If you have ever had someone you care about attempt or even commit suicide, you know how terrible the ordeal can be. It is worse than a regular death. There is little closure. It is a situation where no one ever truly wins and those left behind spend the rest of their lives trying not to blame themselves for what they did or didn’t do. I have some good friends in the blogosphere who speak extensively about their past suicide attempts and I have a story or two of my own. This is not about me or them.
I have spent a lot of time taking care of sick relatives. Last month I was housesitting for a relative who had to have surgery. I was able to juggle running errands for both her and me, visiting her at the hospital, and still work, however only after a few days of her being in the hospital, things started to snowball. My uncle, from my story, “The Men Who Sleep on Park Benches,” was admitted to the same hospital after he was found in the motel he’s living with slit wrists.
My life truly began to change when I started to be completely honest. I started to write about and confront the things that I ignored for years. Publicly I published articles about dealing with sexual assault and healing on the web. The first time my article appeared on online, I felt naked. I started to cry and wondered if I had made a huge mistake. With each consecutive article, I felt equally exposed. This went on for about six months. Each time an article came out, I would cry. My boyfriend at the time asked me why I even bother to do it. He said that maybe I should just stop writing if it was this difficult for me to handle. Though it was difficult, I never considered stopping or quitting. Too many people wrote back to me saying that they felt very alone in their experience before reading my articles. Truth is before reading their comments, I felt very alone in the experience of surviving sexual assault as well.
For years I hid the truth about my life from everyone. I dodged reality and instead hid behind poor relationships, drinking, and substance abuse. No one understood why I was so messed up and always involved in something reckless. The addictions numbed the pain of rape. They also came to the forefront and caused immediate drama and issues that couldn’t be ignored. Perhaps they were the armor I hid the truth behind. With so much negativity going on because of my behavior, I had enough to worry about without delving into and exploring my past. Eventually I found out that you cannot hide the truth from others without also hiding it from yourself.
Denial can kill people. Until I spoke my truth and seeked professional help, the road I went down only got progressively worse. Addictions will kill you eventually. Suppressing trauma can cause unhappiness, depression, and serious illnesses.