Thought Catalog
September 17, 2014

What It’s Like To Survive Suicide

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Trigger warning

I believe everyone’s life is comedic, it’s just the way you view it. 

I’ve been through some shit, we all have. And yet, we all try to up one another on how bad our life is. 

It’s kind of funny, you don’t think about all the things that would happen if you survived a suicide, how awkward it would be.

But before I continue, I would like to say that suicide is not a laughing matter, it is not a joke, and people handle it in many different ways. I’m still battling depression myself, and for me, comedy is therapeutic and that’s how I would like to present this story, because it is quite funny to me, and I do not mean to offend anyone by any means. But in light of Robin Williams’ suicide and reading countless articles, one struck particularly. When I read “Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves” by David Wong, I couldn’t help but feel comforted because I know now that I’m not alone. So I decided to tell one chapter of my story.

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, I swallowed 96 pills in an attempt of suicide. I’m not afraid to admit it anymore, because it was one of the worst/best days of my life.

I never realized how often I said, “Wow, i want to kill myself,” or “This makes me want to commit suicide,” or “I’d rather die than do this” until after I attempted suicide, because I caught myself wanting to say it every time something petty happened to me. It’s sad how easy those phrases roll of the tongue. In a way, our society has been desensitized to death. We see it on the news, we see it happen all around us, it doesn’t affect us, unless it hits home personally.

I was in a dark time in my life, I was lost in every aspect of my life, and felt like no one could understand me. I didn’t want to bombard my friends with my problems because I didn’t want to seem dramatic, and I didn’t want to be a burden. I can take care of my problems myself. I had thought about suicide before, but that day I was depressed and driving and thinking and the thoughts hit me. They weren’t little voices in my head telling me to kill myself, it’s so hard to explain. So I resulted in using poetry, I wrote this 2 days later,

I thought I had it under control,
But it got the best of me, the thoughts pulled me in deeper and deeper,
like the undertow of the ocean,
I went too deep,
and there’s no way I would have lived today,
if I didn’t let it take me

I know I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live.

No one tells you that when you’re on the verge of death, not only do you see heaven, but also hell. I’m not a religious person by any means, and to be honest, I don’t think anyone can or should say they know 100% what happens after you die. But I won’t go into that right now because I’m still searching for the truth.

I remember going to Publix, and casually, I found myself looking at a hot dad while trying to find pills to kill myself. One of my good friends, Adriana, had checked me out, and it was so hard to fake a smile and have a normal conversation, but I did.

I swallowed the pills, and after a few minutes I realized I had just made the second biggest mistake of my life, the first being that time I thought it would be a good idea to put a blonde highlight in my hair.

I called my one of my best friends Stephanie and her and our friend Brian, frantically drove me to the hospital. That was the scariest part of the night — not the fact that I almost died, but the fact that I had called the one friend who was the worst driver to come and drive my car. I remember laying down in the back seat. As she ran red lights and swerved my car around, I thought that if I wasn’t going to die from the pills, I sure as hell was going to die by Stephanie’s driving. 

So we get to the hospital and Stephanie explains that she called earlier and the whole situation, so I expected a nice sympathetic doctor, but being my life, I got the douchebag-old-white-guy-who-has-worked-a-12-hour-shift-today doctor. I remember sitting there feeling the meds kicking in, and him asking me the question, “Why did you take a whole bottle of pills?” and I just remember looking at him, like he just asked a McDonald’s worker if they served burgers. My no response lead him to ask,

“Was it to kill yourself?”

No response.

“Were you trying to sleep?”

Yes, that’s it, I swallowed a whole bottle of pills to try to sleep.

“Were you trying to get high?”

….actually, I didn’t even think about that.

“I need you to tell me why you did this.”

I figured it was for some legal purpose or something so I finally admitted that yes, I did indeed try to kill myself. And then he asked me, “Why?”

And I thought, well, let me sit here in a wheelchair in the lobby of a crowded hospital waiting room with everyone staring and listening because they just heard me say “Yes, I tried to kill myself” out loud, and tell you about my problems like we are on a TV special of freaking Dr. Phil with no commercial interruptions, instead of taking me to the back, so I just looked at him in the face and said, “Life sucks,” and they finally wheeled me to the back.

I got blood drawn, questions asked, and finally after 20 minutes of sitting in the hospital room, right as they told me I’m getting my stomach pumped, the pills started kicking in. The high wasn’t like any high drugs could do, it was a high that can’t be explained, I wouldn’t even call it a high, It was like your soul was in your body, but it wasn’t attached.

I was lying down in my hospital gown and team of “doctors” came in. White, country accented, Christian nurses came to my rescue. As they were lubing the tube that was to go up my nose and down my throat and into my stomach, I noticed the older doctor telling the younger doctor what to do, I looked to the younger guy who was about to pump my stomach and asked, “How many times have you done this?” He looked at me and said sternly, “I would count this as my second time.”

Jesus Christ, this is what I get. 

It was uncomfortable, its exactly what you imagine having a small vacuum cleaner nonconsensually shoved through your nose and down your throat. In fact, I had no idea your nose holes linked to your throat holes, but I guess that would make sense because of that one time I was laughing so hard, the rice I ate started shooting out of my nose like a machine gun.

Then, they decided instead of having me drink the charcoal (which was to absorb the pills that didn’t get sucked up), they would insert it through the tube to make it easier for me. Naturally, I expected the tiny dixie cup of liquid charcoal that was being sucked up by an suction tube wouldn’t get clogged and would only take 3 minutes, but alas, this is my life and it did get clogged.

Multiple times.

Instead of 3 minutes, it took 20, so I had a tube up my nose and in my stomach for about 40 minutes. 

Afterwards, they allowed all of my loving and forgiving and of course not passively aggressive friends who didn’t want answers to come and visit me. I, of course, on the verge of drugs and or death, was able to comply reasonably, and I didn’t drift in and out of consciousness, throw up black tar all over myself, and lose my train of thought mid-sentence.

(That was all sarcasm.)

I then got moved to the ICU, so they could watch my vitals. I have only felt free and liberated two times in my life, once when I wore green spandex for a peter pan costume, the second time was when I got to walk around in a hospital gown with my white bare ass out for everyone to see. Once in the ICU, one of my nurses was woman who didn’t speak English, and the other was your typical, “I’m not a lesbian, (but my blonde haircut seems to say differently)” nurse. I remember it being 2 a.m. and my family came in, and soon it was 4 a.m. and I was still awake, but I was afraid of asking for a sleeping pill, because…well…

Too soon?

The next morning, I woke up to a volunteer outside in the hallway playing violin for an hour, honestly I felt like I was on the sinking Tiitanic, and I imagined the person in the room next to me slowly breathing their last breath as a 20-something year old college student who thought practicing the titanic instrumental score at a hospital would look good on her resume, played in the background. 

More friends came to see me, and after I talked to the lady from the psycho ward, who literally looked like Velma from Scooby Doo, but was obviously one of those girls that got bullied when they were younger, so their hearts hardened and they decided to become a psychologist to understand other people and to ignore the fact that they, themselves, are in fact, psychotic. She diagnosed me as fine to leave, so my friends who came and visited all went with me back to my dorm.

I got back to my dorm and all of my friends were waiting inside, and some had decorated it to a “tropical paradise” with blowup palm trees and candy, I never felt so loved in my life. I never realized how lucky I truly was. How dumb I was for thinking that I had the worst life ever?

My friends might not have understood, no one might ever understand, but I am not asking for understanding, I’m just asking for love and care, and an open heart.

People think negatively of people who kill themselves, they think they’re cowards and some believe that they’re going to hell. That suicide is selfish, and that attempted suicide is just to get attention. I don’t think that, I think for some people, they feel that dying is better than suffering. That sometimes life gets the best of you, that no one can understand what you’re going through. Sometime’s it is to get attention, for people to know that you are hurting, that you aren’t as strong as you seem to be, that you aren’t always the shallow funny guy that brings life into a room every time you step into one. But I made it, and so can you. There is so much beauty and love in this world, and you cannot let the evils of this world drown you.

To all of my friends and family, I’m sorry. It wasn’t your fault and there is nothing that you could have done differently. I’m so lucky to have every single one of you. And If you are that family member or friend of someone who has or attempted suicide, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault, depression is an internal struggle and there’s no way you can cure someone of it yourself, they have to do it. Just be there for them. Help them realize the bigger picture. This world is a big and beautiful place and I can’t wait to explore it and experience everything that I can.

I remember a few months after, someone I had met that didn’t know about my attempt made a joke, “I can’t think of anything worse than failing a suicide, you fail so much at life that you fail to even kill yourself” and I thought, I can think of something worse than failing a suicide, 

and that is actually succeeding in killing yourself.

Because no matter who you are or where you are,

you’re not alone, and you have a story to tell. TC mark

featured image – Steven Depolo

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