I Want You To Be Alive
Ah, the Eve before TwitchCon Day 0, excitement is high… anxiety is higher. I had to actually stop packing in order to get these thoughts out. It’s my first time ever writing on medium since I have discontinued the Unholytemptress webpage full of my previous blogs. New experience; Achievement get.
Writing is the best way for me to get thoughts out of my head. While I stopped publishing, I never stopped writing. If you haven’t read anything I’ve written before, welcome to my style. If you have read something I’ve written before, today takes a little darker note than usual. Today I need to talk about something really important to me, suicide prevention. The subject is such a stark contrast to the jubilant weekend that awaits all of us, but maybe somebody doesn’t have those few days left.
I’m unsure what today, of all days, made me really have to sit and get this out. There are a million other things I should be doing right now but I can’t imagine taking another step forward without getting this out into the world. It likely has something to do with BlizzCon approaching or maybe the more quickly approaching VillainCon (Blizzard’s TwitchCon party)… whatever it is, we’re here now. I tweeted not long ago that one of my old raid guildies took his own life. I hadn’t spoken more than a few words to him in years. I had no idea he was suffering, and yet, the impact of knowing I would never speak with him again hit me like a ton of bricks. Somebody I had spent hours upon hours joking and chatting with just wasn’t here anymore. At the end of the day I’m hoping a story I haven’t really shared with anyone in my adult life can maybe change at least one person’s perceived destiny.
Rewind over a decade ago. Fifteen years ago? MANY MOONS. There’s me, a sophomore in High School. I’m awkward. I have braces and my teeth are shifting in crazy ways to make room for dental implants. I wear glasses but mostly contacts. I have crazy acne and I still alternate between kitten t shirts and my brother’s old clothes. I’m beautiful in my own stumbling, fumbling, stuttering way. I’m beautiful in a way a mother looks at her daughter and knows she’s the most precious thing on this planet. I had everything going for me and at the same time I was in the darkest place of my life.
My second semester of my sophomore year I attempted suicide. WHY? What brings a 14? 15? year old to reach such an extreme level of depression? Do you know how different I am now compared to then? Do you know how many exciting things I’ve gotten to experience since then? Even if you had written out my entire future, I still don’t know if you could have gotten through to me.
I was born in the Midwest but spent most of my conscious developing years in the South. The South definitely has a… lifestyle… to it. I fell madly, deeply, irrevocably in love with my first ever serious boyfriend. He was three years my senior and when we went to prom together I thought I was just the coolest thing to have ever lived. A freshman at prom. I hadn’t even gotten my first menstrual cycle, true story. What in the actual hell did he see in me?
Fast forward a few months. I had given everything to this kid. I call him a kid now but he was everything and more to me back then. He was an adult that wasn’t a parent. Our relationship was volatile, rocky, explosive. As the months turned into a year it only got worse. Slowly he had manipulated me into losing all of my friends. I was no longer allowed to wear what I wanted to, only his hoodies and baggy jeans even in the South Carolina summer. Frequently I would see him walk passed my classrooms in the middle of the school day. If he ever saw I was talking to someone or had taken the hoodie off, I was to be scolded later. I was frequently threatened with a dreaded break up. Early on he had made the promise “if we’re dating for an entire year, I’ll ask you to marry me.” This is where the Southern culture comes into play. A large portion of the culture here involves getting married early, having babies early, and being a stay at home mom. College degree? HA! You must only be going to college to find a husband. Don’t hold your breath on actually finishing the degree once you find him. So to me, this promise, this was my future. THIS is what I was supposed to do. I was going to be happy ever after and married right at seventeen. He was everything to me. Somehow I had let this man form me, social butterfly, into an empty ball. I had no friends at school. I was forbidden to see my brother at his own house. My father lived on the other side of town, battling his own demons. My mother fought her demons much closer, but if you ever looked directly into her eyes, so far away. This was my perceived reality. This is where I lived at inside of my brain. This was so far from the truth.
I had nothing. I had everything… him. WELL. WHO WOULD’VE GUESSED, eventually I got the strength to break up with him only after knowing he had been cheating on me for months. Or maybe you could argue I didn’t. He was a smooth talker, he was fast, and he was merciless. I was immediately hit with how I had lost all worth because I had given him the most precious part of a woman in the South. Nobody would ever love me. I was used goods. Tainted. Spoiled meat. All actual things that flew out of his sewer shaped mouth. I decided to tell my mom the next day that I was too sick to go to school. My high school was quite large but there was absolutely no way I was NOT going to see him. That morning was rough. I’ve never felt worse in my life. I had nobody to turn to and, after all, who would want me? Right before school started I called him, sobbing, and begged for him back. Another flurry of low blows were the only response I got before getting hung up on.
That was it. What did I have left? My mind at the time told me I had nothing. I was the lowest of low. I couldn’t imagine finishing YEARS more of high school. I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to have any friends. I wanted peace. I wanted serenity. I wanted to be happy again. My answer? Take enough sedatives to down a small elephant.
This next part is going to be extremely raw. I really feel like I need to get my point across here on a global, hell, universal level.
Do you know what I felt? Nothing. I had taken so many pills I couldn’t swallow anymore. I was downing each one with a hot, old, flat Sprite Zero. To this day I can’t drink Sprite Zero and I rarely drink soda at all. I did the thing. I was going to find peace. I had gone from hidden self mutilation to the big leagues and it only took one phone conversation.
I waited. I got sleepy. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t breathe well. I started to panic. What had I done? Who was going to take care of my mother? What legacy did my father have besides me? I was his only child. I had fucked up. Or maybe I didn’t because sweet, sweet release was dancing behind an ever-increasingly thin veil. I called the only person I had, my now-ex boyfriend. The only words that were actually vocalized out of my mouth were “Call 911.”
Grogginess. I’ve thrown up on myself to the point of being soaked. My breath is coming in short, shallow, shuttering breaths. It hurts. It’s actually physically painful. My brain is screaming for oxygen but my lungs can’t comply. Somebody is banging on the door and ringing the doorbell. I crawl to the door. Hello, EMT. Goodbye, EMT.
I’m awake again with my clothes cut off. My immediate thought is, “Oh, god. They cut his hoodie, he’s going to be so upset with me.” My chest is aching at this point, like somebody had filled my entire torso with lava. It’s hectic. The ambulance is moving but I can only focus on the EMT’s face. The look in his eyes, the sadness (the perceived sadness?) is something that still haunts me today. It is the only recurring dream I have.
I’ve been struck by lightening that’s reinvigorated the lava storm inside of my body. What’s happening? Everything aches. At this point I WANT to die just because everything hurts. My entire body is battling with itself. What have I done?
The monitors keep their spastic drum. The sound is echoing throughout my entire brain. Somebody is talking? I can’t see them. I can hardly keep my eyes open.
The ambulance stops. I hear my ex yelling at the top of his lungs. What is happening? I still don’t think I know what happened to this day. Something about him harassing or following the ambulance too closely. The cacophony grows when my mother and her then-boyfriend enter the scene, equally as loud.
I open my eyes. I have no idea where I am. Was I dreaming? Was this like all those times I’ve passed out during a shot and had SUCH a life-like dream but it only was 15 seconds of unconsciousness?
Not a dream. My family is surrounding me. There aren’t words to describe their faces. Nothing I’ve ever read or understood the definition of describes the pure anguish that I’m processing through their tears, furrowed brows, sobs.
All attention on me when they notice I’m awake. Why did I do it? What’s happening? Was this a cry for help? An actual attempt? Endless questions and countless seconds of all-encompassing silence to follow each one. I’m constantly reassured that nobody is mad at me.
I’m angry? I’m alive. Why am I alive? I’m happy? I’m suddenly sadder than I have ever been, even before taking all the medication. Why?
The hurt that is written across my family, my broken and shattered family, is the same hurt. For once since I was a small child my entire family is standing as one. Nobody is fighting. They’re just there because the littlest baby bird flew too far from the nest. Something went wrong. Nobody saw it coming. How could they? I never said anything. I smiled in pictures. I was always so great at playing pretend.
However, it was when I scanned all of their faces, too exhausted to move anything but my eyes, I felt something… shame? No, not shame. I felt selfish. I felt selfish like I have never felt selfish before. Was I still angry? Yes. Was I still incredibly depressed? Yes, and I would be for many moons to come. Did I think there was a light at the end of the depression tunnel out there? No. Not in that moment. Every single day was a struggle. I had therapy, counseling, mountains of prescriptions, heaps of blood vials at every recheck. This is too high, this is too low, she’s not quite as happy as she could be. I was a science experiment and all they wanted to do was prove their hypothesis that I COULD be happy, but the answer wasn’t going to come without many trials.
It took me what felt like forever to feel like a child again. To love again. To trust again. To ween myself off of all medications. To feel okay enough to actually speak about the things I felt inside. My first winter after the incident I refused to wear hoodies, sweaters, or coats. I was scarred but not in a way that anybody could see. Many of my classmates had no idea what had happened. Most of them assumed I got mono or some crazy flu strain and I let them believe that.
At the end of the day, I felt like I couldn’t move forward without sharing this story. Why? Because… there was no bliss at the end of the tunnel, there was just nothing. Maybe you think that is bliss, but it’s just not. Nobody can prove that to you, but maybe you’ll think about it. It hurt to die. It really fucking hurt. Does it always hurt? Who actually knows but I’m just telling you my experience. Agony and nothingness was all I knew in that time frame. The two were dancing to a Waltz that was never scheduled to end. They mingled and intertwined in ways unimaginable behind my eyelids.
This isn’t a shot at anyone’s religious beliefs. I spent three years in college scouring through many different religions. I accept them all. I accept what you personally believe in because that is what you find important. I could never shame someone for thinking or feeling differently about a religion than I do. I personally believe in love, karma, and the ability for happiness to spread like a disease… and I don’t care what shape that takes in your mind.
I don’t have all the answers. I really don’t. All I have is the story of what I went through and how it still, to this day, haunts me. I am so incredibly thankful that I survived. Bless the face of the EMT who I will never forget for the rest of my life. Nothing mattered to him but saving my life. Nothing mattered but the sight of a child taking her own life. He is actually everything to me, wherever he is on this planet.
I guess what I’m trying to say is while things may look so incredibly bleak right now, while you may feel so incredibly low, you have no way of knowing where you’ll be at ten years from now. I have so many messages saved on my computer of people from the stream who have said I saved THEIR life. What would have happened if I died that day?
Would Ginger be in a happy home? My nephew would have never had an aunt. My father’s legacy would perish as my bones turned to dust. Would my mother have made it through her own depression? Who? What? How? Nobody has the answers… but… I’m just so glad I made it through.
My urge is that you reach out. Don’t be me. Don’t suffer in silence. I wish I had known what the suicide prevention hotline was back then. Would I have called? It’s impossible to know. Do I wish my friends had reached out to me? Yes. Was it their job to reach out to me? No. I was cruel. I was purposely mean to them and distancing myself to make sure I avoided another fight.
We all experience people who seem to only complain. Maybe it feels like nagging to you. But maybe listening will save their life. Maybe asking someone how they’re doing and really paying attention to their response changes the entire world. I believe in the butterfly effect.
Do you feel like you don’t have any friends? Are you scared of the phone? Find a therapist. Find an appropriate forum online to chat with other people. We live in an age where somebody to talk to is at the tip of your fingertips.
YOU MATTER. You just do. You really fucking do.