Facing The Aftermath Of A Suicide Attempt

Milada Vigerova
Milada Vigerova

Suicide is a sensitive topic that many people seem to flounder about when it is brought up. Understandably so as it can be uncomfortable, heart-breaking, confusing, and devastating to talk about. The overwhelming truth of it is though, is that many people have either attempted suicide or know someone that has either attempted it or have actually died that way.

Those of us who are not familiar with suicide sometimes have difficulty understanding the ‘what’ and ‘why’ aspect of it all. We want to understand what is going on through a persons brain; what drives them to such an extreme such as ending their own life. As someone who has attempted to take her own life, I can tell you from my own personal experience that the answers to such questions sometimes do not come so easily.

Last November I faced the lowest period of my life and I found myself wildly unhappy.

I was extremely depressed and I was reverting back to using self harm as my main coping mechanism. The easiest and the most difficult thing to do at that time was pretend that I was happy.

Now this seems like the worlds biggest oxymoron. After years of hiding the fact that I was in so much emotional pain and turmoil, it was easy to put a smile on my face and act like everything was fine. It was also fairly difficult at the same time; a part of you is screaming on the inside for someone to reach through that facade and finally see that you are not okay.

I was dealing with a lot of personal issues, and after years and years of throwing my problems under the rug- never truly dealing with them- I ended up snapping. Thirty sleeping pills later, I found myself in the hospital, hooked up to a wild array of machines and completely out of it. I do not remember much of being in the hospital that night, but the following days, weeks, months, and to this day still, I can remember clearly.

You Feel Shame, Guilt, and You End Up Hating Yourself:

Looking back now, the easy part of all of that was attempting to kill myself. The time that has followed has been some of the most difficult times I have ever gone through. I had always been scared of dying, which may seem like a contradiction to my story that I have shared thus far. That night though, I was so fed up with the world and my own life that I was almost angry at myself for being scared of dying; so I pushed through that fear and took the pills.

I remember feeling…proud. It was a sort of a ‘ha!’ moment to myself, like I finally proved to myself that I could do it. Once I was awake in the hospital though, I could not stop crying. I felt ashamed at myself that I could not just deal with my own problems like ‘normal’ people do. I felt like there was something severely wrong with me.

My life had escalated to this point that I was laying in a hospital bed with my parents looking at me with teary, worried eyes. I remember being asked: “Why? Why did you do this to yourself?” and all I could respond with was more tears. The guilt that I have faced since then was unbearable. When someone takes their own life, or attempts to do so, it does not affect just them. Suicide and attempting suicide affects everyone in that persons life. It creates deep emotional wounds that are not forgotten.

It took me a long time to fully forgive myself for not only the damage I did to the people that I care about, but also to forgive myself. The amount of hatred I felt for myself was insufferable. Every day I would berate myself for all the mistakes I had made in my life and I hated myself for putting everyone else through this distress.

The Flashbacks That Follow Are Haunting:

This may not seem like the worst thing that could happen after attempting suicide, but the flashbacks were quite possibly one of the most difficult things to get through. There are certain things that trigger everyone, and with a traumatic experience like attempted suicide, the flashbacks can be almost debilitating.

There were times where I would be driving, or even working out at the gym, and I would get hit by a random flashback. All the air in your lungs rushes out of you, and it’s hard to breathe, you feel like your heart is sinking, and the rest of your day is ruined. It took me a long time to finally ‘snap out’ of the flashbacks. To this very day, I will still get them from out of the blue; though not nearly as often as I used to.

You Feel Like You Are Bothering Everyone By Talking About It:

It is definitely recommended that you see a counsellor after attempting suicide. Everyone needs someone to talk to at times. I am probably one of the biggest advocates for counseling because honestly, everyone needs counseling at some point in his or her life. A counsellor is also a great tool because while you may talk to your friends and family about what happened, you may start to feel like it’s overkill.

You may feel like you are just bothering those people and so you just quit talking about it. The fact of the matter is though, the more you talk about it, the better it is. You quit letting this experience hold so much power over you. You will stop it right in its tracks. Even though you may feel like you are just repeating yourself, and you may worry that you are boring the person you are talking to; if they really care about you and love you, they will not mind listening to you talk about it.

You Will Think About Doing It Again:

Life gets tough sometimes, that is inevitable. There will be some things you will face that may break you, or close to it. Most likely you will think about attempting suicide again. The thought will cross your mind, and since you have already done it once before, the second time would be easier.

You will not be going into it blind, you will know exactly what to expect and you will know exactly what to do. However, you also will know the effects that it has on yourself, and everyone around you if it does not work. It will then become a battle of whether or not it is really worth it to try again- which it is never worth it.

We all have weak moments in our lives. Everyone has a story and experiences that they have gone through that made them who they are today. I believe that as much as attempting suicide was a horrible experience, it has helped shape me into who I am today.

It is completely normal to feel hopeless sometimes, but that is why there are resources such as counsellors, suicide hotlines, or even friends and family that you can connect with to help you. It is okay to not be okay. You are most definitely not alone in any of this. As weak as you may feel sometimes, and as much as you may want to give in, please keep fighting.

Use your own personal experience as a strong voice and a beacon of hope to help others who are going through the same thing. Stop the stigma of suicide and attempting suicide as being seen as ‘weak’ or ‘selfish’. It is a serious issue that cannot be taken lightly, and the more people know the truth about it, the more they can be informed. TC mark

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