attempt did not fix everything right away. I learned that recovery isn’t an “A to Z,” easy peasy process. It requires hard work and long days, setbacks and victories. I took steps forward, leaps back and baby steps sideways occasionally. I have to remember that although I’m not where I hoped I’d be, I’m way further ahead than I was last year. This, in itself, is something to celebrate.
People love and care about me.
From doctors to friends and family, people want to see me succeed and thrive. People believe in me. My support system is there on my good days and my bad days. They want me to reach out for help. Even when my illness tells me I’m useless, unlovable and completely unworthy, I’m learning that’s just my illness firing bullets of pain to my head. I need to shield myself against those thoughts and trust they are lies the enemy is trying to convince me of. I am more, I am lovable, I am a doer and a changer.
I don’t have to reach a crisis before I reach out.
Feeling low? I need to call my doctor of therapist right away. Nipping it in the bud is far more effective than letting emotions fester until they blow up and create a crisis. A simple phone conversation, appointment or medication adjustment is more amiable than an ambulance ride and time in the hospital, let alone destroying my body even more.
Self-care is not selfish.
As much as I pour into others, it’s OK to pour into me as well. The old saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Paint a picture. Go for a walk. Write a letter. Visit grandma. Take a bath. Sing real loud. I’m learning that it’s OK (and necessary) to do at least one thing a day to help myself.
Last but most certainly not least, my life is worth living.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here