Yet, I also felt for the first time in months the familiar tingle in my stomach that always came before I began to write. Tingle meant hope. Yes, my hope was high this time not only because of the tingle but also because this was my first attempt at writing in a new year. In addition, I had new insight and felt that I would finally succeed in describing a struggle that shocked, shamed, and frightened me to the core last summer.
What follows may be difficult to read but take consolation in the fact that I overcame. I came out stronger and even more able to recognize, claim, and use my power to build a better life. While reading, you may wonder why I made this public. I grappled with the same question only to realize that shame fueled my hesitation to write about this. After careful consideration, though I concluded that my experience needed to be known because this struggle affects us all. Any one of us can find without warning that we are in the middle of a life/death struggle.
Indeed, just as we all are susceptible, we all can learn from my experience. What we learn can then be a base for recognizing and using the power that we have, even when our very lives are at stake. In addition, those of us who love someone who is currently experiencing this life/death struggle, will learn that the most we can do to help is make our love known. The struggle, you may have guessed, is over whether to commit suicide, or not.
Suicide. A word that we avoid using. A word that strikes fear in our hearts.
Suicide. A word for deciding to give up, leave loved ones behind, end our life.
Years ago, I had a close friend who committed suicide. She did not leave a note. She did, however, visit me just days before taking her life. For decades I agonized over whether there was something that I could have said or done. Did I miss an opportunity to save my friend from herself?
Now, after experiencing and overcoming my owwen struggle, I know the answer to that tormenting question: NO. While there are things that I may have done differently with the wisdom that comes from age, nothing, short of my friend, would have ultimately stopped her from shooting a bullet through her heart. I know this because when I had thoughts of suicide in June 2014, I was the only person with the power to save me from myself.
Saving myself, though meant recognizing and accepting the shocking reality that I was in the emotionally, spiritually, and physically dangerous state of suicide. I use the term state of suicide because that is how it felt. I saw and understood everything in the context of living or not. During this time, I did not talk to anyone about my state of being. Indeed, at the time of this publication, only one other person knew, after the fact, how close I came to taking my life. No one knew because I enclosed myself within my state. There, no one could reach me or influence my decisions.
Because of my education and professional experience, I was able to make a solid self-assessment. I knew that I was one step away from taking action. Imagine my shock and horror as I realized that, even though I withstood several life changing events that brought me stress and distress, I was not immune. Despite the fact that I endured, accepted, and learned to thrive while extracting myself from several toxic relationships, nothing protected me from wanting to destroy myself. Even after I came to terms with the past and moved on, stronger, wiser, and less likely to be fooled by the liars of the world, I was not above feelings that revealed I no longer wanted to live.
My shame is what kept me from talking to anyone and mixed feelings were why I felt shame. On one hand, I had a wonderful family that I spent the majority of my adult life teaching, protecting, and loving. I was a successful single mother and seeing the fruit of my labor was, and is, one of my main inspirations. In addition, my life had become my own. I was far better at recognizing and using my power to make the best decisions possible. I felt better than I had in decades and was grateful for all that shaped the person I called me.
At the same time, out of the blue I received bad news that felt like a mortal blow to my psyche. This blow brought into view just how tenuous life is and reminded me of all that I had lost over years. The details, other than the news was economically based, are not important; any threatening news at the right time and condition could have the same deadly affect. The timing of my blow was such that it threatened to stop the progress that I was making to have a better life. The condition was that I could not envision a way to withstand; I could not see my way out of the situation because the threat came from the government. The result was that, over a period of a few weeks, I slipped into a state of suicide.
Fear came from what I thought was coming and what I imagined would happen. Because of this, seemingly, all-powerful threat I was afraid to die and afraid to live. I was afraid of the unknown. Fear of the unknown was something that I had worked for years to overcome. Yet, I found myself in the middle of my worst fears with not even one clue about how to get out. Shock, shame, and fear were the veils that covered me during this time. They made an invisible barrier that separated me and everyone else. They were the foundation, and the fuel for my state of suicide.
Holding on to and remembering the people I loved, and who loved me is how I found my way out. Even while I planned a way to leave this world, I also thought about how people would be affected. Spending a lifetime of learning, and accepting how my actions affected others, meant that I automatically thought about how people would be affected by my decision.
My daughters came to mind, and I wondered about the message I would leave them if I followed through. My parents came to mind, and I knew that my action would be the worst insult to them. I thought about everyone who had shown that they believed in me, and valued my presence in the past. I acknowledged that my action would be like a slap in their faces. Then, I thought about my grandchildren and that stopped me in my tracks.
Through my grandchildren, I could see how the future would be affected in a very negative way by my hand. I could not rest with that possibility. For you see, members of my family have overcome terrible conditions such as slavery, lynching, illness, and death. Through everything, suicide was not an option. I would have been the first and I could not let that be my legacy. From this point, I slowly started to tear away the veils. I began to accept that this problem had a solution and ending my life was not it.
Then, I went to what I knew worked. I sought out, and identified the power that I had at that moment. I could stop. I could wait. I could let time reveal a way out. I could talk to someone about what the government was threatening to do. I knew that ending my life was permanent; suicide had no retakes. Consequently, I decided to wait. I did this mainly by saying, one day at a time, that I would not act until I had slept on things. Also, I made myself sit with not knowing what would happen or how I would solve my problem. I made my mind slow down and meditate more than my usual routine. This kept me conscious of the fact that I was connected to the Universe and to God. Ultimately, after weeks of internal fighting, I rejected the possibility of suicide. Also during this time, I found the solution to my looming problem and began taking the steps that I needed for resolution.
Months later on January 1, 2015 is when I became aware of the insight that I needed to end my writer's block. Often, I awake with thoughts, or ideas in my mind. This is why I always sleep with pen and paper nearby. I write these thoughts down before they fade away as I become fully awake. This particular morning I woke up knowing what happens when we use our power to change for the better. I realized that the Living PowerLife blog gives real-life examples of the life-long process of obtaining and maintaining balance. The following is a summary:
- We succeed only if we start by changing the imbalance in ourselves
- Once we find balance our immediate surroundings will adjust accordingly
- People we once called friends may fall by the wayside
- People we never knew existed will fall within our view
- Guidance will surround us as we learn to listen and follow
- Communities will change for the better as individuals achieve balance
- There are no quick fix, special knowledge, secret diet, all knowing leader, or magic pill
- Nature heals
- Sometimes the Universe sends help in the form of people
- Knowing when to let go is one aspect of lasting peace
To everyone who has (or is) struggled with thoughts of suicide, I hope that my experience gives you some encouragement. Please do not hesitate to get professional help if things get too much to handle alone.
To those who have lost someone to suicide, myself included, I hope that my post gives you comfort.
Remember that no matter how bad things get, we are gifts to the world. No matter what problem comes our way, we have power. We have a connection, and that connection holds the answers, and strength we need to succeed. We are saviours, warriors, sages, and shamans. All we have to do is continue to:
From my PowerLife to yours in 2015,