By Angela Le Quieu –
It is interesting to me that of the two children my parents brought in to this world both of us have had brushes with suicide.(Read my sisters story here.) Our experiences are as different as we are, but it can be said that we each came to a low point and thought about ending it all.
The low points have different origins and the reasons that we are here today are different as well. We are individuals. Each person that reaches that point of considering suicide is different as well. In light of the recent loss of Robin Williams, a beloved personality, the subject of suicide has been widely talked about. I think it is a mistake to lump together every person who has suicidal thoughts or actions in to one category. Instead I think we should look at the roads that lead to such actions and thoughts.
For me I had lived with depression for many years. I cannot say when my depression started, but it had to be after five years of age. Before then everyone who knew me said I was a happy child. After that the story changes. I know that as I grew older I developed coping mechanisms; I was the life of the party, charismatic, genial, and always trying to please or make peace. I also became very artistic. When I was low art and poetry were my outlets.
Until I was in my early twenties this sufficed for me. Then I got engaged to a man who was not good for me. I got sick and he left me. At this point my depression spiraled out of control. I began to have panic attacks. I became agoraphobic. To top that all off my illness caused me to be in pain to the point where I could not breathe without the help of pain killers. I was 24 and my lowest and darkest days happened in that year.
That was the year that I nearly took my own life. I remember the day very clearly. I had moved back into my parents’ house and I was seeing a doctor regularly for the pain and depression. I had made an appointment to see a therapist, but I had not yet been in for treatment yet. My doctor had prescribed an anti-depressant until I could see a mental health professional. It made everything worse. I was too weak both mentally and physically to do anything but take the pills I was told to take. They turned me in to a zombie, or at least that was the only way I could describe it. I slept 20 hours or more a day, I barely ate, I had no desire to do anything, or even participate in the world. On one occasion my blood sugar dropped so low because I had not eaten that I passed out and my parents had to force feed me to keep me from going into a blood sugar related comma. It was bad and I had little hope that things would get better.
Then that auspicious day came. I am not sure what lead up to it because I only remember waking up and going for my gun. I had an antique single action 22 long riffle and I loaded it with a hallow point round. This story could have been very different at this point. My parents could have come home from work and found my brains scattered across my room, or they could have found me wounded and permanently brain damaged, but I am here and writing. What did happen was me sitting on the side of my bed with a barrel in my mouth trying to position it just right and something intervened. I heard God speak. Wither people believe in God or not on that day God was there in my room and in my head.
“This is NOT you,” the voice said, “Take the gun into another room, throw out those pills and go back to sleep.” That is exactly what I did. It was not me. That was the first time and the last I had ever been seriously suicidal and it was dead serious (pun intended).
I have thought about that day many times since then. Would I have felt the same way without the medication? Who knows? My mental health people thought that I was well beyond the age where those meds cause suicidal thoughts or actions. Without the health issues would I have come to that point? I do not know. I do know I have dwelt with worsening health over the past eight years combined with depression without going that far. There is one thing I do know however in all of this; there was no person who could have helped me right in that moment. Only the intervention of the divine preserved my life. That may not be very much of a comfort to those thinking about suicide on the surface, but think about this: what is the purpose of a life? I did not know what my life was for at that point. It took a year for me to have hope and reason to live again.
In our darkest moments it is very hard to even imagine that there is any value to our lives. But a life cut short is like a story that was never finished. How is the ending to be known if the beginning and only part of the idle has been written? Suicide is a definite end, but so many times it makes a short story out of what could be a novel. The path that might lead one to think about suicide might be the beginning of a long and exciting road.
If I had ended my life at 24 there are so many thing that never would have come to pass, so many friendships and adventure which would have never happened. I have touched many lives. I have written many words, done amazing art, found the love of my life, and achieved many goals despite my physical limitations. There were things for me to do and there still are.
If life is a story I want to know where it will go and I am so glad I did not dictate the ended before it got good. I believe that God is the author of life and it is God that is still writing my story.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide get help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.