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‘I was afraid to be’

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This week’s post is by Ann Taylor. She’s an aspiring advocate for suicide prevention, 51, the mother of two teenage boys, a domestic violence advocate, a photographer and a physical therapist. This is her coming-out:

so, here’s my story.

aug. 2007:  “mom has passed,” my brother says.

aug. 2008: “i’m done,” my husband says.

feb. 2009: “i love you, dad,” i say for the last time.

jan. 2010: “he didn’t make it,” my friend discloses.

a turn of events that happened just so very quickly. some expected, some by surprise.

my life before that had been going along smoothly. a bit too shy growing up, a small self-esteem issue, and fearful that i was too different from others, being 6’2” … but a life full of friends and supportive, loving parents. good enough grades. nice boyfriend. no drama. no horrific memories. i can’t say it was always bliss, but i certainly have no complaints. undergrad degree. masters. happily employed. married to a man i was passionate about. two children.
beautiful life. or so i thought. then my mind “fell apart.”

what went wrong?

therapists say it was a bombardment of too many stressful events so close in time. friends say, “this is normal. time heals.” my boys say, “i love you.” and i’m too stoic to say, “help.”

i distinctly remember my first flirt with suicide. sitting with close friends at their home “enjoying” a beautiful glass of cab, my boys laughing downstairs with the energy that friday nights bring, my heart racing, my mind spinning, knowing i was in some sort of altered space that i wasn’t confident i could contain. i suggested that i may be tired (unlike me) and should probably head home. i did, which was walking distance a block away. the boys wanted to stay and were invited to spend the night. i should have never been alone.

i walked into the gorgeous night fearful and overwhelmed. made it home. placed a call to my psychiatrist that i may be in trouble. the on-call doctor was less than helpful. i, out of anxiety and a strong desire to disappear, indulged in an overdose of medications that had been in the bathroom cabinet, of no use, for who knows how many years. they had never been thrown away. had they been, my life today would be so very different.

i have continued along my course of not wanting to live. i have had three more suicide attempts. i have been involuntarily held in psychiatric hospitals four times and voluntarily at least 10 times. it has been almost two years since my last attempt and one year since my last hospitalization. i closed off almost all friendships. i did not reveal myself in public. i was afraid of people. i was afraid to be. i still am.

i hired a wonderful caretaker to assist in my safety at night and to dispense necessary medications. i hired a “life adjustment” team to reintegrate me into the necessities of a day. i maintain weekly appointments with a psychiatrist and psychologist. i am involved in a suicide attempters support group. i lost one very close friend who couldn’t comprehend what i had done (which still breaks me) and faded out with most. i live in shame. i am judged. but i am
coming back.

i have been asked to tell my story on film. i did. i have shared my story with my teenage boys, who are proud and supportive. i have shared my story now with about 15 friends. there is support. i feel stronger, less shame. SILENCE is what was killing me.

and now i share my story with you.

5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. So glad you are still here and fighting! Please dont forget to love yourself and be proud of your bravery and the work you are doing! Hugs!!!

    Reply

  2. Thank you so much for stepping into the light. Your story was straight from the heart. Thank you thank you. I too “came out” this year and the feeling is so freeing. I hope you find what you are looking for and get what you need out here with all of us. From the heart.

    Reply

  3. I’m so glad you didn’t let these life situations get the better of you. You took steps to obtain professional resources to help you heal. That’s important.
    Losing a friend is hard, but there are many people who don’t understand. Suffering from long term depression and suicidal thoughts often results in lost careers, friends, and even family. Income disappears as expenses mount. It is difficult to envision having any kind of interest in life. It’s great you were able to escape! Others could learn from you how they too can be successful at overcoming suicidal thoughts.

    Reply

  4. Ann,
    Please believe me when I say, “it will get better”.
    Mine was Dec. 17, ’08. Christmas was in a medical hospital; New Years in The Bin. My wife turned off my cell phone while I was in my 2-day coma. She called on the hospital phone a few days later to say we were done. My father and younger sister waited 6 weeks to visit for a weekend and had little to say. A year later my older sister told me l was not her responsibility or her problem. A year-and-a-half later, after a surprise visit by my now ex-wife, my birthday marked another stay in a psychiatric unit. A woman with a long history of depression and near-fatal depressive episodes told me “it gets better” for 3 years before I started to believe her, but she was right. It does. And now, with more of us “showing ourselves”, it’s going to get even better, even faster.
    Be good. Stay well.
    You have strength.
    You have support.

    Reply

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