When I woke up this morning, the anniversary was present in my mind. I'm not absolutely certain of the exact date, but it's been about a year since I grabbed all the narcotics from my lingerie drawer and locked myself in the bathroom, huddled on the floor, praying and trying to muster up the willpower to not take them and end my life. I wasn't alone in the apartment that day, or I might not be here today. The Nurse was on the other end of that bathroom door and was able to break through my spiral of thoughts just long enough for me to go running into the neighborhood, and finally to seek help. It was the second time in my life — and the first time since I was a young teenager — that I had been brought to the brink of suicide.
Perhaps it was some kind of karma — Atonement — that on the one year anniversary of that incident I would find myself on the other end of the door today. A good friend had been talking about his lows and his struggles for days, and had even started talking about suicide from a "philosophical perspective." "If I feel like ending my life," he argued, "why can't I do it without judgement and shame?" I chimed in that it was because "life was fucking precious, even in the struggle," and he softened and convinced me that he wasn't really considering it. But just one day later, he was on the floor, clutching a bottle of Hydrocodone and a bottle of Valium — the exact same combination of pills I had held in my hand exactly a year to the day earlier. ( I later checked my diary to confirm the date).
They say that God works in mysterious ways. I was able to calm my friend. He was actually very rational — having gone through bouts of suicide and depression all of his life. He knew that he needed to see his doctor, adjust his medication, get through the really tough times he's been going through, keep reaching out to friends. And I was reminded how far I have come in the last year, from clutching my own handful of pills and ruminating about throwing myself in front of a speeding L train to being more grounded and feeling safe again. The abuse of my childhood has left a wound that can leave me devastated in an instant when the right triggers come along. I am thankful that a year later, I was strong enough to be there for another person and was sincere when I said that life felt precious — such a difference a year can make.