The Time I Almost Ended My Life

tertia van rensburg
tertia van rensburg

This article is not to step on anyone’s toes. This is not meant to be an article directed at me playing the victim card. This is simply an article bringing awareness to suicide, depression, finding true genuine happiness, and how short life truly is. This is an article about my attempts I have had with suicide. And how I failed at each attempt. This is an article of me discussing how I never finished what I started and why it was the biggest blessing for me. I understand this is a very touchy subject, one for me as well. Which is why I have hardly ever openly discussed my personal suicide story.

I think most of us, myself included, have lost someone very close to our hearts who has committed suicide. Truth is, we can never fully understand what is going on in someone’s head and the reasons behind why they thought of ending their lives. We are not them. But, we all struggle. We are all imperfect. I have learned the strongest people, have gone through hell and back – made it on the other side. And will tell about it. To all the lost souls who just want to be found. To any who has been bullied. To anyone who has been abused, mentally and physically. To all the families and friends who have been impacted by suicide. This article is for you.

“And I don’t want the world to see me, because I don’t think that they’d understand. When everything’s meant to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.” ~ Iris, Goo Goo Dolls

I was approaching the 6th grade. Middle school here I come. I thought I knew it all. I had a great group of friends. Life was going well.

Ever since I can remember, I expressed myself more than most children. I would always notice how when I would walk into a crowd, I could almost feel people staring at me. This got me anxious as a child but I usually acted like it didn’t phase me.

As a child, I was fairly outspoken than the rest of the kids. I listened to different music. Wore different clothes. And just went with it. I never thought about it.

One Friday night, I was sitting in my mom’s van after we all went out to dinner together. My family went inside and I stayed in the car for a little bit. An anonymous number pulled up on my cellphone. I answered, and several voices came back at me saying

“Hey faggot.”

“So, I heard you suck dick. How does it taste?”

“You’re a pussy.”

“You’re a girl.”

I sat in the car staring at my phone in shock and disbelief. I had no words. It was like in that very first moment I recall of what I would consider bullying, I had no way to defend myself. I felt powerless. Disabled. Questionable. Unreasonable. Misunderstood.

I hung up the phone. They called again. I ignored the call and shut my phone off. I sat in my mom’s car and cried. Hysterically cried. I told no one.

As time passed, the comments started getting worse.

I was at the corn-maze in town one night with a group of friends, as I was walking into the entrance of the maze. A kid stood on a table in front of everyone and yelled out “Alex’s a faggot!” His friends started laughing. Moments later someone chucked pieces of a cornstalk at my head. My friends immediately stood up for me. “Leave him alone!” “Back off!” they said.

I felt utterly embarrassed. But, I didn’t show it. I think I remember even laughing at the kids who were publicly humiliating me. My friend turned to me and said, “Aren’t you going to say something to them?” I replied, “No. It’s fine.” and we all went on with our night. I told no one.

Kids starting tp-ing my house on the regular. “FAG” was carved into the grass.

Everywhere I turned, I could not get away from the hate.

It got to the point where I just left them have it so much that I was only fooling myself, only damaging myself. My thoughts were encompassing me, wanting to break free and explode.

It got to the point where I could not even look at myself in the mirror without feeling humiliated for the person who I was.

A boy who had an identity that was formed by everyone else. Everyone who did not personally know me at the time. A boy who wanted to leave this earth because he thought everyone would be better off without him. A boy who felt nothing, so he chose to feel pain. A boy who felt like an outcast. But, also felt invisible to who he truly was.

Dead people don’t bleed. Obviously. If you can bleed, see it, feel it, you know you are alive.

The first night I cut myself I removed a blade from the razor. I stood over the sink and tried doing it gently at first. Then, I realized that was a stupid idea. I thought to myself, “Rip it off like a band-aid.” I dug the blade deep into my skin. Felt a stinging sensation. My pulse quickly rising. The blood started to pour out. I began to feel as if I were in a trance.

That bright red line, like a highway route on a map that you want to follow to see where it leads. And—God—the sweet release, that’s the best way I can describe it, kind of like a balloon that’s tied to a little kid’s hand, which somehow breaks free and floats into the sky. You just know that balloon is thinking, Ha, I don’t belong to you after all; and at the same time, Do they have any idea how beautiful the view is from up here? And then the balloon remembers, after the fact, that it has a wicked fear of heights.

Then, reality kicks in. You think, shit I just did that. You feel embarrassed. You feel the back beat of your pulse.

I was never a big cutter. But, when I did, all I wanted was to feel something. And when I did, I told no one.

As time went on throughout middle school, there would be days better than others. I always kept a smile on my face. “You’re always so happy!” people would say. “I love to be around you.” some would say. Those words meant nothing to me. The negativity always outweighed the positivity.

I graduated from middle school and went into high-school. Each year of high-school fundamentally shaped me for who I am today. I laughed a lot. I loved to go out with friends. I love to have a good time. Most of all, I loved to distract myself from what my actual thoughts were telling me.

I remember thinking to myself one day in high-school a thought that came up quite a bit in middle school. “What if I am really what all those kids call me?” This question echoed in the back of my mind all day long. I could never shut it off. It was like a whisper. Just when you think the thought was gone, it came around the corner and bit you back in the ass.

The summer from my freshman year to sophomore year of high-school, I slept a lot. I was very depressed. I was exhausted everyday. I felt like I had no purpose. I stopped believing that there was a God. I stopped believing that there was any hope left out there.

I remember pulling up Facebook one night and I got a message from someone saying, “You’re gay.” and they kept typing this over and over and over again… I got off the computer and went down to my room. Grabbed a bottle of sleeping pills and took a good handle. Not the whole bottle, but what I would consider a lot. It was around midnight. I remember writing a note and shoving it in my closet.

The note read, “I’m so sorry. You’re all better off. – Alex” That’s literally it. I was having my own pity party.

I woke up at 6pm the following day. Confused and delirious. It didn’t work. Fuck. I grabbed the letter I wrote and burned it. I told no one.

I looked at this as a sign, maybe it wasn’t successful for a reason. I’ll try to keep going.

Keep going. Keep going. It felt like time was at a stand still yet never stopped.

My sophomore year, I became very reserved. Everyday was a drag. Everyday felt like a waste. Everyday, I felt like I did not belong. Like God, the universe, had abandoned me.

I remember being in the hallways standing by the lockers one day alone, a good friend of mine came up to me and said, “I never see you anymore. You never come out. We miss you.” That meant a lot to me. I replied with, “I miss you guys too!” But, in my mind, there was a constant struggle of being afraid to go out. Being afraid to face the world and the people in it.

In my room, I felt safe. I felt alone. I knew I was in control and only I could disappoint myself.

My sophomore year, I was seeing a therapist. I wanted to know why I was feeling depressed. My parents were going through a difference. I was bullied for years on end. I was questioning my sexuality. I had no idea who or what I was. I had no idea why kids could be so cruel.

I’d like to say therapy helped me a bit, which it did. But therapy didn’t make the depression go away. Therapy didn’t take away the feeling of me being afraid to close my eyes at night. The feeling of me running down an endless tunnel where I can see the light but it keeps getting further and further away.

I was at a strange stage in my life. Hiding who I was. Hiding how I was feeling to the world. Spending an ample amount of time alone and never feeling more lonely. Going to department stores contemplating on whether or not I should buy a rope. Looking at bars and poles in my house to see which one would work. I never told anyone.

I enjoyed the fact that I felt like I was in full control of my life. Like I could end it at any moment. I never thought the tables would be turned. Life is precious, and we tend to do nothing other than take it for granted.

I was in a severe car accident sophomore year that changed my perception of humanity – the world – the goodness of all. Never in my life can I honestly say that you never feel more stronger than when being strong is all you have left.

When breathing is the most important thing to stay alive.

Just breathe.

My life has been an emotional roller coaster. Everyone has a story. We all stand together. No one can go through it alone. Suicide is not selfish. Suicide may be, for some people, what feels like the only option. For me, I know it did at the time.

The happiest people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. The happiest people can put up the biggest masks.

Please, never be afraid to tell anyone how you feel.

Ask someone, “How are you doing?” Smile at them. Let them know they matter and they exist to you. I know it’s simple but those simplistic actions go longer than you know. We are all wired for struggle. We are all capable of love and belonging.

I hate to see that someone has committed suicide. Regardless of whether or not I know the person, it takes a hold on me. I may not have gone exactly what they went through, but I understand.

Suicide rates are only increasing. I believe, what we need to do more, is talk about it. Make a conversation. If you notice something off with your friend, ask them. For me personally, no one would’ve ever known. Unless I told them. It’s hard. And no one said it was going to be easy.

I sit here today thankful to be on this side, knowing there are others who chose not to be. Their journey was cut short. Life is temporary. Nothing lasts for ever. Hold each second like it’s your last.

I have always thought of myself who couldn’t finish what he started, I used to consider that a flaw. Today, I consider it a gift.TC mark

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