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
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.