In this emerging blogger post, Megan of Be Alright writes about experiencing suicidal ideation for the first time.
On September 21, 2016 I experienced intense suicidal thoughts for the first time. I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live.
At the time I was working for a local newspaper, I had to go to some strange historical event where we sat in this old house on a steep hill for a story.
I had just experienced a breakup that really crushed my heart. It was my first love. I had been experiencing intense anxiety and depression but on this day it took on a new form for me.
I sat on a long wooden bench in a small, hot room when my brain said, “Kill yourself.”
It startled me.
I tried to focus on the people talking about history but I couldn’t over the loud phrase my brain had on repeat.
Once the event ended I ran to my car and sped to the home as quickly as I could. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t breathe.
I called the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) where a woman helped calm me down until my therapist called me back. Whoever that woman was, she truly helped me.
From that day on I went through a long process of multi-week therapy sessions, weekly doctors appointments to find my correct medicine and eventually a trip to a psychiatrist. At that point, my physician’s assistant Laura and my therapist Elise were the two people I could truly count on.
I would think, “If I ended my life, I think Elise and Laura would be sad. They would wonder how they could have helped me better, what more they could have said or done.
The only time I truly considered ending my life was October 2016 when I was driving on the highway to a school board meeting I was covering for work. In a split second I thought, I should drive off the bridge and die in a horrible car crash. I couldn’t imagine that I would survive such a fall in my super junky car.
But in the next split second, I thought about my coworker Phil.
Phil is in his early 60s and has worked as the police and fire reporter for 30 years at that newspaper. I knew he would be listening to the police scanner and would hear about the crash. He would rush to the scene to see that it was his fellow coworker, his backup police and fire reporter who he personally trained, who had perished.
Since that night, it took me trying out five different antidepressants over the course of four months to get on the right medication to help me with my suicidal thoughts. In late April 2017 I found my match and have been on the same medicine since.
As I reflect and experience discussions about suicide, people who haven’t gone through it can’t understand why people end their lives or why they have suicidal thoughts. As my psychiatrist said, it totally goes against humans’ innate survival instinct. True proof that mental illnesses are in fact illnesses despite what some people skeptical of science think.
When I hear about people who die by suicide, my heart truly breaks for them. I think about how depressed they were and how deeply they were suffering.
Having been there, I understand. I understand when many people may not.
In September 2016 I was 23 years old, now I’m 26. I experienced my rock bottom and still live to tell the story.
Suicidal thoughts and mental illness are not necessarily a death sentence. Having a support system in place and access to the right care can make all of the difference.
If you’re reading this and are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I truly hope that you choose to continue living in this world.
You can find Megan on her blog, Be Alright.
The Straight Talk on Suicide page has crisis and safety planning resources, along with info on suicide-related topics from the perspective of someone who’s been there.