Hey, I wonder if the subject line caught your attention. What were your first thoughts? I wish I could say that was just a catch phrase to grab your attention. But the truth is, that IS MY truth.
I TRIED TO KILL MYSELF!
I wonder if I could recall how many times I tried. I wonder if I could tell you the ways, times, and things that surround that phrase. While some of the times I know, some of them I don’t recall.
As a child, I learned early (not sure from where), that threatening suicide would get me the attention I wanted. It was LEARNED behavior for me. I remember saying those words to my parents for the first time, and then I remember saying it many times after. Those FIVE words, "I tried to kill myself" became my unconscious coping mechanism. Even tho the thoughts were real, the fear was real also. I was afraid to live and I was afraid to die.
My mom would ask with confusion, “why are you always saying that Sharhonda”. I can STILL recall the look of hurt and despair in my mom’s eyes when I would yell those words out, amidst the tears and horror I was feeling. I remember, my dad, grandmothers, uncles and aunts, and brother always wondering what was wrong with me. Those words caused so many questions in my home. Many left unanswered.
The truth is, I didn’t know. I didn’t know why I was feeling that way. Honestly, I did NOT know what I was feeling. I just know those words; those FIVE words were OFTEN on the other side of my feelings. “I’m going to kill myself”.
Man, reflecting on that now is difficult. As I look at children I know, my nieces, nephews, and godchildren, I wonder, do THEY know what they feel? Have THEY felt it? How many times have THEY felt it? Does anyone hear, “the loudest cry ever”? That is what I call the silent voice of those that are suffering with suicidal thoughts.
Those FIVE words were a resound, almost a refrain for me many times. I wonder why? I wonder where I learned them. I wonder how they became my thought for escape.
Here is what I know. I know my parents, family, and support were very curious about those words. They often surrounded me, listened to me, and heard me out. They were intentional and present for me and maybe, just maybe, that is what I was searching for.
A few months ago, on a LIVE Sistah Chat show with my sister-in-LOVE Lashon (who I affectionately call “My Sister”), I realized a trigger I had in 2005 that brought those feelings up. That trigger was linked to a missed family portrait from decades before. That trigger was real. It was from childhood but SURFACED in my adult life and was DANGEROUS.
I STILL had not learned what to do with those feelings. I still had not learned how to adequately respond to triggers. WAIT… I did NOT even know what triggers were at that point.
The moral of the story is, THOSE FIVE WORDS… “I’M GOING TO KILL MYSELF”, followed me for decades. They were a part of my toxic thought patterns.
UNTIL…I DID THE WORK!
I got in a place to understand what was happening. What is “THE WORK” you ask. I worked with my therapist using EMDR therapy and unmasking the layers of pain, hurt, disappointment, and other powerful emotions that caused me to FEEL that way.
My husband knew and was familiar with my struggle with Suicide Ideation (thoughts of suicide or thoughts of taking your life). He’s known me a long time. Some years back, we were at an event at church. We had just walked in the door and settled in before getting a call. Someone we knew and loved had chosen the day of their passing (died by suicide). WE were devastated, in shock and completely overwhelmed by the story and by what happened. I remember him holding me in that moment and saying, “please don’t ever do that to me”. For the first time, in my life (and I had lost other friends to suicide), I clearly understood the impact of those five words and worst, the fullness of executing them.
Listen, my story is not an isolated story. It is the story of so many; of too many if you will. Even, someone you may know. In one year, four of my friends attempted suicide. The attempt for two ended in devastating life-threatening injuries. The blessing is, THEY SURVIVED. THEY LIVED to tell their story. That is not the same outcome for all of my friends and loved ones.
YOU can help. YOU can make a difference in the life of someone with suicide ideation who thinks those five words will solve it all.
You can Reach Out.
You can Listen.
You can Recommend Help.
Your presence. Your compassion. Your love matters.
I hope in some way, my story has left you informed, and you have a greater understanding of suicide.
I hope you realize that ANYONE, no matter how STRONG they seem may be struggling with suicide ideation.
I hope you will educate yourself, so that YOU can be the H.O.P.E. someone needs to LIVE.
***If you or someone you know is struggling with powerful emotions and cannot identify the trigger, schedule your appointment for a Brainspotting or EMDR session. If you want to talk with someone and identify, acknowledge and address your emotions, one of our therapists would be happy to assist you on your wellness journey.
Contact the office at 704-741-0919 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.