It was a Sunday morning in May 2002. I was on the 5th floor of Sulzberger, room 520 to be exact, contemplating whether a jump from the 5th floor would end my heartache and misery. While I was without reason, crying, hopeless and upset, the mathematical and scientifc reason in my mind told me that the fifth floor wasn’t high enough to die. I let the thought to jump pass because I didn’t want to end up with broken bones in physical AND emotional pain. I eventually called a friend.
After a tumultuous childhood, therapy was familiar, helpful and I readily attended, especially, while in college. My first exposure to suicide came in my pre-teens when I’d come to the aid of very close friend, who had attempted suicide. I was just 11 years old. It was traumatic! Growing older, I always had that picture as a frame of reference, whenever I felt despondent. I never wanted things to get that far…but that hopelesd day in May was different.
During my time as a hall director during grad school, suicide attempts happened much too often. The immediate response and aftermath is indescribable. Lessons I have learned along the way:
If only we could hear in the moment… “You matter”
If the words “It gets better” meant anything, I’d quantify them as priceless…
Perhaps, the ministry of presence is enough. There are times that the pain and depravity of this world seem to be comfortless, yet, presence, smiles, a hello bear witness to one’s humanity and suffering.
I’ve been there, too. I felt that the suffering of this present time wasn’t worth anything.
I’m glad that I didn’t jump.
I’m glad that I didn’t take that bottle of oxy
I’m glad that I didn’t…
I’m glad that I realized that I’m worth living
I’m glad that I realized that I matter!
I’m glad that I fought to live!
I’m glad that I got help!
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
If you or someone that you know has been having feelings of self-harm, or uncontrolled sadness, worthlessness, infatuation with death please reach out and speak up. There are resources and help available.
Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem. If you or a loved one need help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org