I found this amazing story about a man, named Kevin Hines, that shared his story with mental illness and a suicide attempt. He was one of few survivors to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and lived to tell his story.
I love how he made a point to say he felt like a burden. I don’t think that people who don’t have a mental illness understand that piece of it. Recovery is possible and this man is living proof.
To all my fellow mental health bloggers, please check out Inner Light Legion’s blog!! Here is his wonderful speech from last Thursday at Sac State University for the Out of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental illness. He did such an incredible job, I’m so proud of him. 🙂
I was asked to speak this past week for a walk that brought awareness to mental heath, mental illness, and suicide prevention. When the coordinator asked me I jumped at the opportunity but I really didn’t know what to speak about. I asked her is there anything specific you want me to speak about, after a solid week of trying to come up with to talk about. She replied through email and said give a little description of what this means to you. She continued by saying what does suicide prevention mean to you? What does mental illness mean? Why is this important to you? I sat for another couple of days thinking this over. And I kept asking myself,”what does this mean”:
This means we have all come together. This means we have all come together as one. This means we have come together as one to bring light…
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I’ve done things at the age of 23 that I’m not proud of, somewhat similar to Monica’s. I’ve had horrible names written on bathroom stalls about me, the whispering, the shit talking, people looking directly into my eyes asking me how I can show my face in public, some family members and friends have bullied me on Facebook and stopped inviting me around. Someone harassed me for months stalking my every move making me feel unsafe to walk to my car alone, texting me from four different untraceable phone numbers a day, knowing what I was wearing and what my plans were every day and even talking about my children.
I was, at a time, left feeling completely alone wanting to end my life. To top it all off, during this time trying to seek help through therapy I was diagnosed with a mental illness that I was suffering with for years prior and the stigma associated with it didn’t help, people called me “crazy”, some people didn’t believe me, or said it’s just made up for attention.
The lack of support, compassion, and empathy from others at a time I was at my lowest was awful. I made mistakes, we all have but nobody deserves to be bullied online or offline. You have no idea what internal battles people are facing. It can take just one person, or in my case, two little people, to help keep us moving forward. Please be kind to others.
It has taken me time and effort to accept the truth that my story is unparalleled and powerful. It has taken me time to finally forgive myself, to stand up for myself and to take back my narrative and to realize that I play a necessary character in the narrative of those around me, as do you. This is my story, I’m not ashamed to share it.
“It’s time. It’s time to take back my narrative.”
Recovering the Desire to Live
“Though my last suicide attempt was 20 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the eve of my 18th birthday. I left the hospital bewildered, scared, and unsure of what would happen next.
At the time, I didn’t have much of a support system. I remember sitting on a ratty couch with my knees hugged up to my chest, trying to decide whether or not to keep on living. In those moments, something inexplicable inside of me shifted, and the part of me that wanted to live gained just the slightest advantage over the part that wanted to die.
I reached out to my family and begged them to let me come home. I began to complete my high school education. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had something to hold on to, just a hint of solid ground beneath my feet.
Recovering the desire to live has been a long and uneven process since then. If recovery seems like an impossible concept to you as you read this, I understand. I had to take baby steps. I had to swallow my shame and ask for a lot of help. I had to find something, anything, to believe in, no matter how small. I had to work very hard, every day, to keep the part of me that wanted to live stronger than the part that wanted to die. I’ve found relief through cultivating a group of dedicated and supportive friends.
Don’t be ashamed or afraid to tell the truth of what you have known. By doing so, you break down the walls of silence and shame that surround suicide. You can use your own survival story, no matter how messy or uneven or imperfect it may be, to help someone else strengthen the part inside that wants to live. In this way, we can each make this world a safer place to fall apart, and to find ourselves again, in the healing space of supportive community.”
WELCOME TO MIDNIGHT. WELCOME TO WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY.
Posted on: 9 September 2014
By: Jamie Tworkowski
“Welcome to Midnight. That’s what we say when the ball drops and a new year begins. I like that moment because beyond the fireworks and resolutions, beyond the kisses and celebration, is the quiet hope that something can be new. That it’s possible to leave the past behind and start again. There’s nothing extra special on television tonight, no clapping crowd in Times Square, no parade scheduled for the morning. But this midnight means World Suicide Prevention Day, and we would like to think this day can be significant. Not because the world needs another holiday, and not because we need a stage to stand on. We believe in World Suicide Prevention Day for the same reasons we love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Because perhaps it’s possible to change. Perhaps it’s possible to start again. Perhaps it’s possible for things to be new. We know that change takes more than a moment, and we aren’t saying it will be easy, but we’re saying that it’s worth it. This life. This night. Your story. Your pain. Your hope. It matters. All of it matters. You’re loved. You matter to this world and you matter to the people who love you. So stay. Please stay. No one else can play your part.”
I am doing this 31 days of BPD challenge because of the stigma associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is probably one of the last talked about (honestly) and explained from personal experience than any other mental illness. All these prompts have to do with characteristics of BPD, whether to do with specific symptoms and criteria of the illness or vague questions about items that are related to the illness, ex questions about specific relationships.
I remember every detail of when I hit my level of rock bottom. It was 3 years ago, I had just left my husband and was living in my own apartment, I had never been on my own in my entire life. I had no idea how to handle finances, or how to be a single parent to my two kids. My ex-husband had me on a pedestal and took care of everything the 7 years we were together. Most of my family disowned me for a few minutes there for cheating and leaving my husband instead of trying to make the marriage work, but I was in love with someone else and didn’t think the marriage could be repaired at the time. I was selfish, dumb and acted on impulse. This new man that I had fallen so head over heals with was supposedly head over heals for me, but was leading both his ex wife and myself on. I didn’t know who he wanted to be with, and the fact that I had to even question that is pretty pathetic, but like I said, I was dumb. I fell in love with the wrong man, but he was the only man I wanted to spend my life with. After a few long months of him leading us both on, and people whispering in my ear about how dumb I was, I had enough. I couldn’t function anymore, I was losing my fight, my battle to win him over. I was slowly slipping into depression. To top it all off, I racked up my credit cards and was living paycheck to paycheck. Shortly after, received an eviction notice on my front door. I was falling apart. I felt terrified, alone, sad, heart broken. I felt like a horrible mother. I was in the ER with panic attacks, stayed up late at night having trouble breathing. It was the worst feeling in the world.
It was 11am on a Saturday morning when I was lying on the floor of my apartment shaking, and crying. I thought to myself, I can’t move. I can’t do this, I want out. I’m done. Then a few minutes of thinking, it hit me. My kids. Oh my God, I don’t want them to struggle, I don’t want them to not have a mother, they were so little. Just thinking about my kids made me instantly sit up and seek some serious help. I don’t think I left my couch all weekend, but that Monday morning I was making an emergency therapy appointment. I needed to talk to someone, anyone. That first session with my therapist, he diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder based on my history and stories and from there, I slowly started picking up the pieces and getting through everything one day at a time.
No, I have never attempted suicide, or written a suicide letter. This was my rock bottom moment, but even at my worst, I couldn’t handle the thought of suicide because of my two beautiful kids. They mean the world to me, they are why I get out of bed every morning.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, or know someone struggling with suicide, please call 1-800-273- 8255 or visit: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org