Written by Taylor Jones.
The first time I thought about killing myself was after my first adoptive mom died; or at least that’s the first time I remember thinking about it. I was living with my biological mom at the time, before I would be placed into foster homes. I didn’t know what I was doing, or why I was thinking about it, but I remember looking at my sparkly belt, and thinking of choking myself with it, and dying. I didn’t think death was permanent. I just knew I didn’t want to live anymore. I don’t think I acted on it, but that was the first day I remember the suicidal thoughts starting. I was about three or four then, and they really haven’t stopped since.
It never occurred to be that living with suicidal thoughts were not only abnormal, but dangerous.
I didn’t tell anyone about it, not because I was ashamed; somehow being ashamed, but because the thought didn’t even cross my mind. I just thought that’s how people thought about themselves sometimes. After I was adopted, I still felt that way from time to time. I felt some shame after adoption; part of me expected to have those feelings go away, and I felt selfish for still feeling that way. Again, however, I still kept those thoughts to myself. I just figured everyone felt that way. It never occurred to be that living with suicidal thoughts were not only abnormal, but dangerous.
He asked me how I had ever planned to kill myself, and I listed off ideas, as if I were an auctioneer.
The first time my mom discovered I had a plan, she brought me to the hospital; I was a senior in high school, a week away from graduation. I’m lucky, because my mom was pretty proactive about my mental health. I remember sitting with her and the doctor as he interviewed me, asking about depression, anxiety, the normal routine. He asked me if I had ever been suicidal, to which I replied oh yeah like it wasn’t a big deal. My mom, who is rarely taken off guard, was dumbfounded. He asked me how I had ever planned to kill myself, and I listed off ideas, as if I were an auctioneer. My moms jaw dropped to the floor, and I think it took all she had to not cry. That was the first time I realized being suicidal wasn’t normal.
I felt ashamed.
I felt ashamed of how worried I had made my family, and even more of the label of “crazy” I felt I had gained. I tried talking to my friends about it after the weekend passed, and it was brushed off as me being attention seeking. I didn’t talk to anyone else again about my suicidal thoughts, which turned into attempts that went unnoticed, which turned into unhealthy habits and behaviors, and a vicious cycle. That cycle didn’t break until an important phone call with one of my favorite cousins.
I just thought I was better off dead. I didn’t think I made a difference.
He was asking me about my mental health (he’s a doctor, and our family uses his title as we try to get him to diagnosis us constantly; we just love how smart he is, and it really is impressive when he shares his wealth of knowledge) and I was being very shy about what was going on. I think he sensed that, and he started telling me about how serious mental illness really is. He then told me something that changed my life forever; at the emergency room, someone coming in with a heart attack and someone coming in with suicidal thoughts and plans are treated with the same severity. Hearing this from not only a man I looked up to, but from a doctor, changed my perspective. I never thought mental illness was serious enough. I just thought I was better off dead. I didn’t think I made a difference, and I thought it was okay to live thinking that way; I was wrong.
I went from feeling ashamed, to giving a voice to people who thought they were alone.
I went to doctors, and programs, I took medications, and did treatments. The one thing that really curbed my urges was writing. So I wrote the article When You’re In The Gray Area Of Being Suicidal;
an article about what it’s like to live with suicidal ideation, when you’re not in the state of active planning, but more in the mindset of trying not to throw yourself into traffic when just walking down the street. And it went viral. I went from feeling ashamed, to giving a voice to people who thought they were alone. Being suicidal isn’t a healthy, normal thought; but I wasn’t the only one struggling, and it brought me comfort to know there were millions (and I mean literally, millions
) of people reading my post saying that they finally understood.
I still struggle with feeling suicidal.
I still struggle with feeling suicidal. But now I know that’s when I need to reach out, and text a Crisis Center, or go to the hospital. I am finding things to live for, even if it’s a tiny thing. I’m finding value in myself, and even if I have to take it day by day, that’s a win for me.