May 10, 2011
I left my boyfriend’s house with a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness. The pain of my existence became too much for me and I wanted to end it. I had lived most of my life in a mindset of self-hatred and lack of worthiness. At 22 years of age, I couldn’t see it getting any better.
I drove to the end of the street where a highly trafficked street lay perpendicular, and parked my car. I stepped onto the sidewalk and stood there. To the drivers I probably looked like someone trying to jaywalk to the other side. I doubt they could see my deep inner anguish and desire to die. I stood there for at least fifteen minutes, trying to gather the courage to jump in front of a car and put myself out of the misery I felt everyday.
Standing there, I hoped for a bus, to make sure that it really stuck. But as the minutes passed and no bus came I started to think about the consequences. I worried about the people inside the cars. I kept thinking about the drivers and how traumatic it would be for them to have killed a person. I didn’t want to hurt someone else, I only wanted to hurt myself.
So I got back into my car and I drove, looking for salvation. I had been sober for five months and didn’t want to relapse. My ego (which ultimately saved my life) told me that I wanted to die soberly. I had too much pride.
(I know that if I had relapsed that day, I would probably not be writing this right now. So I thank God, Buddha, Jesus, Gaia, Krishna, Spirit, everyone and everything that saved me that day.)
After my plan of jumping in front of a car failed, I drove around searching for another solution. I was waiting to hear back from my insurance about whether or not they would cover IOP (Intensive Outpatient Therapy), and I felt that I was lost. I looked into the distance and my eyes stumbled upon the mountains that spread across the Arizona panorama.
I drove to the mountains and my proposed destruction. This was perfect; no one else would be involved and I could literally beat myself to death, rolling down the rocks into a pit of emotional destitution.
I climbed to the top of a mountain. Taking a moment, I texted my boyfriend and told him, “I’m on top of a mountain and I want to die.” His response, which was apropos to my past dramatics and poetic nature, was: “Stop with all the metaphors.”
“I’m going to kill myself.”
Mountains and Metaphors
Looking back at this moment, I feel a disconnect to this person and this intense desperation of relief from my intolerable reality. However, at the time the pain and the struggle were all I had known, and there was no light in the distance.
So I tried to roll down the mountain. I saw the way down and I thought it was my way out. Understanding that it would undoubtedly be painful and if I survived I would have major injuries, I struggled against my natural inclination of self-preservation.
There was a fight inside of me: a tiny inkling of hope that I had learned in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous versus my suffering. The idea that things will get better challenged the pain that had dictated my life for as long as I could remember.
I spent another decent amount of time trying to “trick” myself to fall or start rolling. The desire to throw myself down a mountain was against my biological survival skills, so naturally, my body froze and resisted. A new idea popped into my head, What if I lay down and log roll? I laid down in the dirt as if about to fall into eternal slumber. Yet, this proved fruitless as well.
Angry at myself and my lack of courage to commit suicide, I eventually conceded to life. I sat down on a boulder and looked off into the distance. To this day I can still remember the landscape and image perfectly.
Looking up, I saw a patch of blue sky with scattered, voluptuous clouds sitting picturesquely between two tall mountains.
And for the first time, in what felt like my entire life, I was overcome with serenity.
It lasted only a second, but it was all I needed. In this moment I knew everything was going to work out. Not in a empirical, intellectual way, but in a spiritual, visceral sense. I felt like God had spoken to me and said:
It’s going to be okay.
I sat there for a while, staring at my Sistine Chapel, until I decided it was time to start living my life. I got into my car and started driving back home. As I approached the freeway on-ramp, my mom called and told me that the insurance had approved my therapy.
My life changed in that moment.
Now I know that, technically-speaking, I didn’t attempt suicide. However, the desire and the motivation were definitely there, which is why I refer to it as my Soft-Core Suicide Attempt. Some days I remind myself of that day to remember where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.
September 12, 2019
It’s been over eight years since that day I wanted to take my life. I’ve had other suicidal ideations and considerable planning over the years of mental health and emotional recovery, but nothing as intense as that day in May.
At the end of this year I’ll be celebrating nine years of sobriety. It’s incredible to me to see the drastic change I’ve experienced as a result of hard work and faith.
I’ve gone on a spiritual journey to save my life. Consequently, I’ve created a life filled with happiness and gratitude. Every day, I am truly happy. This was a foreign concept to me up until a few months ago, but I never gave up the fight. I held my faith and hope for a better life inside my soul like a candle flickering in the wind.
There are still things that make me sad or are a struggle, but I am nowhere near that person I was that day on top of the mountain.
I’ve taken many different approaches to saving my life: intensive therapy, psychiatric care and medication, 12- Step programs, prayer, meditation, self-help books, volunteering, leaps of faith, and plant medicine. Everything I’ve done has made me into the person I am today.
With the understanding that I am the only person who will forever be a constant in my life, I have dedicated my time and energy to improving my relationship to myself, above all. While still showing up in love and presence in my other relationships, I have learned how to optimize my me-time. Learning that it is only by loving myself that I can truly love another.
Today I can honestly and confidently tell you that I love myself, which is something I never would have imagined fathomable eight years ago, or even two years ago for that matter. It’s been a journey and at times a struggle, but I am grateful for my life. I am so blessed for my sobriety and recovery, for my health, for my friends and family, and, for the thing that makes all that possible, my life.