I am a humble survivor. I never intended to share my struggle with suicidal thoughts, but lately I've been thinking about it a lot. I haven't been thinking about killing myself. I've been thinking about how one day I came so very close and looking back at it, I'm amazed to realize that it was the last day that I ever felt suicidal. I was trying hard to remember the date because at the time, I wasn’t aware of what was occuring so I didn’t note it. The date wasn’t stuck in my mind. Then today, for no particular reason at all, I decided to look through my documents and writings. I write so many things that I never share. I felt like there was something in there that was ripe for sharing with you all… and there it was. I had forgotten that I wrote an essay titled “Suicidal Ideation.”
Over the years, I would struggle off and on with suicidal thoughts and fantasies. It was always tucked away like a skeleton in my closet. I could even compare it to a security blanket. Every time life got hard, I took comfort in the fact that whether or not to commit suicide was within my control. The last day of my life that I felt suicidal, I decided to write an essay to myself about it. I wanted to get to the bottom of it; to understand it. I wanted to leave something behind that would help people understand should I happen to give in to the urge unexpectedly. Without knowing what I was doing, I healed that day.
I was always sure that one day, I would just do it on a whim. Like, one day I would just have had enough and I would just do it. Finally. Get it over with. Fuck it. There are times when my own grief drops me to my knees in despair. But as sensitive as I am, more often there are times when another person’s grief will drop me to my knees in despair…and I’ll mistake it as my own. When I’m struggling with something, it’s like it makes my soul porous and I absorb the same emotions from others until I literally collapse under the weight of the world. But I won’t know I’m taking this on from others because I have my own struggle so I just assign the heaviness to that. I used to berate myself for it – it’s not that bad! Snap out of it! Other people have it much worse than you!! This is how I was taught to deal with depression. This is what was said to me by people who didn’t know what else to say. And it made sense!
After I wrote my essay, I read it from the eyes of the one who would find it because I knew I was going to do it. I was so relieved to have made the decision. But when I read my words through another’s eyes, I sobbed with compassion. I remember talking to myself that day, all day, and instead of shame, anger, contempt, regret and fear, I was compassionate. I was outside myself looking in until finally, from the inside something shifted. I want to live, and not for the one who would find my essay, but for myself. No matter what it takes, I want to live. I have a purpose for being here, for everything that's ever happened to me. I wanted to live because I fell in love with myself; with my strength; with my fortitude; with my love.
I've faced death in other forms - illness, injury, and I've even had a gun put to my head more than once. During those times, I survived by telling myself that if I was going to go it would be on my terms. I was tough! I was hard and cold and calculating. I decided to live because if anyone was going to take me out, it would be me. There was a part of me that knew that the biggest enemy I would ever face would be myself. I always knew that, even as a child. I never let anyone close enough to really know me. I was a mirror to all except myself. All of the near death experiences I've had have increased my psychic abilities exponentially. There’s something about a brush with death that heightens your awareness. Everything becomes acute and colorful. It’s exhilerating. For some, it’s addictive. It’s the way that I started life. I was born not breathing and unresponsive for several minutes. My parents were told that I had approximately 48 hours until I died from the injuries of birth. Somehow I lived and from my first breath, I’ve had this acute awareness of everything. I can remember being in diapers and trying to master this thing called walking. I remember wanting to run and play with the kids. I remember the first time I understood what a toilet was for and used it successfully. I could see and feel energies and since it began with that initial grasp at life, I had no idea that it was unusual. For me, it was simply reality.
There are different types of psychics and I am the type that ran away from it. Spirit put it on me. Spirit chose me. It was never my choice. I asserted my free will through open rebellion against it. I doubted myself as others doubted me. I hated myself as others hated me. I was annoyed with myself as others were annoyed with me. I blocked myself from human connection as best I could. I withdrew into myself and spoke softly, if at all. I could hear people’s thoughts in a soft voice and frequently I would try to return my thoughts and inevitably I was ignored. I didn't know they couldn't hear me! Every time I came close to breaking free of my abilities, I faced death in one form or another until I surrendered to it.
In some circles, this is called shamanic illness and it either kills you or drives you insane unless you heal yourself. When I finally discovered what was going on, I was in my early twenties. I begged God to take it away to no avail. In my younger years, I didn’t know I was psychic. I didn’t understand that people weren’t knowingly hurting me. I thought they knew how I felt the way that I knew how they felt. I was raw and unaware of myself as separate from others. It’s hard for me to fathom what it must be like to not just know things. I’ve been called arrogant for always having an answer and being unwilling to explain how. I didn't know how I knew. When I first decided, almost 20 years ago, to explore how I might control my psychic abilities, I would constantly be amazed. On a daily basis, I’d think “wow, that’s a thing?” At the age of 45 years old, I am still discovering things about myself that aren’t typical of others’ knowing and experiences. I’m still amazed at the lack of sensitivity in much of humanity.
People talk about what I do with wonder and it makes me uncomfortable. People wish they had the ability to see things the way I do and I cringe. Be careful what you wish for! It’s always my answer. It hurts to feel the world. It really does. Even when I accepted it was real and started doing readings professionally, I rejected it within myself. I could help others fix themselves but I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me! Why couldn't I love this about myself? I searched for ways to protect myself from it. I doubted the value of it.
I learned about the Law of Attraction. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why I seemed to attract people who would betray me when all I ever do is love. I love without reservation. I was raised in a Christian home. I was always taught to forgive no matter what. Forgive for your own sake, they would tell me. I was taught that love is supposed to be unconditional. But the way I experienced compassion for my abusers was just another form of self hatred. I was betraying myself by ignoring my own pain and dignity. Otherwise, I felt like I was wallowing in it.
I was constantly told to stop feeling sorry for myself…and I did. In fact, I never felt sorry for myself past the age of 13 when my parents filed for divorce. I was the oldest. No matter what happened in my life, I lived up to my responsibilities and I did what had to be done. I accepted the consequences for other people’s choices because I could feel the heavy weight of responsibility whether it belonged to me or not. Somebody had to do it and the pull to fix the environment surrounding me (if nothing else) was irresistible. I faced death by illness, by accident, by attempted suicide, by attempted murder and I overcame it all. As long as I could fulfill my duties, I had a reason to live. I became a teenage mother so this attitude kept me going for many years. Until one day, it didn’t. Another test.
My ability to live up to my duties was stripped from me and I was lost. It started with injuries that limited my ability to work. As I began to heal from those injuries, I was afflicted with mysterious illnesses that doctors couldn’t explain. As soon as I’d begin to recover from one illness, another one would manifest. This went on for ten years. I healed myself and I found creative ways to handle my responsibilities. That’s when betrayal from the people I loved and nurtured who I had surrounded myself with began to intensify. I won’t go into the story behind it in too much detail. Not because it’s too painful, but because it’s not as relevant as the fact that my final showdown had begun. The battle I was to have with my own darkness was right now!
I always intuitively knew this battle was coming and when it arrived, I fought valiantly until I was worn down into utter hopelessness. Week by week turned into day by day and then turned into minute by minute and then breath by breath. Death seemed to be the only escape. When people told me they loved me and they wanted me around, I felt angry. When people told me that suicide was selfish, I felt bitter. I focused on how selfish it was of them to expect me to suffer for their sake, especially those I felt had betrayed me. It sounded nice. I understood where they were coming from. They were coming from a place of fear. They feared their own loss. They feared their own guilt. Other people's love was never going to save me. I hope if you have lost someone you love to suicide, that you can understand how it was never about you.
I won that battle. It’s a battle that many people lose and I take care to never forget that. It’s not that I stopped having problems that are hard to solve. My life is not a whole lot different now than it was that day to be honest. But I’m different. I choose to live and if I die, it will not be at my own hand. My new life started the day I decided that I would indeed feel sorry for myself. I wrote that essay and I read it and I cried and I felt so fucking sorry for myself. Little did I know, the thing I resisted most in my entire life is the thing that saved my life. Little did I know that the moment I started feeling sorry for myself, I won the battle. Finally.
I had no idea that would be the last time I wanted to kill myself. In feeling that incredibly sorry for myself, I decided that I deserved my own love and even if I didn’t I was going to fight for me anyway because I knew I would do it without hesitation for anyone else I loved. If I could have rewound time and saved my friend who killed herself, I would not have hesitated. This is not something that someone else could have done for me. Other people helped me hold on a little longer, but it all boiled down to me becoming my own savior. In the essay, I sort of dance around the subject, but I knew in my heart why I was writing it – I was planning to betray myself and take my own life. Self-betrayal was a repeating pattern that I was blind to. In the end, I decided I deserve compassion more than I deserve betrayal. I transformed. A happy side effect is that I stopped experiencing betrayal in all its forms, all the time. If I am betrayed by another, I take care of myself instead of taking it to the next level. Human beings haven't changed. I have.
You might be surprised to learn how recently this was. I have decided to publish that essay. I’m drawn to do so and I don’t know why, but a long time ago during another one of my episodes of suicidal ideation, a wise man told me the reason I was going through it was because somebody I hadn’t met needed me. I’m thinking, if you’re reading this, maybe you need to know that you deserve your own compassion. So this is how I won my last battle with shamanic illness. I’ve faced death and chosen life time after time, but I never did it for myself. I always chose to live for the sake of others and that is why the urge to die never left me until that day. On this particular day, not so long ago, I removed the option of betraying myself from my list of choices. That decision caused my transformation.
Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, I was able to handle my responsibilities again. The next day, I put my foot on the gas and I didn’t ease up on it. It started with a moment of surrender, which led to self-acceptance, which led to self-compassion, which led to self-trust, which led to self-care, which led to self-love. My focus was narrow: Survive. I did it, which led to self-pride! I hope telling this story brings some light and understanding into the world. The darkest place to be in life is to be misunderstood by yourself and by others. It’s been a hard climb out of the darkness, but this day was the catalyst for me. I do what I do for a living, but I don’t do it for the money. Healing is my passion and my mission. You can heal. I promise. Being the private person that I am, this isn't an easy thing for me to share. But I know so much about people without being told, I think it's fair to let you see a little bit of me. Thank you.
Yesterday, I was asked to write a letter outlining my hopes and expectations for the future. It was for a more specific reason but this isn’t that letter. What I have to say is going to be raw and dark and in a strange way, it might even be beautiful. The thing is, this should have been the easiest thing in the world for me to do since I’m a writer. But it wasn’t. It brought on a very dark, heavy feeling inside of me and I decided to sleep on it. What I woke up with was a suicide note. This has happened before and “jokes” about suicide have come out of my mouth in conversations before I could stop them. I work very hard on keeping my energy positive and I focus on enjoying the moments of my life. So it was a little surprising to me today to wake up, once again, feeling suicidal. I struggled with the emotions I was feeling for a while and eventually I surrendered my tears. I thought, “why can’t I shake these episodes?” and that got me to thinking about how long I had been having episodes of passive suicidal ideation.
Passive suicidal ideation is a perceived desire to die without having a plan for how to take your own life. I actually have lots of education about suicide, personal and educational. I have an associate’s degree in psychology. I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts since I was an adolescent, off and on. People in my family have attempted or completed suicide. A friend of mine committed suicide about a year and a half ago and I’m still grieving that loss. I also happen to be a psychic medium and I’ve helped people connect to loved ones on the other side who died at their own hands. I know a whole lot about suicidal ideation and I’ve realized for a long time that it’s something I’ve been doing more frequently lately. Today, I was able to craft a 6 month plan outline of my hopes for the future. From there, I found no ability to envision the future and in that moment I decided that if this plan failed, I would kill myself. I decided this with a “once and for all” feeling. I’m tired. Because I am also a thinking being in addition to an emotional being, in this moment I realize I am in danger from myself. I know I need help but I am frozen. I can’t call, text or write anyone until the heavy grip of despair is loosened. I’ve been here before and I know when this happens that my job is to just hold on and breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
If this was a suicide note, I would explain all the reasons I’m tired. It’s not. Anyone who is very close to me would know why I’m tired but I’ll explain that I only have that one reason for wanting to end my life. I’m tired of trying and failing and I’m tired of feeling frustrated. I fully understand that I am my own worst enemy most of the time. I lost my confidence in myself for what I feel like are good reasons, but they aren’t true reasons. I just can’t seem to find my way out of the emotional storm and it has come to a point where I know I’m sabotaging myself but I can’t seem to gain a foothold long enough to stop. Everything and just about everyone has been stripped from my life in the last 5 years and I’ve struggled and struggled to process the losses and the grief through blow after blow. The blows have been constant for the last 5 years. Before I can fully wrap my head around one loss or crisis, I’m hit with another. Each time, I gather myself and push forward. I focus on my blessings and I allow myself to feel the grief when it comes. I get through it and my attitude improves. I start to make things happen for myself and just as it seems that some momentum is building it all slips away from me again.
Even when I execute my plans perfectly and maintain a positive attitude, at the brink of success something, anything, randomly happens and I slide all the way back to what feels like square one. Sometimes it’s my own fault. Sometimes it’s not. What I do know for sure is that it seems to have become a constant loop. I guess at this point I can call it a cycle because it’s been a solid 5 years of this. The first year, I held on by my fingernails to keep everything together but it didn’t matter. 4 years ago, at this time of year, I was betrayed by someone that society teaches us will never betray us. It wasn’t the first time, but I was determined it would be the last time. I was (re)traumatized. At first, I was adamant that I would get my shine back and that I would not allow this person to succeed at destroying me. I came close to recovery of all of the material losses I endured several times, but to no avail. In the meantime, I lost connection to most of my family and either severed or grew apart from several friendships. People I will never lose a bond with died. When my friend committed suicide in dramatic fashion a year and a half ago, I was angry that she got to experience relief if I couldn’t experience relief too and I struggled mightily not to follow in her footsteps.
Today I started thinking about how many days in a row I have been experiencing suicidal ideation. I was stunned to realize I have wished for death, thought about my death, considered taking my own life, fantasized about taking my own life, thought at length about how my death would affect the people who love me, worried how my thoughts about death would attract a disaster that ends my life, and other general thoughts of suicide and/or death DAILY for the last 4 years. Daily. Even on good days.
There is great irony in the fact that I’ve never felt more loved in my entire life. In the last 5 years, I have done some serious cleaning out my closets. I have focused on becoming the most authentic I can be in all of my relationships. This destroyed most of the relationships I was part of going into 2012 AND the new circle of friends I had formed around that time and throughout 2013. The new circle of friends blowing apart after a couple of years came as a surprise. Up until then, I remember being so grateful that I had begun making new friends shortly before all my stagnating friendships and relationships started falling apart. I don’t consider myself a very social person. I’m an introvert. But I have always had lots of different social circles. All of those social circles disintegrated very quickly and my inner circle has actually gone through 2 complete transformations in the last 5 years.
Like I said, some of it was my fault and some of it wasn’t. It is what it is. It’s not the point of right or wrong, it’s just the experiences in such quick succession that have overwhelmed me. I’ve learned a lot in this dark time and probably one of the biggest lessons is that even though I’m smart, even though I’m special, I’m just so goddam fucking human. Sometimes I just can’t rise above shit, ya know? And the love? Wow. I learned up close and personal what fake love looks like, smells like, feels like but it was so necessary because that is how I learned what real love looks like, smells like and feels like. And I see it in the people who surround me now. I feel it. I know it with everything in me…there are people who love me and people who believe in me. There are people who care. There are people who don’t care but that’s okay because there are people who care. It’s nice to know but it’s hard to be so vulnerable. It has continued so long that I am raw from the irritation and anxiety of it.
My entire existence in this world has come down to the kindness of people who love me unconditionally and I have just not been able to submit to this fact. I’ve come to the point of planning my death rather than surrender to this idea. So when I had money, a house, a car and all the necessities of life, I lacked acceptance, trust, respect and care from the “close” relationships in my life. Now those relationships have all fallen away in one form or fashion. I am forming new relationships that are much more balanced and loving. Now I am surrounded by people who genuinely care for me but I have utterly failed at everything else. I value my independence and autonomy greatly. It is incredibly humiliating and tragic feeling to me to have to rely on the kindness of my new friends to survive. I keep reaching to the past to point to people who I should be able to rely on but it's just so pointless because it can't be changed.
I have a connection forming in my mind that I can’t quite grasp yet. It stems from neglect and poverty. It stems from being treated as if my basic necessities of survival were an unfair burden. It stems from being treated as if my success is a threat to my survival. Like I can never outshine the people who help me or I will owe it all to them in return. I feel afraid that my success will be owed to someone else other than myself and as a result they will try to take it away from me if I don’t allow them to control me just because they helped me. This is a false fear but I have trouble remembering that. I don’t know how to overcome this by any other means than death. I surrender.