I attempted suicide in August of 2020. I took an overdose of my prescription, hoping that my heart would stop. I recovered quickly in a physical sense. My mental recovery has taken longer.

As I get further away from that awful day, I’ve realized that it has impacted me more than I imagined in the immediate aftermath. The week I spent in a mental hospital was a time to reflect and plan how I would get better. I planned to build up my coping mechanisms, do therapy twice a week, exercise regularly, take my meds, and strive to stay positive. All of that was helpful and necessary for my health and also to show my family that I wanted to get better, thereby proving that they could trust me again.

I do feel as though I’ve gotten better. I am not even taking an antidepressant or antipsychotic at this point. What I didn’t anticipate was the lingering trauma from my attempt. It catches me at odd times and also, predictably, when I read a headline about a suicide.

This is the first time that I have called it trauma and I suppose that I’ve been hesitant to call it that because it was something I did to myself and I always thought of trauma as something someone else inflicted upon you. But I did suffer acutely, at that exact moment when I took all those pills, and at times since then as I catch myself thinking of what I nearly did to myself and my family. The swirl of shame, regret, and the fear that I may someday fall into the darkness again is a recurring element in my life. I will continue to fight it, but I have to accept the trauma in order to live a healthier life.

In a crisis? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text “NAMI” to 741741.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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