My junior year in college I tried to commit suicide. I took over 20 sleeping pills hoping I would not wake up the next day. I was in a room with two other roommates, one I considered a good friend, the other I barely knew. Also, in my townhouse-style dorm was another quad that housed four other roommates who had been extremely close to me freshman and sophomore year. None of these people ever knew I tried to end my life, except the one who was my acquaintance.
I had my awkward stage in high school (which I mentioned in an earlier blog), followed by a sudden blossoming, I became very popular in college. I had a radio show freshman year during dinner hour, and my voice being unique and recognizable, as well as having many other students sit in and DJ or interview with me, it was a fun show. Other students would tell me they heard me on the radio and that they enjoyed my show. I also found a work-study job working in the darkroom on campus, where I got to meet a lot of other communication majors as well as take as many photos as I wanted.
Now I came from a tiny town, to a large city with 12 well known colleges in it, I was naïve and excited and extremely friendly (my natural personality). I was kind, caring, and fun to be around. I wanted to know every one! Part way through my freshman year, a senior, who thought I was beautiful, recommended me to the news department as a desk anchor.
I will admit that I had absolutely no interest in working in news. I thought it was depressing and negative, manipulative and manipulating, the opposite of my personality. I had looked at two schools that were number one for news broadcasting, and that was a main reason I decided against them. The senior kept telling me to try the news department, that I would be perfect as the news anchor they were looking for.
After Christmas break he again approached me. He told me he had mentioned me to the director of the program, who was now interested in meeting me. He begged me to please go in, finally I decided to give it a shot. I went in and was put in front of the camera as on-air talent. I spent the next three and a half years as the college’s only female desk anchor, as well as our show became broadcast on local cable to half of Massachusetts. I had ABC begging me to intern for channel 5 news my senior year.
As the only female news anchor for the college, I did end up knowing every one who lived on and off campus. I had so much love for people. I always loved people. I always found every kind of person interesting in so many ways, I loved to hear each person’s story and background. As I was a communications major at the time, with a focus on black and white photography (before those digital cameras came out!), radio, and news broadcasting. After my attempt at suicide I would minor in psychology…something that definitely helped me to understand more about myself.
Looking at me, I know most people thought that I would have no reason to want to hurt myself. I had a lot going for me in my life. I had great opportunities. I had friendships. I was told often I was beautiful. However inside I was falling apart. I was lonely, I wanted love but did not understand it. I was heartbroken from my first love, who split with me and left me without answers, or an ending, as he was the only one my heart was still open too for two years after our break up. Nothing was talked about. I kept all my feelings of sadness hidden away inside. I didn’t know how to talk about a relationships, as I grew up with my mother who was never in one.
On top of not understanding a healthy relationship, I was sexually abused as a child, from when I can remember, and most of it I do not remember, until the age of nine, when my father caught the man who was doing it. My father then had a nervous breakdown and moved halfway across the world. I felt abandoned and I felt that I was the reason my family fell apart. At age nine that is a lot to take on, and not have anyone to talk to about it. I had no therapy. I felt ashamed. I felt guilt. I felt so much sadness. I felt alone. I remember crying myself to sleep for the next 11 years. Though I was happy-go-lucky and smiled always on the outside, I was hurting badly on the inside.
By then I was 20, which brings me back up to my junior year in college, to that moment I thought of seriously ending my life. I had gone out dancing as usual, as I had every night. I loved, and still love, to dance and again I will mention how much I love music. It was past closing time, and I separated from my girl friends I had gone out with and headed back to my dorm. Everyone inside was sleeping. I had been drinking alcohol, as I had every other night of the school year, and taking fat burning pills (thinking I was overweight, when I was not…yep self-image problems as well), and birth control (which I had never taken before). There was a boy I liked a lot, he had taken me out a few times, but never kissed me. I thought there was something wrong with me. I was feeling so sorry for myself and completely unloveable. On top of it my old friendships were falling apart. I wanted to give up.
I took the 20 pills, but then I got mad at myself. I thought to myself, “What am I thinking? I have a younger sister who looks up to me. I have friends who love me. I have opportunities in life. If I can take my own life can’t I make some changes? Can’t I jump off a cliff, theoretically speaking, and try ANYTHING and LIVE!?” I didn’t know what to do, I began to panic, I didn’t really want to die. I woke up my roommate, the one I barely knew. I was afraid to wake anyone else up. I was afraid they would be mad at me, or judge me, there I went again back into my thoughts (these were the friendships that were also falling apart). Sad thing is I can’t even remember my roommates name, and she saved my life. She wanted to call 9-1-1. I begged her not to. She helped me purge my stomach, made me drink milk and sat and kept me awake until the sun came up.
Then I lay down and went to sleep for 48 hours. When I woke up I made a promise to myself, a promise that I could conquer my feelings and my inner demons. I could heal my heart and my soul. I could study myself, taking psychology classes. I could forgive the past and be open to the present and a beautiful future (that was later filled with so many good things!!). I could move forward. I could travel. I could love again (I already was a loving person!) and most importantly I WAS LOVEABLE, and most of all I would keep on living. At age 34 I have a loving supportive husband, a beautiful and brilliant child, wonderful friendships and caring people in my life, however I do still suffer from depression, yet I am aware of it. I understand it. I know it will always be part of me, and that is okay.
I share this today to just let others know we all have stories. We all have pain. No one is ever perfect, even if they try hard to seem it or act it on the outside. You never can tell if someone is hurting just by looking at them. I honestly do not believe I showed ANY signs of suicide before my attempt, it was something I had in the back of my mind on and off all the time, hidden away as a secret I swore I would never show.
As the years have gone by I have lost friends to suicide. Friends I loved dearly and who I miss dearly, as my father often reminds me, “suicide is a selfish act, in the aftermath it only leaves a lot of pain behind for those who truly love you.” I have so much to live for~ friends, family, a new day, a new opportunity. Life is a learning experience, thank you God, otherwise it would be quite boring don’t you think? Yes I can look back and see what could of been done differently, at different times in my life, but I do strongly believe that I was put here on earth with a certain path, that includes certain lessons and obstacles that are there to define the unique, empathetic, loving, kind-hearted person that I am.
Writing this has been terrifying, to open up and share these things about myself, yet if they can help just one person. If my words can connect with someone who is feeling that darkness inside, and help them see that they too can live, that is what matters the most to me. YOU matter to me! I know I was not pulled into Openoureyes.org by mistake, there is healing in all the steps we take and people we meet and places we go! I was meant to put my experiences into words, I was meant to share my story.
Like anyone else I still have had my ups and downs, I KNOW that I always will. Some times the downs are longer than ups and sometimes the ups are longer than downs, but that is just life. I can not avoid those ups and those downs, they will ALWAYS come and go. There is, after all, no light without the darkness, and I know I am made of both, but ultimately I am the one LIVING my life. This life is MINE and I will OWN it. I CHOOSE TO LIVE IT! Wow that was therapeutic to say~ So much love to every one who listened. xo
photo source: marla salas