When I first made up my mind that I was going to kill myself I was taken by a sense of peace and calm that I hadn’t felt in days. The rough weeks of downed days and manic nights were suddenly far behind me; demons no longer visible in my rear view mirror.
It was 5 a.m. on June 27th, 2013.
I had been up all night again, unable to sleep, hardly able to lie down or sit, when something invisible just pushed me over the edge. It wasn’t the first time over the last two months that I had had suicidal thoughts, but instead of just seeing myself in a pool of my own blood in a bathtub, careening into an overpass support at high speed, or checking the sharpness of the knives in the kitchen, I was sure of my path this time.
There is a weird logic to preparing to commit suicide.
Step 1: Make your bed.
Step 2: Tidy your room. (You don’t want your family and friends to have to wander through fast food bags and dirty clothes to get to the stuff you let them call ‘dibs’ on if you were to die.)
Step 3: Put on some comfortable, yet respectable clothes.
Step 4: Brush your teeth. (As if dying wouldn’t stink up your breath enough.)
Step 5: Write a note. (Try to be brief, just because you can’t go on with your life doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to get on with theirs.)
Step 6: Walk to a bridge while listening to one of your favourite albums that also happens to be sad. (My destination was the Bishop Grandin bridge over the Red River. The album: Coldplay — Parachutes.)
I stood on the bridge admiring the sun coming up. It was warm on my face as the cars drove by. To anyone passing it looked like I was just leaning on the railing, enjoying a morning walk, but in my head I was thinking of how I just wanted my mind to stop racing. I wanted to stop the freight train of thoughts barreling from node to node, crashing into the feeling centers of my brain until the neurons exploded into frustration, regret and despair. It’s the kind of drama that can’t even be written on a face. It just rages on behind blank eyes.
The love of my friends and my mom saved me.
Even though the guilt would have gone away instantly, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my mom alone. I couldn’t bear the responsibility of inflicting the pain, however small, of loss on my friends.
I called Larissa, who I will be forever grateful for, and she got me walking home (after I ate possibly the most depressing breakfast of all time at McDonald’s). She also called the Mental Health Crisis unit, and I got a visit from them later that day. I was already on medication for depression, and I started talking to a counselor.
I thought I was on the up and up.
A month later, after a party, I found myself alone near the bridge again. Over the course of the month, my days had got better (I occasionally left the house now), but my nights hadn’t. I was still unable to sleep until I crashed as the sun was coming up, filled with racing thoughts and ideas and plans and nightmares that would have terrified me months before. But I was used to them now.
I was a few blocks away from the bridge and I just started crying and sat down. I knew that if I kept walking I’d just get up to the railing and hop over. No more waiting, no more thinking, no more anything.
At that point, I knew I was at the worst part of my life. I had never been less in control of anything. All the steps and plans I had had the first time I went to the bridge meant that I still had some sort of control. This was just a rock bottom whim.
I don’t remember everything about how it went down, but I ended up on the phone with my friend Jill. She ended up calling 911. Three different strangers stopped as they drove by to ask me if I was okay. It was so strange to tell them that I was already taken care of.
Thank you so much Jill.
The police took me to the Mental Health Crisis unit at the Health Sciences Centre. If you’ve never been in the back of a police car, let me tell you now that there is absolutely no legroom. I never want to get arrested for that reason above anything else, including getting framed for murder ala Minority Report.
More conversations with counselors and psychiatrists’ assistants, not all of whom initially found my dry jokes about my own suicide funny, put me in a stable place again.
Appointments with a psychologist and a psychiatrist are bringing me closer to understanding what has caused all of the ‘adventures’ I experienced this spring and summer. The cycles of depression and somewhat controlled mania, which I now know is called hypo-mania, where I’m down for weeks and then up and really productive, or worse, for days, are pointing to me being Bipolar 2. Which is of course the sequel to the movie Bipolar.
I’m working through it. I’m still me. So feel free to make suicide jokes in my presence without feeling bad. I’m getting help, and I’m pretty functional! Most of the time. if you have any questions about it just ask.
I just want to thank everyone for being so loving and awesome this summer. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t show up to things that I said I would, or lying about what I was doing. Thank you for all being so understanding. While I only talked about the low points here, you were there to pull me out of them and provide the highlights of my summer: nights spent waking up all of Albert Beach with percussion instruments, afternoons playing League of Legends, back to back movie watching, hip-hop classes, weddings and Doctor Who.
“So I’ll ask one thing, just one thing of you. Don’t ever turn me loose, even when I turn my back.” — Relient K — Sahara
You all never did turn me loose. Thank you for that, and I’ll see you around.