Instead of committing suicide on Tuesday evening, I went grocery shopping and prepared myself a nice dinner. My therapist talked me out of it. If I had to rate the intensity of my desire to kill myself, 10 being the highest, it was 10/10. I considered myself completely rational. “I know this is mental illness and not normal wanting to kill yourself, but I am completely clear-headed,” I said to my therapist. He gently corrected me by reminding me, “it’s a symptom of mental illness.” My plan was to park in the middle of our famous suicide bridge, on which there are suicide hotline signs for the length of the bridge, and then to sit on the edge for a bit, and then “accidentally” fall. My therapist said that officials wouldn’t consider this to be an “accident”.
What triggered me? I wasn’t supposed to go into the conversation with the district attorney with expectations, but I did. There is a part of me which wants justice, and wants to see my ex-abuser put in prison and to be held accountable for his actions. What he did to me over a period of six years was unspeakable, though I have found a voice. The purpose of me giving my verbal statement was to finally get the story out to the justice system, just to tell my story, so that I can continue my healing journey and start to leave the trauma in the past. Talking about the details of the trauma was bound to bring up feelings from the past. On Tuesday of last week, I celebrated. I was on an emotional high after an intense two weeks leading up to it of preparation and anxiety. I maintained that slight euphoria for a few days. I checked out over the weekend by hibernating in my bed so that I wouldn’t have to be awake and psychologically face the reality of the news I got on Friday: that we cannot move forward with the case for lack of evidence. One woman’s voice is not enough, but if another woman comes forward against him in the future, that would be the evidence we need to revive my case. So basically, I thought all of this was for nothing. What was the point of the last four years of painful struggling if it culminates in this very significant event and nothing can be done about it? What then? Why?
Tuesday morning upon waking, I had emotional difficulty in getting up, as usual. I wanted to stay in bed and to not face the day. I didn’t want to go to work (I know many people feel this, but my aversion to going to work is I believe stronger than others). A cloud set over my head while I sat at my desk. I began to think that I didn’t want to be here, on this earth, and that I would rather be dead, or not alive (it’s the same thing but it sounds different). By lunchtime I was actively feeling suicidal and talking to my TalkSpace therapist about those feelings, since I’m able to message her at any time throughout the day. By the afternoon I had decided that I wanted to kill myself and by late afternoon I had come up with a plan. I also had strong intent of carrying the act through, which is when we know the situation is dangerous. I didn’t care about keeping myself “safe”. I was tired of it. In the last several days I had already spoken with my mother and my brother, and even my grandfather, and I thought of those conversations as “goodbye’s”. I just needed to say goodbye to my dear therapist.
He was not willing to accept my goodbye. He listened to my plans, which I explained in detail. He came up with reasons for me to not kill myself, and I shot down every one of them. There were moments of silence whilst he allowed me to think and process my thoughts, and I attempted to force a smile, to let him know that I was okay with my decision to kill myself that night.
Halfway through our psychotherapy session was when he got to me. He said, “you haven’t been a mother yet.” I rationalized, “there are plenty of other mothers out there.” But then he said, “what if your brother had a child?” I caved in. I said, “I would be a pretty good auntie. If it were a girl that would be even better. I would visit often and spoil her.” My therapist knows that I like to knit, which I haven’t done in a while, and he said that the baby would need little socks, and mittens, and scarves. “And a soft blanket!” I chimed in. “But I’ve forgotten how to knit,” I protested. “You will learn,” he said confidently. “Being an auntie is something to keep in mind because it’s important to you,” he reminded me.
And that was it. I complained that he wasn’t making saying goodbye to him easy. He said, “that’s not my job, to make it easy for you.” I said that my therapist from the DBT program at the hospital would probably not want me to die. He agreed and said that he doesn’t want me to die either. I actually smiled. I agreed to not drive out to the bridge. “That’s what I was waiting to hear,” he said. He recommended I go to my favourite grocery store and buy myself something nice to prepare for dinner. “Do you like mochi?” he asked. “Yes, I do!” “They have chocolate and strawberry ice cream flavours…” “And green tea! That’s my favourite!” I was enthusiastic about this idea. He had gotten me from the point of being dead serious about having the police find my drowned and broken body in the bay, to agreeing (not wanting) to stay alive and to treat myself to a dinner that was nice. It ended up being a microwave-from-frozen meal but it was filling and lovely. Instead of having a mochi ice cream ball I had a chocolate lava cake for dessert, even though I wasn’t hungry any more. Because I could. Because I deserved it after a day like that day.
“So then I don’t need to go to a hospital?” “No.” he replied softly. We set up another appointment for a week from Tuesday, at the same time, and I parted with him by saying, “see you next week.” “Bye.” was his only answer, and the last thing he said to me before I walked out and pushed the squeaky door open in order to ride down the elevator and go out into the dimming light of the warm evening.
For the last two months I have been tracking my suicidal thoughts and ideation. Last month it happened twice. This month it has been once so far. Looking back, it actually happens to me on a monthly basis. Not weekly, not daily as it used to be, but monthly. Having recovered from Tuesday, my desire now is to even go one month without feeling suicidal. That would be an accomplishment, although it is not in my control. Not entirely. There will be days when I feel sad, just as there are days when I feel suicidal.
After I left my therapist’s’ office I stayed in the parking lot of his building in my car for an hour madly texting people. I finally had the courage to confront my aunt who has seemed to be so unsupportive. I stopped by a coffee shop to use their free toilet (in America we say “bathroom” but in Europe we just say “toilet”, saying it like it is). I stayed in the parking lot for a while texting. I drove the short distance to the grocery store. I sat in the parking lot sending out more messages. Two and a bit hours later I finally got home. I managed to have dinner before my completely unaware roommate came home. She has no idea that I suffer in this way. Later, two friends each called me for support and I remained on the phone with them until about 11:30 that night. I got a lot of positive encouragement, which continued for the next couple days, which brings me to today. I’m actually writing this blog on my lunch break at work, and I’ll have to pick it up later again.