I don’t deserve to be called a survivor. I’m just some guy. I never thought my story was worth telling. I never even thought I’d be alive right now.
In October 2009, I had just returned home from serving in the army due to being discharged after a mental breakdown. The whole reason I had joined the army was to find meaning and purpose in life, and after coming home, I lost all sense of direction. I felt like an embarrassment to my family and a complete failure – I felt as if I would never recover.
After what felt like forever, I was so depressed that I barely ever got out of bed and did not have any hope at all. On Christmas night, which should be a night of joy and celebration, I was surrounded by family who I was too embarrassed to talk to about what had happened. I was too embarrassed to tell them that I had been discharged from the army or that I had a problem. I felt ashamed that I had no gifts to give them because I had no money. I hated being around all the laughter.
I decided to start drinking vodka heavily. One shot after another, I became more intoxicated and more emotionally distraught. Not wanting to hold my feelings in anymore, I began to express my emotions to my family members, telling them that I felt like a failure and apologizing for letting them down.
I snuck away from my family into my bedroom. Desperate, I called an old friend from out of state. I told him that I felt like killing myself. At first, he thought I was joking. Then, I said, “I’m not joking. I’m going to kill myself.” I immediately hung up on him.
I later found out that my friend had called a suicide prevention hotline. However, since he didn’t have my home address, they weren’t able to rescue me.
I looked at my preferred method and convinced myself what I must do. Thinking that I finally had the courage to do it, and there was no turning back, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, “Maybe people will finally care about me now that I’m gone.”
To my disappointment I had failed like so many things I had ever attempted. I sat over the toilet bowl, upset that I had to keep on living. This was my one chance where I felt that I finally had the courage to end it. And I blew it. My sister knocked on the door, thinking that I was just a drunken fool. Little did she know that I had come strikingly close to taking my own life.
The rest of the night fades in my memory. All I remember was my sister waking me up early the next day saying, “It’s going to be a new beginning,” and not believing her. I didn’t feel any hope for a long time.
I felt hopeless for several years, until I discovered other attempt survivors and advocates who understood and welcomed me into their community. It was people like Lisa who believed in me and made me feel as if I’m more than just a guy.
For a long time, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be welcomed into this community. My story wasn’t as harrowing or dramatic as the stories of some of the people I met. That’s why it took me so long to come out.
I still struggle with the word “survivor.”
I currently participate in suicide prevention efforts. No one in this community has ever made me feel that my story is not worth telling. Slowly, I am learning that my story matters.
If you have a story to share but are worried that it isn’t important, please know that it’s worth telling. Please know that your story could inspire others who don’t think their story is worth sharing. Please know that you’re a survivor and you deserve to live.