My Survival Story
In the midst of one the worst depressive episodes I had ever endured I made the decision to end my life. I was meticulous in the details and in the execution of my plan.
Depression told me that I was worthless, a failure in all aspects of my life. Repeating poor choice after poor choice expecting something to change wasn’t working out. I didn’t think I needed help, or didn’t want to admit that I did because so many more people had it worse than I did. I was a coward who could no longer function. Everyone would be better off without me here. Depression took hold of me and I was drowning and could only see one way out.
I hadn’t left the house in days. I could barely get out of bed, and when I did, I made rambling, paranoid, nonsensical phone calls to family and friends. Because of my history of cocaine addiction the people who loved me assumed that I was on drugs. I wasn’t. I was in the middle of a psychotic break and it was terrifying.
Certain that the people I loved were conspiring against me and placing me under surveillance, I was overwhelmed with a sense of anguish. I got productive. I finally had something to do that would require some effort on my part. I had decided that I would use a combination of pills and alcohol to put me into an eternal sleep, and there was no way I was going out on cheap booze, so off to the liquor store I went to buy the best whisky the place stocked.
That night my children were with their father, we had been separated for little under a year. I spent the day drinking and going through family photos. I picked out my favourite and on the back I scrawled twelve words. I told my children that I loved them and apologized to their father. I swallowed the pills and curled up in my bed, surrounded by the smiling faces of my family and cried myself to sleep. I remember saying, “I’m so sorry” over and over.
Seventeen hours later I woke up. I was confused and distraught. What I had almost succeeded in doing sunk in and I hit the floor. I have never been one to pray, but on that cold morning I gave thanks to something higher than me.
I didn’t want to die; I wanted help. I wanted the courage to face what I knew was going to get even worse before it got better. I didn’t want to leave my family behind wondering if they could have done something to change my mind. I didn’t want to leave the ones I loved with guilt and grief and a legacy of suicide. But more than that, I wanted to be well again.
I made a promise to myself that day, one that I have tried very hard to keep. I promised that I would try to help others who have felt the way that I did. I wanted to make sure that people knew that they were never alone, even when it felt like they were. There is always someone out there that gets it. I may not be able to solve your problems for you, but I am here to tell you my story so that you know it will get better.
Life can get shitty really quickly, but it can also get pretty fucking glorious too. Why I didn’t die that night is something I can’t answer, and to be perfectly honest I’ve stopped asking the question. I like to think it’s because I was meant to hang around for a while, maybe try to help a few people, and spread some love and hope.
Suicide is never the answer. When you choose to take your life, all possibilities of anything ever getting better are over. I know it’s hard, really fucking hard sometimes, but you’re here now and you’re worth fighting for. Never be afraid to ask for help, it’s one of the strongest and bravest things you can ever do. Your story isn’t over yet.
Nicole Lyons is a mother to two beautiful and sassy daughters and a fierce mental health advocate. She is the Director of Operations at Stigma Fighters and also volunteers her time with a Canadian NPO that focuses on suicide prevention. She is a columnist on Psych Central where she writes about living well with mental illness. Nicole is a hippie at heart and believes the world can be changed by one small random acts of kindness at a time. Nicole is loud, sassy and too cheeky for her own good but her best friend, a 170lb bull mastiff named Capone doesn’t seem to mind.
Nicole can be found on her blog, Facebook and Twitter
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This is such an amazing story, Nicole. I’m so glad you didn’t die that night! I’m also so happy that you got help and are doing what you do every day: helping other people to heal. Over the past six months, two people in my extended social circles have taken their lives, and the results have been devastating. One was the sister of a very close friend; the other was a teenager who played soccer with my son. It kills me to know that both of these beautiful people were hurting so badly that they only saw one way out, especially when I’ve witnessed how much their families loved them and miss them ever day. You’re right: suicide is never the answer. It may seem like it in the moment or even for a longer period of time, but there’s always something better. Shine on!