How I Survived a Life-Long Battle with Suicide

I stopped wanting to be here almost as soon as I arrived.

It wasn’t brain chemistry. I was a bright, high-energy little girl. I saw auras, loved animals and got lost in creativity. The problem was my life was full of trauma. I was abused and gaslit at every turn. I was taught I didn’t matter. It was easy for my light to go dark quickly.

In the beginning, my longing was innocent. I wanted to be in heaven, in union with the divine, far away from here, in another place, another time. I knew this world was not my home, but for some reason, here I was, jailed in a body, in a place of violence and pain. I was viscerally aware I was being held hostage in physical form.

As the years went on, this disconnect grew. My spiritual longing mixed with overwhelming grief and a defiant rage fueled by self-respect that would never allow me to live like this. What I longed for at seven, I demanded by 12. I was actively or passively suicidal every day. While most children spend their time thinking of friends, sports, school or celebrities, I debated whether to slit my wrists or hang myself and drafted letters of my last words.

The throes of abuse are debilitating. Your definition of normal begins at a toxic level and devolves from there. But what’s worse is when that dynamic isn’t congruent to who you are. Some people cut off consciousness and internalize the degradation. They make it their personality, wielding a type of “strength” that makes them immune to the violence by being the source of destruction.

In this way, it’s easier to abuse. The road is harder when you’re aware of your grief, when you embody qualities like empathy and love. I knew I was better than my environment. I stood up for myself and fought back hard. But when I realized the battle never ends, that no matter how well I fought, I never made gains, I had to ask just what was I fighting for? What could be worth this? Logically, it made no sense to stay alive. And when I found myself locked in a bathroom, sobbing on the floor, knowing I could end my life right here, right now, it was my pain that kept me alive. Because like most people that experience the overwhelm of suicide, behind my craving for death was a desperate wish I could just exist.

Lost, I somehow moved forward. By 18, I left Pennsylvania for New York City. The move helped, but my issues came with me. Everything was a drama. I had no healthy role models. No healthy advice. No matter how hard I tried to transcend, I was still trapped. Still suicidal. It scared my friends. I wish it scared me.

By 23, I had entered into a soul-sucking career that paid me exorbitant amounts of money in exchange for my sanity and morality. The dissociative behaviors I engaged in took me further and further into the dark. Despite being in a city I loved, I felt like shit. No matter how great I felt coming out of a yoga class or how many therapists I saw or how high I felt after receiving another $10,000, I didn’t have the capacity to actually move forward into a sustainable, happy life. I continued to black-out drink and sleep with people I hated. I continued to physically fight. I couldn’t let myself look into jobs that paid less, but might actually make me happy. I continued to want to die.

One night, during another breakdown, I cried out for the why. Why was I was so suicidal? Why didn’t my attempts to level up do anything? Why was I so destructive and fucked up? I knew I wasn’t actually this person. Why was I still acting like it?

It wasn’t until I looked into the effects of sexual abuse that the watershed burst open. A simple search for “effects of childhood sexual abuse” provided me with a mirror showing me how textbook common the great mysteries of my life were. The more I learned, the angrier and more upset I got. I hadn’t realized how much I had been violated and abused. The revelation was astounding. And being long-term sexually abused was one of the lesser issues in my past! I spent a full four years reeling and learning about dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, cptsd, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse… everything I could to understand the tapestry of my traumatized psyche. I landed in ERs for suicide attempts and spent months in ineffective out-patient clinics. I was conned by a fake therapist. I lost jobs. I lost money. I gave up and laid comatose in bed.

Reclaiming my life was no easy feat. For years, I existed in a push and pull between unbridled trauma, destructive vices, suicide, failures and fleeting wins. My trauma was destructive, but my will to not succumb to the evil was stronger. I left New York, traveled in Europe and the Middle East. I made a home in Berlin, Germany. I kicked my toxic career to the curb. But, it wasn’t until I got serious about the tiny pulls of spiritual practice that things would ultimately change.

After months of overdosing on drugs and other extreme behaviors in the Berlin club circuit, I was exhausted and looking for an alternate option. Before I go on medication, let me really try this meditation that everyone keeps talking about, I thought. I opened my Jivamukti handbook and followed the simple instructions. Two minutes. No timer. Every day. No matter what.

This tiny trickle to my truth grew into a river that would allow me to live and thrive. I learned who I was on a spiritual level, which was the identity I had long been seeking. I took on new kinds of work aligned with my authentic interests and talents and that didn’t require 80-hour work weeks. I allowed myself to sing opera and work on art for a children’s book. I began saving and managing my money instead of blowing it out of resentment. I found myself planning travel and ways to give back to the world instead of my ongoing attempts to get out of it.

There is a phenomenon described in yogic spirituality called Cold Depression. This is when souls are not getting connection to higher realms. The truth is humans cannot survive without connection to something divine. We are like plants. We wither and die or have tempestuous times growing without access to vital sunlight. Even something as simple as meditation for two minutes a day can change your life because of what it connects you to. Whatever that spark is for you, be it art, meditation, nature… that is what you must seek out and water if you want to be well.

At this point, I still manage suicidal feelings, the neural and energetic pathways are still there. But I have worked to create a space for myself that is safe, where I can exist, serve and enjoy within my health and values. In addition to helping me unload the energetics of my trauma, spiritual teachings provide me with a roadmap and values of how to live, not in the way that society or trauma dictates, but in a way that fosters the highest expression of my integrity, heart and gifts. For the first time ever, I can be here on this planet. I can stop fleeing and maintain a connection. And, I can do what my soul agreed to do while being in a body in the first place — helping others who are desperate and struggling champion their pain and live lives they, too, can love.

If you are suicidal now, my advice is to make a valiant effort to calm your nervous system and seek the healing your soul needs. Spirituality takes shape in many forms. Find a path, commit to it, learn from it and keep the human drama out of it. Connect with skilled practitioners who know how to walk the flames and will help you do well.

There is a teaching in Kundalini Yoga that describes three phenomena — karma, destiny and creativity. Karma is what you come in with; Destiny is what you are designed to leave with; Creativity is everything you can do to change the quality, experience and outcome of your life. As an incarnated human being, it is an unequivocal fact — happiness is your birthright. Whether you’re connected to it or not, you have the creative alchemy to revolutionize your life. You can be happy. You can heal. You can live. Well. If you are suffering, there’s more to your journey. You are more than your trauma. You can heal your trauma. And you will be grateful you did.

Good Luck and Sat Nam,

Simrit Atma Kaur

Learn more about Simrit at SimritHeals.com

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SimritAtmaKaur

I’m a spiritual teacher and healer who helps ambitious people champion CPTSD and live a life in line with their values.