An Unsettling Anniversary

One year ago tonight I took an overdose of pills in an attempt to end my life. I hoped the medication would stop my heart and end the continuing cycle of dread, shame and sadness I was mired in. Physically, all that happened was I had a brief period where I got tremors and had trouble seeing and balancing myself. Mentally, I managed to heap more shame and negativity on myself, on top of letting down my family who relied on me.

In the immediate aftermath, I resolved to fight my depression and anxiety much harder than I had in the past. For a while, I was successful. I got a new job that didn’t make me miserable and my mood improved slightly. But as the months wore on, I didn’t keep up with my exercise goal-the critical piece for me as jogging helped my depression far more than therapy or medications-and I slipped back down a bit.

I’m not severely anxious or depressed for days or weeks at a time like I used to be, but I have noticed that, for short periods, I am. I think the ‘new’ me is finally able to bounce up just enough to continue functioning. I do miss the occasional day of work due to the anxiety/depression fog, but most days I work and push on to the end of the day.

I am not; however, sure that I’ve fully reckoned with the trauma of my suicide attempt. By that I mean that I don’t feel I have acknowledged how drastic and awful a step that was to take. My family still worries about me more than Is necessary, but how can I blame them? I also find myself thinking I might be just one catastrophic day at work away from sliding back into the abyss. I don’t know if that slinking dread will ever leave me. One thing is certain: I have to exercise more and continue to express myself creatively or I will be in trouble again. The best insight I can give to other suicidal people is this: it can get better-just be prepared to fight.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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