Column: “I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know.”

Many times those that succumb to suicide feel completely and totally alone. Often it helps to hear from others that have faced the same inner turmoil and problems. In a recent article by Lisa Harper she earnestly tells the story of her own personal experiences facing suicide, and facing her own mothers suicide as well. And above all it’s a story of there being hope despite the darkness.

Please read the full article here: “I Survived A Suicide Attempt And Here’s What You Should Know.”  via the St.Petersburg Times.

“The night I planned my death I was a 15-year-old sophomore living in Brandon. I remember feeling like an empty shell, feeling … nothing … as if I didn’t really exist with anything to tie me to this world.

I injected myself with a full syringe of my diabetic brother’s insulin, lay down on my bed and waited for the end. But, a strange thing happened: A screen opened in my mind and a movie of my life began to play out. I saw in my mind’s eye all the things I’d seen and experienced, and all the people I loved. I realized life was worth living. It wasn’t my time to go, so I told my terrified mother what I’d done, and she took me to the hospital.

Fast-forward to 2009, when I received another urgent phone call. This time it was my brother, confirming my worst fears about Mom. A lifetime of fighting the exhilarating mood swings and crushing depressions of bipolar disorder had finally overwhelmed her. I remember my feet giving way, a pit of icy agony opening in my stomach as I slid down the wall, wondering, “What? What? Why?”

Living with mental illness is not easy. After all, there’s no blood test to confirm depression or any brain scan to prove an anxiety disorder. More than once, when Mom’s bipolar disorder sent her into an exhausting manic episode, even I wanted to yell at her to “just get over it!”

I should have known better. After all, I had spent years in therapy dealing with my own depression, anxiety and bulimia. I eventually became so sick, I ended my career in television news to escape the glaring spotlight. It would take years until I felt strong enough to tell our story.

As suicide rates continue to rise, now is the time to look beyond negative stereotypes about mental illness. This requires empathy, the kind of understanding that starts when we withhold judgment and look beyond what we can’t objectively understand to change society’s perspective on diseases of the mind and how we talk about them.

For instance, I don’t say my mom committed suicide. Criminals commit armed robbery or homicide. My mother died by suicide. The bipolar disorder she fought for so many years had finally twisted her reasoning to the point that she actually believed we would be better off without her. The depths of my mother’s despair must have been unbearable.

We must also remember that mental illness is a chronic disease, like cancer or diabetes. If a friend were having an asthma attack or chest pains because of heart disease, would you tell that friend to tough it out?

Finally, we must be bold and step out of our comfort zones to actively assist people who are struggling. The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” If you’re reading this and considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or chat with someone by texting CONNECT to 741741.

You’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I know the darkness doesn’t have to last.”

Read the original article here:

I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know