It came on suddenly. Suicidal thoughts had been lingering for weeks now, but I had no actual plan to attempt to take my life. Then, just like that, something switched. I started taking my anxiety pills, and then suddenly the bottle was empty. Nothing in the world mattered. I was slipping into darkness and I was allowing it to take me. I was ready to end my life.
And then, a few hours later, I woke up, with a headache and some rage. But I was alive. I survived, yet again, failing at attempting to take my life. Part of me was disappointed. This isn’t the first time I have tried to take my life. But a much larger part of me was grateful. I wasn’t really ready to go, I just wanted to stop feeling all my emotions, even for a moment. I didn’t really want to die, as much as I thought I did. I wanted to stop being emotional. I wanted to be numb. I wanted to feel nothing.
It’s been a week now. I’m safe and not planning on harming myself again, and I’m joining a program that will help my mental health. I went public with my attempt and posted about it on Facebook and told my friends; for me that was a way to stay accountable. I received silence. Friends who I had just been having conversations with went cold. Nobody had a word to say to me.
I realized that this is a problem. People don’t know how to respond to suicide attempts. This is a problem because after a suicide attempt all I wanted was support; but my friends and family didn’t know how to do that for me. I’m not sure what it is; an awkward situation, afraid to make things worse? Whatever the reasoning, silence is not the answer.
The easiest thing to say to someone after a suicide attempt is, “I’m glad you’re still here” or, “I love you.” They are the simplest things to say, yet leave such a major impact. Check in on the person if you’re feeling comfortable enough. Ask them if they need any help, or if they want some company. Or simply, act normal. All I wanted was my life to return to normal after my attempt. If one friend came over and watched a movie with me it would have made a world of a difference.
I get it; knowing someone wanted to die, and recently at that, is a very uncomfortable situation. But you have the power to bring comfort back into their life. Talk about it, start a conversation, and show how much you care. You could be saving someone just by saying hello.