Why I’m opening up about being a suicide survivor

November 22 marks Survivors of Suicide Loss day, a day when families grieve lost loved ones and the world looks to raise awareness about prevention. And one step toward prevention is listening to those who’ve lived through a suicide attempt and come out the other side. Here, one of our readers bravely shares her story. 

My name is Samantha. I am 27 years old. I love to cook and eat. I like hiking, camping, and being outdoors. I love my cat. I have a great family, an awesome boyfriend, and generally life is pretty good. But I have a secret. I suffer from anxiety and depression. It has been a long, hard road, but what I am learning most is that it is nothing to be ashamed of. The more I open up about it, the more I am amazed by how many people suffer from some form of mental illness. People you would never perceive as depressed or anxious. Many are seemingly “happy” people.

I have suffered on and off with the symptoms of depression for a while. I never thought it was “that bad” or that I needed to get help. Almost two years ago things started to spiral out of control. I came home from work and would want to sleep, all the time. I would cry, all the time. I had feelings of just wanting to disappear. I wanted to crawl under a rock so I wouldn’t have to deal with anything.

So when I felt these things, for no reason really, it made me even more upset. “Why am I so miserable? I should be happy. I’m bringing down everyone around me. They shouldn’t have to deal with me.” I let these feeling build up. I should have gotten some help then. But I didn’t, and one night I tried to take my own life.

It is hard to recall everything that happened, and I would rather not go into it. Let’s just say that (thankfully) I was unsuccessful. The next few weeks were surreal, but I was finally getting the help I so desperately needed. I also realized what a great support system I have around me, and how ridiculous it was for me to think of my needing help as “burdening” them. One of the most important things is to remember that it is not something you can control.

It also helps to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. Group therapy did wonders for me. I wasn’t talking to someone who was trying to make me feel better. It was a place where people would listen and say “hey I know how you are feeling ” because they had been there. I started anti-depression medication, and I also learned a lot of “coping skills” that have helped me take control of my life and emotions. It has been over a year since all of this, and I am happy to say I feel great.

Now more than ever I want to share my story.  I want to share because every time I do, it feels like a weight has been lifted. I want to share because I want people to know it isn’t something to be ashamed of. I want to share so people start a conversation about mental illness. It has to stop feeling like some kind of dark secret. It is a disorder like any other that needs to be addressed and treated. Most importantly, I want to share so if you’re suffering like I was, you know you are not alone.

For those who are suffering, there are resources out there that can help you. For further help, emergency contacts and treatment plans visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Samantha Showell is an ex-professional cook turned nanny, and now spends her days hanging out with some really awesome kids. Her main focus in life is to do what makes her happy. She likes cooking at home, hiking, camping, and is always looking for a new hobby to try.

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