NOTE: This post discusses my suicide attempt . If this is a trigger for you, please do not read it.
Hello there and thank you for taking the time to read this post. Thank you for having the courage to travel this road with me.
My name is Chris…
I have had long-term clinical depression since about 7th grade…
I am 41 years old…
I attempted suicide on Sunday, September 14, 2015 by hanging myself from my bedroom closet’s doorknob…
I was on the noose for 45 minutes before my friends saved me. I don’t remember anything that happened between the time I passed out and “waking up” in the hospital two days later. Though I was conscious, I was not “coherent”, and my friends have had to help reconstruct events as best they could. But I can’t remember anything for those two days.
From what I have been told…
…I was in the ER for some time, then was moved to Intensive Care once I was stabilized. Then to a recovery room for the remainder of the week. They said I was so violent that I had to be contained in 8 point restraints because the 4 point restraints weren’t enough. I didn’t know what 8 point and 4 point meant.
I do now.
The number represents the total amount of leather retaining straps attached to each limb and an anchor point. When I came to, there was a loving circle of friends and family surrounding me. I am fortunate to have such caring, drop-whatever-you’re-doing people in my life. The network of friendship and love helped bring me through the end of the week.
When my stay at the hospital had ended, I was voluntarily transferred to the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center where I stayed for another week. Aside from being alive, I was happy that I was able to change from my split-up-the-backside hospital gown to my everyday clothes. When I got to the psychiatric center, my bag of clothing was inspected. Anything with strings was rejected or accepted on the condition that all strings and laces were removed. No belts. No shoes with laces. Etcetera.
As you read the effects, please keep in mind that when things reach this point, you don’t think of the impact your loss will have. You also don’t think about, “What if this doesn’t work?” You’re not doing it for attention. You don’t care.You’re too far gone by that time. I thought it would work, that’s why I didn’t have those thoughts. I am fortunate to be here today writing my story for others going through the same thing.
Here were the effects –
1. I couldn’t see my daughter. My daughter was 9 years old at the time. All she knows is that daddy was sick. Her mother and I are going through a harsh divorce so I praise her mother for handling it the way she did. She didn’t have to. When I was released from the VBPC it would be another month before I would see my daughter. Court documents were put in place to ensure I was not to see her until our mediator said I was stable enough to see her. Her decision was based on the decision of my doctor and psychologist.
2. Medical bills. These will take a long time for me to pay. The ambulance bill was $625.00 and around $1000.00 for my hospital stay. The rest was handled through insurance.
3. Other bills. Because I was in the hospital and “off the grid” for several weeks, I got behind in my bills. When I came home I had to deal with shut-off notices and making double payments with my next few paychecks.
4. Physical effects.
♦ Mini stroke – For about 2 months after my attempt, I had trouble lifting my left arm. My shoulder was very week and I remember trying to rehabilitate it by pressing a book over my head. That’s the most I could lift. It was nearly impossible for me to dry the right side of my body with my left arm after I got out of the shower. I never got an official diagnosis of my symptoms, but based around the events of that Sunday night I believe I had some type of stroke.
♦ Throat pain – It was extremely difficult for me to swallow for about 3 weeks after. The doctors couldn’t give an official diagnosis but I imagine it was some type of scarring/swelling/bruising resulting from the belt around my neck.
5. Emotional Impact. For some reason I didn’t have a deep emotional impact from the decision I made. Maybe it was because I was already at peace with myself. Sometimes I feel shame at my decision. The thing I think about the most is how I can reach out to others. How can I help others feel that they are not going it alone and end up making the decisions I did? How do I express myself in a positive yet realistic manner? How do I tell my story yet remain sensitive to the struggle of others? I think this blog has given me the chance to do a little of that.
6. Lost trust. I feel I lost the trust of a lot of those close to me. Maybe trust isn’t the right word. But something. Naturally, friends and family were worried if they called me and didn’t hear back from me immediately, or within more than 24 hours. They were worried. They cared. After I was released from the hospital, my family constantly questioned if I had been drinking or not. If I was taking my medicine. If I was going to a support group. They wanted to make sure that my firearms were in someone else’s care. It took a little longer than two weeks before the texts and phone calls started to slow down.
7. My job.
♦ Miracle #1 – I was fortunate enough to be able to return to my former job.
♦ Miracle #2 – My peers were gracious enough to donate some of their personal paid vacation hours to cover for the days that I was in the hospital.
What I’ve Learned or Need to Think About-
- Grace from those close to me. My friends and family have given me tons of grace. They do not hold anything against me. They don’t punish me for what I did to myself. They don’t make me suffer by reminding me of the pain I’ve caused them and those around them. They don’t say I was being selfish. One person said that I wanted attention but those who know who it was are honoring my request to not punish them or let me know whom it was. I am fortunate to have such forgiving, kind people in my life.
- Why am I here? I honestly believe I am still here for a reason. It may not be for the reasons that I believe. But I believe there is a higher purpose here. My friends keep saying that our Lord did not take me home because He is still working on me. That He has another goal for my life. I believe that. I am a survivor. I am growing. I am bettering myself as a man. A man of faith. A perfectly imperfect human with heartache and chinks in my armor. I am thankful that I have learned through my trials. And thankful that I can talk with others through my mental condition .