I’m a Suicide Survivor and Not Afraid to Out Myself

Even Lady Gaga and Prince Harry are trying to end the stigma and talk about mental health. So 36 years later, I’m outing myself. I tried to kill myself when I was a teenager. I was in an abusive situation, and I couldn’t take it anymore. My first thought on regaining consciousness, with my family looking at me from the foot of my bed, was that I was so useless I couldn’t even kill myself properly. It became The Big Secret. Never spoken of again.

“Was I hungry? Did I want something to drink?”

A few days later, a nurse from the hospital called. “How are you doing?”

“Fine.”

“Good-bye.”

I carried on. Struggling with anxiety, depression, panic attacks. Now in 2017, I hope it’s better. I hope more would be done. That a suicide survivor wouldn’t leave the hospital until somebody was helping them.

I wonder about people around me back then (e.g. family, neighbours, teachers, classmates). People knew something was wrong. Nobody asked:

“Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”

“How are you really doing?”

The same thing people should be asking today if they’re worried about someone. Then, as 6 time Canadian Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating and Mental Health activist Clara Hughes recommends, listen. Just listen. Listen. And get them help.

To people thinking of killing themselves, I can only say don’t do it. It’s not your time.

One more thing. If someone has tried to kill themselves in the past, and their life goes to shit and they’re feeling depressed, I think they are far more likely to have suicidal thoughts again than someone who isn’t a suicide survivor. Again, let’s talk. Listen.

I’ve definitely thought of suicide again since the first try. Two more times over the years. Once I even had a detailed plan that was only foiled because of the people who love me. Not my time.

©2017 Jan L. Mayes

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

If you are in crisis, please go to your local hospital or call emergency services immediately.

Si vous êtes en crise, veuillez appeler le 911 ou vous rendre au service d’urgence le plus proche.

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