Bringing suicide and mental illness out of the shadows and into the light.
All photos by Linda Seccaspina
In my dream I awake with tears in my eyes and remember the day that was going to be the last day of my life. I dressed slowly that morning as I glanced around at my surroundings and knew they could suddenly be a thing of the past. I had made up my mind, ran down the stairs and jumped on the bus to my destination. As I sat on the subway I closed my eyes as I went through the 6 minutes of darkness while the train went through the tube under the bay. It was almost like the dark before the storm and my fingers grasped the edge of the seat knowing there was no turning back.
I took the bus to the shore and watched the waves come in one by one. They were dark angry waves, and I walked towards them inviting them to take me away to sea. The edge of the waves tickled the tips of my shoes and beckoned me to walk further into the bay. I knew if I followed their dark directions I would be immersed in a riptide of cold water with no chance to correct my mistake.
Instead I sat on a bench and wondered if I was going to suffer much when I carried out my mental ambition. I looked to the bridge and the fog still hung like Christmas stockings on the edges of the gray metal. Maybe if the bridge was merciful that same fog would carry me down softly to the depths below and simply ease me down slowly into final peace.
I knew once I jumped it was going to be like hitting a concrete wall, and if I was lucky it would take me less than five minutes to drown in the cold water where the bay met the sea. If I made a mistake and jumped feet first I might survive and live in pain for the rest of my life. Did I want that? Was it not like what I was going through in real life?
For weeks I had thought of the bridge jumpers and mentally replayed them, fascinated that the end could be so near. As I walked along the narrow road to the bridge my fear suddenly disappeared. I had walked its length once before and knew that in 4 seconds I could be flying towards what I considered final freedom of my mind.
Death might take seconds as my body would plunge deep into the salty water where no angels would be rescuing me just yet. It would not be a pretty death, and suddenly a silly thought of fish dining on my mortal remains scared me. Years of not being afraid to attempt the almost terminal extension of life had now been thwarted by the fear of fish.
In the years that passed I knew the bridge would always be there to beckon those who had given up. The clouds of pills and mental pain would remain for years until I realized life was not a mistake. Why?
Because we need to remember that we have all come too far to fail. Pass it on!
This piece in a longer form was published on many American suicide prevention sites. Depression is like war– you either win or die trying.
Suicide is when someone tries to end his or her life on purpose. People think about suicide in an attempt to deal with some problem or stress. Most people who attempt or complete suicide don’t necessarily want to die; rather, they want to escape their overwhelming emotional pain.Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The good news is that there are always other options.
If you are thinking about suicide, and things have reached a crisis point where you don’t think you can keep yourself safe:
- If you have a doctor, then make an appointment to see him/her.
- Call your local mental health agency in order to see a counselor/therapist
- Reach out to a family member or friend. Call them and let them know that you have been feeling overwhelmed, and that you could use their support, whether it is just listening or spending some time together.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Remember: Although your situation may have tricked you into feeling that you are alone, you are NOT alone. Help is a phone call away…
If you know know someone who is feeling suicidal, there are many ways to support and get them help
- Help your friend make that telephone call to a crisis line
- Help your friend book an appointment with their doctor, or counselor/therapist
- Go with your friend to the nearest hospital emergency department
- Let other trusted friends and family know so that they can be supportive.