World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity for everyone to join together to promote understanding about suicide and highlight how to help spread the word about suicide prevention and the potential for hope and healing.
I have been quiet on the subject publicly for over a year, However, I feel compelled to speak out! Suicide and mental illness is a taboo topic and yet it’s one that I feel strongly should be spoken about. As I write this my cat is curled up next to me, I’m eating apple pie, drinking chocolate milk and shaking with anxiety, for fear of people’s judgement, perceptions and reactions. But, you see, I know all too well what it means to reach the point where you begin to contemplate what your life means to yourself and your loved ones. You begin to contemplate what your worth is in society. And you begin to wonder, is it even worth living anymore? Because how else can you escape the pain you endure every waking moment? People who feel like this aren’t going to reach out, we feel embarrassed, or that no one will take us seriously, or worst of all we don’t want to burden the people we love with our crap. Which is how I'm feeling about even posting this....
Some of you may not believe me, as outward appearances or behaviors would refute, but…. I’m a survivor; I’ve stared into the blank walls of the ER psych ward and seen the officer standing outside, guarding me and keeping me safe from myself. I had the schizophrenic roommate that’d scream out to her demons in the night and threaten my life during her waking hours. Just over a year ago I found myself hospitalized for what seemed an exorbitant amount of time; scared, confused and depressed. I struggled with these dark, morbid thoughts and all I can say is that they consume you from the inside out. They destroyed my daily thoughts and actions. They took away from my work, my passions, from being present with the people I love. I'd mask it so well with joking around, laughter, alcohol and most of all silence... no one could have known.
I’m the least likely person you thought would be speaking out about this, right? I have it all: an amazing husband, a roof over my head, a car to drive, the most amazing network of friends and family that has taught me what family really, truly means. I have the financial means to support myself and a job that allowed me to do what I’m passionate about. But when I was hurt on the job and rendered useless (though time and time again I tried to prove that wrong by going back) it only exacerbated the fact that I couldn’t do it like I once could. I found my lowermost point at the bottom of a pill bottle, “enough to kill a large man” one doctor said “you’re one lucky little lady”. I didn’t think so at the time, but in retrospect I know that I am one of the lucky ones. So much has happened in this past year it’s insane! If you told me a year ago that my marriage would be stronger, I’d live in a newer more amazing home and own my own small business that fills my heart with so much joy, I would have laughed right in your face! I'm not here to tell you it's easy, because that would be a lie, I'm here to tell you there's hope.
I’m more open about my experience as I find myself growing stronger over time, learning how to combat my disease and taking the appropriate measures such as exercise, therapy and medication (which I used to be ashamed of the fact that I needed). I may struggle some days, but I still am out there, smiling at the next stranger to pass me by… because it is the simple hug, the smile, the warmth of laughter and heartfelt “hello” that helped prevent me from relapsing in the beginning. And it is because of the kindness I’ve received on my journey from those near and dear to me that I pay it forward, that I speak out. The conversation needs to start. It starts with the survivors, like me. Because at the end of the day, change starts with one, change starts here.
Hello, my name is Chloe and I have a mental illness and I’m a survivor.
I’m always, always available to talk. If you or someone you know needs help I encourage you to reach out, asking for help is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I’m thankful every day for that choice and willingness to try <3
Crisis Services Canada, enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support by phone, in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 Available 24/7
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