Content warning: The following article mentions details surrounding the author’s experiences with self-harm, which may be upsetting for some readers. Please know that there are many resources available for support including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and online chat.
On a fairly recent visit to the doctor, she looked at me with a great bit of concern. She took a deep breath, and with water-filled eyes, she began to read off a list of things that my recent PET scan and blood work had revealed. As she read off the list I felt a small lump that was beginning to form in my throat. I felt my eyes misting slightly, but I had to pull it together. So I did.
After she read this grocery list of all things wrong, she looked at me, and with certainty, she said: "You’re going to be okay. I can’t tell you when, but you’re going to be just fine. You have a long road ahead of you, but we’re going to deal with one issue at a time." She then wrote a note and said she was sending me to the hospital.
So, I go to the hospital. The doctor looked at the note and said, "I don’t know why she sent you here. There’s a lot of stuff that you have going on, and there’s nothing we can do. You need to go to your oncologist."
I listened to what he had to say, and my husband and I left. Instead of going to my oncologist we went home. I took a shower and I laid down. Lying in my bed I began to reminisce about my life. I thought about all of the things that I’d done and all of the things I had yet to do.
Feeling so alone
I had been there for everyone else, but I had forgotten about me. I thought about my current health issues and how I had been strong for so long, but now everything was weighing on me. I knew that I had an awesome support system, but at that moment I felt all alone and like I didn’t matter.
I convinced myself that people would grieve a few days a week at the most and then it would be business as usual. So I grabbed a glass of water, and I took some pills, I waited for about ten minutes later and I took some more. You never take them all at once.
I felt my head getting heavy, and I lay down. I could feel the bed closing in on me. I felt my body sink further and further into the bed. My breathing was now more like panting, shallow, silent whispers of breath. And then there was nothing.
I could feel my spirit leave my body. I saw my lifeless body lying still on the bed. Suddenly, I was in a tunnel filled with water. I saw a dim light at the end of the tunnel. I heard a loud but still, a voice say to me, "It’s not your time, go back." Without another word, I felt a large hand grab me and snatch me out of the tunnel. I felt my spirit go back into my body. My spirit had made its way of escape quickly; its return was just as swift.
Coming back into focus
I awakened to a drowsy and limp type of existence. I couldn’t move. However, through fuzzy and blurred vision, I could see that I was in my bedroom. What seemed like forever was only twelve hours. When I was fully awake I realized that God had saved me and that I truly had dodged a huge bullet.
So when you look at people who try to commit suicide or someone who’s successful at ending their earthly lives, and you think that they’re weak, a coward, or have mental issues, think again. That might not always be the case. They might just be tired of their journey.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?