On The Edge: Life, Death and My Conscience

 *This is not about who is right or wrong. It is just me sharing my experiences with grief and suicide*

On December 13, 2017 my grandmother died, and with her also me.  Succumbed by grief, 28 years of unresolved issues resurfaced and I found myself running into a black hole while my depression, anxiety, self loathing, and suicidal thoughts continued to chase me. 

My purpose in life was gone, I had no ability to see anything 2 inches beyond my face (metaphorically speaking), and had no desire to leave my bed while at the same time hating being in my home. I was crippled with fear of judgment but craved human interaction, I needed to feel that someone needed me, that my existence meant something. If more than a few days went by without contact that was my sign that I was unmemorable, that people could go about their daily lives and forget that I was there. I needed to die to free everyone from me, I believed that everyone hated me, they were mad at me, dying would be the gift that I could give them. I wanted to die to free me from myself.

On March 11, 2018 while staying with people who had been supporting me through my grief, I read something hurtful online directed at me and it shook me to my core. I blacked out, anger and sadness took over me and I swallowed an entire bottle of medication while drinking alcohol with the full intent of dying. I hated that it was happening in someone's home, had I not asked to spend the night I wouldn’t have been there. But I couldn’t stop, if I stopped that meant surviving and going back to a world that didn’t want me.

8 days in the hospital, months of counseling and medication was a positive step in my recovery, but at that point grief had become the focus of my life. Months went by and people had moved on, and many wondered why I hadn't either.

I was still angry that my grandmother left me in such a horrific way, that after losing my mother 17 years ago God would continue to let me suffer, that I had to struggle with my health and finances, that people had the audacity to say I should leave the house and do things on my own despite me spending every day in my house alone. I would drive to a bridge when I was on edge and needed to take a breather. The walk up was long and lonely. Often I would sit on the ground and cry, then leave; but several times I would grip the wall, stand on the ledge, tell God I'm sorry and start thinking about what my funeral would be like. But something always stopped me, not a police officer responding to a wellness check, not a jogger asking if I was OK, not the Suicide Hotline, but an inner voice that reminded me of the consequences of surviving a suicide attempt as gruesome as it may have been.

July 1, 2018. After spending the night in the ER for ongoing health issues, I sat on the floor of my grandmas bedroom, took a scarf and prepared to hang myself. I thought of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and how mortified the people must have been when they found them lifeless, I didn’t want someone to find me like that. I opened every bottle of pills l owned and put them on the floor, I took 2 handfuls of pills with liquor and stopped. I read a text on my phone from a friend saying she dropped a care package off at my house and that she was thinking of me. From then I can only remember falling asleep and waking up on a work day in a hospital...I survived, and now my job was aware of my issues, I felt heavy and ashamed.

My loss had become larger than all other relationships, I was letting my past control my future and I was stuck. That was the final straw for a lot of people, they couldn't deal with me anymore, I can understand, I couldn’t deal with me either.  I had several conversations with friends about my grief, and they confused me.  

This is normal they said. You aren't the first person to experience grief, it takes time. I am here with you. I will support you through this. If you need anything, call and I can spend the night. I am your friend, I want you to get better and I believe in you. You will have highs and lows that's a part of the process. 

But they also said, I reached out to you and you didn’t respond so I stopped reaching out. I told you that if you wanted me to come over to call, you never did so I assumed you wanted to be alone. Dealing with you over the last few months is challenging for everyone and people need a break from you. I cant be around someone with destructive behavior. Your challenges do not give you the right to treat people like this. I wish you the best but don’t contact me again. You're acting like an asshole. And the worst...complete silence. 

I am using The Loneliness Workbook by Mary Ellen Copeland and all of the things I struggle with are mentioned in the book. If its normal for others, why was it wrong for me? Surely my friends knew the Kim before my grandmas death; I still had issues but a majority of the time I was fun, full of life, full of zest as my blog name says. But now I felt attacked, isolated, that I was a burden and now all of my friends were gone.

August 25, 2018, my complete rock bottom. I go on my blogs Facebook page to announce that I'm ending my blog and why. It turned into me pouring my soul out to hundreds of people I barely knew and announcing my suicidal ideations. I had never planned out my prior attempts, they were usually spontaneous but this time was not. I had full intent to go off the edge, but I did not intend to tell the world.

I turned my phone off, parked my car, put my keys underneath it and walked away. The walk up the bridge was different, there were no tears, I felt at peace and prepared to follow through without distraction. What happened over the next few hours is for private conversations outside of this blog post, things that I cant put into words, an out of body experience. But if you’ve read this far then you know the ending. I'm still here.

Turning my phone back on I was overwhelmed by what I saw, many readers and friends were a part of actions that I was unaware were happening. Vacations were paused, sleep was lost, frustrations were high, because of your real desire to ensure my safety. I thank you for all of it, but know that Im sorry for inciting fear, I'm sorry for the anxiety and heartache that I brought into your life. While I wasnt aware then, the energy that was built up was received by the universe and sent to me during that time, and is one of the reasons I survived.

September 18, 2018, the date of this post. I am continuing visits weekly to my therapist and monthly to my psychiatrist. I have started going back to Griefshare weekly and have started a Homeopathy regimen to address my physical and mental issues. I have done the thing that brought me the most fear, reaching out to people. I have gone to karaoke, happy hours, brunched alone, and went to church with a friend.

I cant tell you what changed, a transformation seemed to occur overnight, but a lot of it is due to events that occurred on the bridge, to the conversations I had the days after, and by reminding myself to treat my losses as a lesson. By no means am I back to normal, I dont even know what that means anymore. This is not a fairy tale, but I do hope to live happily. I have been triggered with anxiety by my thoughts of previous situations that I wish I had done differently, by anger re-reading angry text conversations, and receiving a letter from a person telling me all the "great"(read horrible) things about myself...yeah, deep breaths Kim..woosahhh.

It has been 9 months and 5 days since my grandma died and I am back at 0. Directly behind me is the black hole ready to pull me back in, but in front of me is a sunset with hands reached out also ready to pull me in. Im basking in the sun and while I do think about the black hole and visualize me slipping in, I know I have been cleansed. The fog in my mind is starting to fade and now it's up to me to put good things back in it.

If you are feeling depressed please visit the Psychology Today website and find a therapist that suits your needs. It took me 3 therapists recommended by others, and after 1 visit to this site, I found one that works for me.

You can also call PRS Crisislink , a crisis intervention and suicide prevention center located in Northern Virginia. Of all the phone calls I have made to local and national hotlines, they were the most helpful.