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Memory of a Suicide Attempt Survivor
This piece is a memory I remembered just a few months ago. The story takes place in 2015. It is the moments after my suicide attempt. Note that everything in italics is what I was thinking in that moment.
I just need to get in there, take my state test, and finish the day. The worst case scenario would be that I will have to sit in the councilors office again, which wouldn’t be that bad-- right? I kept repeating different versions of this mantra in my head. I just wanted to drown out the thudding of everything around me. I mean, it couldn’t be that bad. Who even cares if I fail it? I won’t be here tomorrow to care about that either way. I swear, that is what my idiotic brain kept thinking. Let’s ignore the fact that I was doped up and still very, very suicidal-- and I was like any normal girl.
I was just...panicking. The pressure is building up again in my chest. The panic was setting in, the first area I feel it is always in my chest. It’s almost like my heart is not beating any faster or slower, but rather, it just shakes. Ohmygod. They are so staring at me. At my fat, my frizz, at me. Per usual, my mind got to me. At some point, I finally got into my homeroom where I would take the test. First, my teacher called me up and gave me a stack of papers thicker than my left thumb.
“Okay. Yes, I have the rest of the work. Tomorrow.” I knew better than anybody else that the work was very well sitting on my desk at home, most likely covered in slightly tacky acrylic paint and a thin layer of dust. I rubbed my collar bones compulsively, again, and continued on with my journey to the seat. I still remember where it is, or was. It was three rows back on the leftmost row of desks if you're looking at the front board. About 10 feet away from the door, and as close as possible to said door. I remember this so precisely because it took me half an hour to decide- close to the window...or door?
I can so do this. I can’t do this. I am going to fail. No, I can ace it. I will be fine. No, I will fail. I know I will. The intrusive thoughts were back and stronger than ever. My smile dropped from my face, I started sweating and then the fear of people staring at me came back. I itched my neck, leaving red scratches, risen and angry. Then, in one abrupt moment I gasped, stood up and quit breathing. I knew if I breathed I would end up crying, and crying would do no good. I ran faster than I ever had previous to this day. Out of that room, into the hallway; gasping. Office. I kept thinking one word. That was all I could manage. I am sure now that there were over a thousand of them being pumped through my decapitated mind, but in this moment there was only one I could pay any attention to.
I ran into the office, pushing my hands onto the counter. The tears seemed to scald my flesh as they dragged down my skin. By now, my heart was pumping through my chest, there were two office ladies at my beck and call; but I only needed Mrs. Morrison; I just wanted the one lady who would know what was happening to me. Panic.
When she first saw me she just saw the red tone of my cheeks, just the salty tears falling down my face and onto my neck because they were the last thing on my mind. I probably seemed like any other preteen in that moment. “I just.” She kept asking me what it was that was bothering me. The thing was, I didn’t know. The only answer would be for me to explain what had happened the night before. I can’t do that. (Spoiler alert, I ended up doing that.)
After Mrs. Morrison dragged me to the upstairs of the middle school I attended, she interrogated me. Yes, I tried to kill myself. But do I tell her that? What will happen? With no words exchanged, she rolled her eyes and asked my what my music type was. I picked the most ridiculous country song possible, and it happened to be one that played in my ears as I swigged a bottle of water with some pills the night before.
Previous to this meeting, she knew music was the way to get to me. The rhythms comforted me somehow, and the lyrics explained how I was going to be okay. What is even happening to me? Why am I like this? The music continued to soothe my panicked mind, and she continued on with the the torment of asking too many questions. That seemed like a bad habit that too many people have.
I tried to explain in a normal way, but ended up just telling her everything that led up to the oh-so-eventful night before. Then, at the end I just blurted it out: “I tried to kill myself!” She just answered politely. She seemed almost shocked; a girl like me was even capable of trying to take her own life? Instead of asking if I needed help, she asked two questions: Do you have a suicide note? Did you try to kill yourself, or do you want to?
Those were the most popular questions I had to endure for the next week. Little did I know, but I would lie to every single person who asked me about that. The answer was once yes, that I had a suicide note. To be fair, I had three, but I burnt one, gave one to Mrs. Morrison that very day and the other to my best friend. From that moment in March forward, I did not have a suicide note anymore. Later, when I went to a mental hospital, I did not have a note either.
For the next week I would also lie about my suicide attempt. After my panic attack in school, I said it never happened. It was just me wanting to kill myself, not actually trying. Through a full day of puking in a foreign environment and what seemed like an eternity of hell, I learned that lying was the best thing I could have ever done for myself in that mind-crippling week.