I was eighteen. I was done. I’ve read that a lot of suicides are impulsive acts, but mine was a culmination of years of careful contemplation.
I had a reason for every pill I swallowed, every incision. I’d tried for what I felt was the last reasonable time, and been mistreated by the last person. I had no other exit strategy- I’d been on my own a bit over a year, with no finances to improve my situation.
I was staying with friends, but of course there were strings attached. I was done with the strings. I was going to sever them. So I did.
It was going along according to plan. I fell asleep.
But I was found and put in a car by the friend who was one of the reasons. The fire truck met the friend part of the way to the hospital, and that is why I am here.
I woke up in the hospital covered in vomit and charcoal with a nurse screaming at me. Her words are the most vivid part of this whole memory for me. She told me I was selfish, taking a bed from people who deserved it, that I was a waste of time.
I wanted to tell her I agreed, which is why I’d tried to kill myself in the first place! But I don’t remember responding. I’m not sure if I could; there were tubes everywhere.
I wished I never woke up then. First thought, even before the nurse’s tirade was No. Not this, not still. A crushing wave of disappointment.
After, I was committed by the state. The police who arrested me for the crime of suicide didn’t want to cuff me. They tried to call and get permission not to do it, but they had to follow the rules. They cuffed me loosely. They treated me like glass, carrying me from the wheelchair to their car and strapping me in.
And then there was a sea of psychologists who couldn’t get me to divulge my secrets. I was asked if there was anyone I wanted to call.
There was no one.
I said what I thought I had to- that it was all a big mistake, I was fine.
What about these scars and cuts? They’d ask, mildly interested.
Nothing. I fell on a fence. I’d say, or whatever other thing. I remember protesting, claiming innocence, but I don’t remember specifics. I didn’t have access to pointy things like pens for journaling.
And then I was released, because what can you do? And I was alive, although I wished I wasn’t.
It took me a long time to be grateful to the firemen for driving in a rush to revive me.
The main thing that kept me alive after was knowing I could fail, and then be locked up.
But whatever it takes, really.
I’m alive, and I am glad I’m alive.
I had coffee this morning with hazelnut milk. When I was eighteen, I’d never had coffee with hazelnut milk. I’d never sat at the table I sit at now surrounded by books and garden gnomes and a person I can call in an emergency.
Sometimes it takes time, and depression comes and goes in waves. I built a boat for myself without the doctors, because I don’t like being out of control locked up. That’s fair enough. Whatever gets you though. We’re finished soon enough as it is.
That’s why I am for police and other emergency personal carrying Narcan and being trained to handle overdoses. Life is too precious to throw it away that easily at eighteen. Before you learn you can weasel your way out of all kinds of things!
Yes, some people overdose again and again. Give them chances. It’s a simple application of a drug.
Don’t be that nurse screaming at someone already at their lowest all the words they’ve said to themselves a million times: you’re selfish, you’re taking from people better than you, you’re a waste of time.
Time is a gift. Give it.