My Dance with Suicide

Suicide has been in the news so much more lately. It seems that I run into people quite often now, that a suicide has touched their life. I do not know if this is because it is more prevalent or if the stigma related to it has just gone away. Either way, I feel guided to share my own personal experience with suicide. This is a story I seldom share with anyone but I have decided to now, hoping that it will help someone in some way.

First off, I have never been diagnosed as depressed or with any psychiatric illness. I have also never taken medications for mood or psychiatric issues, not that there is anything wrong if someone does have psychiatric issues or needs psychiatric medications. These are true conditions and illnesses that many people struggle with daily. These medications are life changing for many and there should be no stigma associated with these diagnoses or medications. I just say this to simply let you know that this was not a part of my story. I also was not using drugs or drinking. None of the usual suspects contribute to my journey down this dark road.

This took place when I was a teenager. I was angry. I felt alone, although I was not. I felt unloved, although many people loved me. I cannot say if it was because of the hormonal surges that all teenagers go through or perhaps just related to the fact that I focused on all the bad (in my life) and ignored the good. I wrapped the drama of everything around me like a protective cloak. What we think about we bring about, so this quickly became a downward spiral for me.

All of this darkness, anger, and very low vibration continued until I finally came to the point that I wanted to take my life. I was in high school and I wrote a note to my best friend. Just thanking her for being a wonderful friend. I left school early and went home. My parents were both at work. At home, alone, I gathered the supplies to execute my plan. I had decided to take a bottle of aspirin and cut my wrists. I didn’t want to risk that I might not be successful in executing my plan. I wrote my note. I do not remember what was going through my head while I was writing the note, but I do still have it tucked away.

As I was getting ready, the phone rang and I answered it. I can’t say why I answered the phone, but I did. The school counselor had been alerted by my best friend, who had figured out what I was going to do from the note I had left her. I spoke to my mother and the counselor came out to the house to speak with me. I lied and told everyone that it was never my plan to commit suicide. Privately I was very glad that my plan had been foiled and I suddenly looked forward to the next day. Perhaps I just needed the confirmation that people did indeed care. Perhaps I needed the chance to see there was more to life than the darkness that had enveloped me. Whatever the reason, I have never had thoughts of ending my life since. My friendship totally fell apart and this dance with suicide caused the loss of my best friend.

Fast forward to now. I live a blessed life. I am a happy and positive person. It is hard to look back and even realize that I was that same angsty, suicidal teenager. I have since found my high school best friend and apologized to her for my lie. I truly felt horrible for this lie. Perhaps this is why I believe that lies are among the worst thing you can do and why I do not tell lies. I told this dear woman that she did, in fact, save my life and I was very grateful for her intervention. I love life. At that time I could not have anticipated the twists and turns my life was going to take, nor could I have begun to guess how magical and full of blessings my life would be.

I wish back then I could have known that the darkness that so easily settles in your soul can be shed by changing your focus. It does not happen over night but by counting blessing and looking for the silver lining it can begin to shift. I wish I had known that I had the power to take control of my life. I wish I would have realized that I was not alone. I wish I had know that it was safe to talk to adults about how I was feeling. I wish I would have realized that the hormones that were raging through my body could have been contributing to how I was feeling. I wish I would have known that what I was experiencing many others also experience. That I was normal. I wish I could have realized how many people really care even if they way they showed it was kind of messed up.

If you are in a dark or low place. Please get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. You do not know what blessings are waiting for you in the future. There are more lives that are touched by yours than you can even imagine. If your life has been touched by someone’s suicide, I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you have been impacted by. I send kind and loving intentions to all of you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you see all the blessings in your life, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken at Blue Springs, FL

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What Do You Regret?

I like to listen to music while I work. It helps me concentrate. Your Side of the Bed by Little Big Town was playing. In that song they ask “Are you sleeping with your own regrets?” It got me thinking about regrets. I have always tried to live a regret free existence. I have always felt that we do the best we can in the time and place we are in. Even with this philosophy, there have been a couple things in my life that I have struggled with. Sharing these regrets makes me very nervous. They are things I do not talk about. What is interesting to me as I reflect on this is that I don’t mind sharing with strangers but I am very nervous to have people who know me aware of them. I guess I fear being judged.
One of those things was related to my first husband’s daughter. She ended up in foster care. I, for a long time, regretted that I didn’t try and get custody of her. At that time in my life, I had two children that I was raising as a single mother. I felt I was not in a place to be able to take on another child. After this girl became an adult, I was able to make contact with her. I told her I was sorry that I did not fight to get custody of her. She was very gracious and said that she was just fine and that she has gone on to get a degree in social services. Perhaps her childhood was related to her calling in life. Perhaps that is why the Universe conspired for me to feel I could not take on raising her. Maybe her upbringing turned out to be better for her than anything I could have provided her with.
Do you believe in soul contracts? The idea that we come into this life with set experiences we are meant to have. When I first heard about the idea, I was not so sure about it. Now I find it is a good fit for my belief system. It makes sense to me. If I had saved her from foster care would I have cheated her out of one of her soul contracts? Or would I have cheated myself out of the experience of regret and trying to make amends? Do soul contracts mean we do not try to help others? I do not think so. Helping others could likely be one of our soul contracts. Do you think regret serves a purpose? Does the avoidance of regret help us make better choices?
Another time in my life, I regretted, was when I was a teenager. I was depressed and was going to commit suicide. One of my friends realized what I intended to do. She told the counselor who drove out to my house. The close call made me re-evaluate the importance of life and I have never been suicidal since. My friend saved my life and I am eternally grateful for the action she took. My regret is in the action I took after the counselor was alerted. I lied. I told the counselor, my mother, everyone, that my friend was wrong. It made her look foolish. We were never friends again after that day. I lost my best friend as a result of that lie. I have since contacted her and expressed my gratitude, as well as, apologized for lying. She forgave me.
I recently wrote a blog called Beneficial Forgiveness.  Dealing with these regrets is a perfect place to practice forgiving yourself. Remind yourself that you did do the best you could, in the time and place you were in then.
How have regrets shaped your life? Do you have regrets? Are there some you can’t seem to move past? How can you work on forgiving yourself for these things?

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