Content Warning: This blog discusses personal experiences with attempted suicide.
Building a life worth living can be difficult, especially if you have no interest in living at all. However, as someone who was stuck in a dark tunnel of what I can only describe as a living hell, and then coming out on the other side, I realized it is achievable and worthwhile.
“One person described suicide to me as ‘a fatal result of a restricted perspective.’ I found this definition to really encompass the idea of suicide.”
One person described suicide to me as “a fatal result of a restricted perspective.” I found this definition to really encompass the idea of suicide. When you have tunnel vision, it’s impossible to find the light at the end of the tunnel. If you feel stuck, the idea of suicide may feel like the only way out. But there is another way out. Believe me—I can say that because I found my way out and the other side is everything I thought I’d never experience.
A secret that suffocated me
The truth is, I was holding myself back. I experienced sexual and physical abuse as a child by my father. Instead of seeking help, I isolated myself and kept this secret hidden in the darkest parts of my soul, until it grew like vines taking up space in my body. I didn’t know that this secret was suffocating me. I thought I was just born this way and that I would die this way.
When I was 13, I went into my parent’s medicine cabinet and took whatever pills I could find. I don’t remember what they were. I was a teenager and had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I no longer wanted to live, or maybe I was crying out for help. At this point, I had already asked to see a therapist but was told I could not. Maybe if I overdosed, I would be taken to the hospital and forced to see someone. However, this suicide attempt didn’t send me to the hospital like I had hoped. My parents forced me to vomit up all of the pills and get rest. It didn’t even push them to take me to see a therapist. I felt helpless.
The only thing I could do was suppress the pain of the trauma. However, in order to cope, I sought love in early sexual experiences with boys and numbed myself with alcohol and marijuana at the age of 13. My mother and father had no idea what was going on with me. My mother had no idea about the sexual abuse and I don’t believe my father understood the repercussions of his actions. They just assumed I was badly influenced by friends. My parents would call me a slut and a whore, among other derogatory terms. Because of my behavior, kids in high school began saying the same things. I began to believe them; after all, if you are told something enough times, how could you not believe it to be true?
Struggling with thoughts of suicide and lack of hope
I made another attempt to take my life around the age of 16 with another overdose. I had school the next morning, but because I was unconscious, my dad loaded me in our van and brought me to an ice cream café my parents owned. My mom was already working there despite working a full shift overnight at the hospital. Like the time before, they had me throw up whatever pills were left in my stomach.
That same year in 2000, my parents gifted me with a brand-new Toyota Celica, which I then totaled after having it for only three months. For 20 years I always believed that I totaled my car after hydroplaning into another car that was waiting to make a left turn. Not until February of this year, when I finally sought help, did the truth come out in flashbacks through a Somatic Emotional Release (SER) session. I didn’t hydroplane — my flashbacks were clear. I had attempted to overdose in the bathroom at my job and then left work, only to be disoriented enough to slam in the back of a car and forget what had really happened.
“I was content in my depression and suicidal ideations, like a comfort blanket I carried around with me for decades.”
Through the years until I left for college, I constantly lived with suicidal ideations. Because I didn’t care about dying, I lived like I was going to. I felt like I had escaped my past by leaving my hometown, and that I could start over. I was determined and ambitious for success. The truth is, I was just distracted. I was lucky enough to get an on-air television job as a reporter and then a morning show anchor. Unfortunately, the pressure and isolation, as well as the hostile work environment, brought back my suicidal thoughts and eventually sent me to an inpatient psych hospital after my fourth suicide attempt. Soon after, I left the news business, feeling like I was not meant for success.
Ten years later in February 2020, at the age of 36, I made my final attempt to take my life. However, my husband had intervened and forced me to seek help. It wasn’t easy; I was content in my depression and suicidal ideations, like a comfort blanket I carried around with me for decades.
Getting out of the dark
In getting treatment, I was able to get myself out of the dark tunnel by shedding the baggage I accumulated from my trauma: the maladaptive coping skills I thought were keeping me safe. In a trauma-informed treatment facility, I was able to focus on myself without feeling like something was wrong with me. By treating the cause of my suicidal ideations (which was post-traumatic stress disorder) with holistic therapies such as Somatic Experiencing, Revisioning, and EMDR, I no longer felt tied to the shame that was holding me back from living a life fulfilled.
“There should be no shame, no judgement, and no excuse to not seek help.”
From that moment, suicide was no longer an option after being the only option for the majority of my life and I began to feel hope. I wish I had understood this earlier. There should be no shame, no judgement, and no excuse to not seek help. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34. 90% of victims had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. But suicide should never be an option. Seeking help should always be the first and only option. I know that now.
As someone who has lived with the idea of dying almost daily for over 20 years, I can say that a life worth living is achievable and worthwhile. I am 36 years old, life has just begun, and I cannot wait to discover what has been waiting for me. For anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide, hold on to the last bit of hope you can, because so much is waiting for you on the other side.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is hope. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.
Lorilee Binstock is the host of “A Trauma Survivor Thriver’s Podcast” and can be found at www.atstpodcast.com.
Suicide: Identifying and Responding to Risk
Addressing and preventing suicide requires a multi-pronged approach that encompasses staff training as well as effective communication of an organization’s policies and procedures. Learn more about ways to help your organization identify and respond to risk of suicide.Visit the Topic Page →