This piece was written in celebration of the end of my chronic suicidal intent; it has been one year full year since my fifth and last attempt. One year of growth and healing. This piece is my way of validating my past pains and letting go of the person I used to be. It is an emotional piece. Please take care of yourself.
It was one of those in-bed-all-day mental health days. Those days you just . . . exist and try to sleep away, face wet from tears. So I took a late afternoon nap. Then in my nightmare, I tried to kill myself and the police had to chase me down.
That night - Saturday, July 9th, 2016 - was my fifth and last suicide attempt.
Suicidal ideation is thinking about suicide. Suicidal intent is actively wanting to die by suicide. There's a distinction. In high school, I lost a close friend to suicide, which sparked my mental illnesses. From that experience, I learned what it meant to be left behind. So no matter how depressed I got in the following years, no matter how much I could empathize with his pain, I thought - I would never leave that way. I know what it does to the people who get left behind.
So the first attempt was like opening up a new door - a whole new reality I didn't think could exist. Realizing that I was capable of it. Recognizing that I was in enough pain to see its consequences but still crave death. It was both terrifying and relieving at the same time.
The next year and a half was surviving. Every new day, my goal was to not kill myself. My hopes for a successful future was buried by this reality. Winning was surviving. Winning was not killing myself. As the suicidal intent got less impulsive and much more concrete, I started doing my research. I didn't look for the least painful way to die - no. I looked for the cleanest way to die. Such that whoever would find my body wouldn't be as traumatized for the rest of their lives. I also researched how much a funeral cost - $7000 average in North America. It would take 3 painful minutes for me and only $7000 for my parents for this to all be over.
The last attempt was the accumulation of immense internalized anger. In the previous few months, I had been dealing with shame, guilt, anger, jealousy and excruciating pain around drastic life events, traumatic current events, and toxic relationships. The Stanford rape case, the Orlando shooting, all of the police brutality towards African-Americans. A toxic relationship with a man who repeatedly walked away when I needed help and repeated begged me to accept him back. Dropping out of school and then receiving dozens of stories of trauma, suicide, and mental illness, and carrying that weight around with every step, not knowing how to let them go. White, male “friends” talking over me about what sexism is like, what racism is like - and “debating” about it until exhaustion.
So when that nightmare happened, it made sense. Later that night, I ended up sitting on the railing of the Lions Gate Bridge, sobbing and screaming my lungs out.
“It hurts. It hurts so bad.”
“Really Ji Youn? Does it really hurt that badly to leave them all behind?”
“But I’m so tired. I’m so fucking tired and done. It’s my choice. I don’t even know at this point.”
I didn't want to die. I just didn't want to live the life I was currently living.
They say that suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. And yes, this is true - but it digs deeper than that. My entire body could be on fire and you could tell me that it's only temporary. Just a few more moments, or just a few more seconds - and help will come; healing will come. I don't care if it's 5 seconds or 2 minutes. In that kind of pain, any amount of time is too fucking long. In that kind of pain, any amount of time feels permanent.
I sat on the railing, crying and looking out into the night. The internal conflict was unbearable. Just one little jump and the pain would be over. I would fly down and the ocean would embrace me. I could finally rest.
But instead - violence. I felt a sudden weight surround my body and the next thing I know, the world was on its side - half darkness, half cement. I know I was screaming but I could barely hear myself. “Let me do this. It’s my decision. You can’t make my decision for me,” I kept screaming. Arms yanked to my back. Cold metal on my wrists. Muttered voices.
“It's over,” I thought. But the worst night of my life wasn't over just yet.